Big Screen Review :: Sucker Punch

April 12th 2011


Sucker Punch is the story of a young girl who gets sent to an insane asylum to be lobotomised. While there she hallucinates that it is actually a brothel and she is a burlesque dancer/prostitute. Her dances are so good that when she does them she is instantly inserted into huge action sequences featuring things like steam powered zombie Nazis and huge Gatling gun-wielding samurai robots all made out of birds. She has to fight all these things dressed as a sexy sailor.

I didn’t really follow what was supposed to be happening a lot of the time with this one, and I am pretty sure that is because the movie makes absolutely no sense at all, but I can’t be certain. Maybe it was just me. I do think that the director Zack Snyder is on track to win craziest mainstream movie two years in a row, after last year's Legends of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hool: The 3D IMAX Experience. That flick featured photo-realistic cartoon owls with Australian accents beating the tripe out of each other using swords made from metal picked from the corpses of mice they regurgitated.

Sucker Punch doesn’t really work on many levels. The concept just doesn’t make any sense, so much so that I suspect it has been significantly altered in post-production. The characters never get beyond a one line description, and even though some great actors play the group of girls (including Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone) no one makes much of an impression except Emily Browning, who is striking in the lead. The plot, such as it is, consists almost entirely of “lets escape the asylum” until a last act switch up that succeeds in being unpredictable and not much else.

One thing that can be said for the film is that the action is jaw dropping, and the imagery occasionally stunning. Snyder is one of the only working directors that can build an action sequence inside a computer and make it visceral and thrilling. The cinematography is top notch and the film itself is just glorious to behold at times, until some terrible Eurythmics or Pixies cover hits the soundtrack and brings you back to earth. I am calling for a blanket ban on movies using covers of Sweet Dreams (especially the Manson version) on their soundtrack.

Despite the failures of this film, I remain convinced Snyder will be an important director. He has made one masterpiece with Watchmen, but the remainder of his previous films have been adaptations, and next up is Superman. Although this film certainly bears Snyder's unique stamp, I can’t in good conscience recommend it. It is a pretty terrible movie, but it will be essential in understanding him as a filmmaker if he goes onto bigger and better things as I suspect he can, providing he gets some help with scripting and stays away from owls.


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