Movie Reviews: ‘Sucker Punch’

Movie Reviews: Sucker Punch
Directed by Zack Snyder
Release Date: March 25, 2011

What can I say about director Zack Snyder? He is a man who goes for a certain style. He is like a comic book version of Michael Bay. I know it may seem unfair or even odd to compare the two, but look at their film styles. Both seem to have the “style over substance” way of film making. Look at 300 and Bad Boys. In both films, the plot is only there to lead the characters to the next action scene.

Both fall under the “love or hate” category. Compare The Rock and Watchmen. People either love these movies or hate them. I, for one, like The Rock, and I don’t have a big problem with Watchmen, but we’ll save those movies for another time. For both directors have made a movie that is so crap and so stupid that it defies all logic as to how or why they were ever allowed the be made. Where Michael Bay has the now legendary bad movie, Transformers 2, Zack Snyder has his almost as bad, epic turd that is Sucker Punch.

Now before I do my quick review and express my anger here, I need to explain two things. Number one: I know this movie has been out for awhile, had its run in theaters, and flopped its way onto store shelves… but I CAN NOT remember this movie playing anywhere near my small town. I cannot name one person who has SEEN this movie, so at the very least I can stop you from getting sucker punched by this film.

That was a way smarter joke than what’s in the movie.

Number two: think if this as your spoiler alert. I will not explain any major plot points, but I will review minor “oh look, that was not a surprise moment at all” moments so I can vent my frustration of this joke.

From the very first scene I see a glimmer of hope for this movie. The opening depicts the crumbling of the main protagonist, Baby Doll’s (played by Emily Browning) life: from her mother dying to being attacked by her step father, put in an insane asylum ran by the corrupt Doctor Blue (Oscar Isaac). All this is depicted with no dialogue and looks like a dream style music video. It also establishes that Baby Doll has intelligence, as she notices items that will be helpful in her escape. All this, however, is thrown out by the sudden shift of the movie going from an insane asylum to a 1950’s style brothel, where the female patients are dancers and they dance to please the mobsters.

This brings up one of my biggest problems: the change of tone. After the well shot opening setting up this troubled girl in the gloom filled, grey asylum, it changes to this odd colored 1950s brothel. I could not help but wonder, “Why not just set the movie in the setting?” instead of placing this setting in her head… kinda.
Now my second problem with this movie is the names of the characters. I could not help but sigh every time Baby Doll or Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) was called by name. Their real names are never given, which leaves them with nicknames like “Baby Doll”, “Sweat Pea”, “Amber” (Jamie Chung), “Blondie” (Vanessa Hudgens), and “Rocket” (Jena Malone).

Something I like to call a “plot drop” is in this movie (Please note I watched the theatrical version.) Apparently, dance plays a large part in this train wreck. As every time Baby Doll dances, we are treated to a dream sequence of Baby Doll and company in overly awesome action sequences. From fighting demon samurai, slaying dragons, killing World War I steam-punk Nazis, and stealing a bomb from a train of robotic soldiers on a futuristic planet.

I say “dance” apparently plays a part because it was cut from the movie before it hit theaters. The missing dance scenes have been placed back in the director’s cut of the movie, but I find it hard for me to care. With these scenes cut, we just have to take the word on the idea that she can dance so well that it hypnotizes people watching her. As for the “fantasy within a fantasy within reality,” that was handled perfectly by Christopher Nolen’s Inception, but comparing Inception to Sucker Punch is unfair, for they are almost nothing alike. It was just the only movie I could think of that shared a similar concept. Here the fantasies make up the action of the story, covering the sequences I listed before: from Kill Bill-like sword fighting, World War I trench warfare, to the S.W.A.T team-like take down of a dragon. All this in one movie, formed of hot girls in sexy outfits kicking all the ass in the world… and I had to force myself to stay awake.

I can forgive A LOT, as long as I am entertained. Sucker Punch wasn’t able to do this, and that is sad, for I am one of the most easily entertained people you could ever know. For the final sucker punch to the gut (STILL SMARTER THAN THIS MOVIE) was that the ending tries to come off being deep and meaningful, with what I’m guessing to be some type of life lesson. But what it is, is Zack Snyder’s middle finger waving proudly in my face, for giving him $15 of my money to sit and be bored for two hours.

In the end, I say: avoid this movie and save your money. You would never gain anything from watching this except plot holes, boredom, hammy acting and frustration. I expected more from Zack Snyder, for he has talent. His films all have a certain feel to them, and hell, even the best directors have black marks on their resumes.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Written by Steven Reynolds

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