Monday 8 August 2011

Today's Review: Sucker Punch

I like Zack Snyder, and while a lot of people found fault with his adaptation of Watchmen, I personally loved it. So imagine my delight when he came out with Sucker Punch, promising more action packed and fantastical sequences. And girls in skimpy clothing, but that didn't get me too excited, honest.

Sucker Punch tells the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning), a girl who find herself in a mental institute after her abusive stepfather puts her there in order to inherit her mother's fortunes for himself. Trouble is, Baby Doll may still be able to alert the authorities, so he bribes an orderly to book her in for a lobotomy in a few days' time for good measure. Understandably Baby Doll is not particularly pleased with the situation, and responds by delving into a dream world in which the hospital is actually a brothel, and with some other girls, her fellow dancers, she plans to escape.

But while a lot of the movie takes place in this imaginary reality, Baby Doll apparently has some wicked dance moves that mesmerise anyone who watches her. Not that you get to see it, because every time Baby doll starts dancing she delves into yet another reality where she fights some kind of enemy in order to claim one of the items she needs to escape. Sound a bit like Inception? Well, it's not really, and it's a whole lot more over the top than that. Baby Doll and her friends fight their way through robots on a train, orcs in a medieval castle and steam operated German zombie soldiers in the trenches. Yes, steam operated German zombie soldiers. Just say that again over and over in your head. Then watch the movie because they're awesome. 

In these sequences the effects and action are amazing. It really is signiature Zack Snyder, steaming from one scenario to the next but pouring huge amounts of detail into each section. You can't have too much of a good thing though, and the scene quickly switched back to the brothel, which is quite fun at first, but soon drags you down after you've watched the girls jumping all over the place firing machine guns.

This is the main problem with Sucker Punch. It's a mess. It's a really awesome looking mess, but there's really just too much going on to really pull you in, you're always being shifted from one reality to the next with not enough time to appreciate what has gone into each. While there's definitely story progression to be made in the brothel, it would have been nice to see these actions sequences go on a little longer, or perhaps present them one after the other in an ongoing quest.

There's also not much character progression. We have four other girls apart from Baby Doll, and they seem to just be picked at random because they don't seem to have much in the way of background. Most of them just seem to be there for the eye candy, an excuse to use as many skimpy outfits as possible and have them grunting and screaming as they jump around each other.

But who said all film needed to be deep? While it's certainly nice for a movie to have a deeper meaning, it's quite clear that Sucker Punch is just porn for your eyes. If you want gunfights, explosions and young hot women you've come to the right place, although it may be a bit slow in places. If you've come for a thoughtful movie you've picked the wrong one. Sure, there are several interpretations that can encourage thought and debate after watching, but first and foremost this is a wonderfully executed action movie, and it's just a lot of fun.

My rating: 4/5

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