Sucker Punch starts off AWESOME, got a tortured young girl who is being abused (one way or the other) by her step-father, and grabs a gun to defend her sister when he turns her his attention on her, after she fights him off. She is sent to a mental institution for a lobotomy to cover up both the abuse and the accidental death of her sister.
We jump into a fantasy world where the institution is actually a brothel, where they put on shows for the clients and are taught to dance to entice the customers. Babydoll (as the girl is named) quickly devices a plan requiring four items they need to steal, and she has . . well a super power that whenever she dances all that watch her cannot take their eyes off her and are oblivious to everything. Babydoll and the others must escape before the plot is uncovered or before she is given to the “High Roller”.
Here is my problem with the movie. (slight spoiler)
It feels like a music video. We get a short story, then we bounce to a an action sequence. In most movies this isn’t a problem- since the action does tend to advance the story, at least somewhat. In Sucker Punch, we know that the action sequences mean absolutely nothing. Yup. The action sequences, where most of the budget and directorial skills? Might as well be a commercial as far as the plot is concerned. Yeah its dumb, and the best part in the movie, but means squat. The movie passes or fails in how do we like the least important part of the movie.
So lets look at the actions sequences.
Awesome. They are well shot, and if you have seen Watchmen and 300 you see an improvement over what they had- these scenes are great looking, and you do tend to look up when you hear the music coming in. I’m not a huge fan of the music being done, I’m sure it was done for a certain soundtrack feel, but I do love the redone version of Sweet Dreams are made of this” by the Eurythmics. No one can touch Anne Lennox, and they don’t try, but its an a well-done version.
I like Zach Snyder, I really do. I’ve seen several of his movies, and its a bit of a jarring style, and I don’t think I want to see a marathon of his movies or a 6 hour edition of the Watchmen- his best movie to date.
The fact of the matter is, you can tell that the cast is working hard. They are trying their damnedest to make you care about every scene, and you know that Zach Snyder cares about the product. Each character looks like who they want to be- the man is a casting genius. The problem is- everyone fades together. Babydoll we know, and its her story, but Rocket and the rest? Interchangeable, we don’t really get any differences between the girls, nor any reason to care about any of them. I almost wish we had gotten some of what Tarantino did in Kill Bill where we got a short story on each member of the DIVAS before she went after them. We could have clipped an action scene and gotten a short one where Babydoll recruited each one individually- instead of just everyone in the room joins up in a rah rah sisterhood moment.
So can I recommend this movie? How to judge it? I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again, but if a buddy came over and wanted to see it, or if it was on HBO when flipping channels, I would watch it again, and I would be entertained, but I’m not sure I’d ever snap the DVD out of its case and put it in on unless to watch the commentary tracks or commentary. I suppose I’ll go with a 6 here. There is a good bit of goodness here, but a chunk of badness here as well.
I’m not going to do spoilers here, since the only really spoiler is how to plot is uncovered, and its pretty easy and simple the way it was done. Enjoy Sucker Punch, just don’t expect a memorable plot.
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