Review: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch (2011)
109 minutes
Rated PG-13
Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Oscar Isaac

Grade:  C

The film opens with an eerie cover of “Sweet Dreams” while we’re introduced to Babydoll (Browning) and how she was sent to the insane asylum by her cruel stepfather. This nearly dialogue-less prologue is the high point of the story-telling talent that Zack Snyder displays. After that, it’s all about the girls.

Sucker Punch is a video-gamer’s wet dream: incredible graphics, lots of violence, and pretty girls in skimpy outfits. What else could you ask for? Unfortunately, that’s all you get in this action-fantasy by visionary Snyder.

Babydoll tries to fit in at the mental asylum. In five days, she is supposed to undergo a lobotomy that will make her forget everything. She rallies up a few other patients: Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) and plan to escape. We’re taken through Babydoll’s dreams of dragons, Nazi ogres and man-machines while she puts on her too-hot-for-the-screen dance.

There isn’t much to this film on a story-line aspect, but the visuals are everything you can expect from Snyder. When we’re brought into Babydoll’s mind, anything goes. These machine gun-wielding chicks take on an entire army (Sparta style) and there is seemingly no danger to them. Either that or you simply don’t care what happens because they’re just in her dream. While these sequences are the highlight of the film, they’re all flash and no substance.

Meanwhile, the melodrama that plays out between the girls and their proprietor feels like something elementary school children with imagination would come up with while running around a playground. All you need is a map, fire, knife, and key to escape. Start the scavenger hunt!

Certainly, this film is for fanboys and teen/young guys. There are enough reasons for that specific demographic to praise Snyder’s latest as a masterpiece, but the critics will surely disagree. While I enjoyed this film, I knew what I was getting into and therefore expected nothing more than a mindless adventure with stripper-bound girls strutting their stuff. Emily Browning plays Babydoll exactly like she was written, with enough innocence to doubt her hard and rebellious edge as she stands up against all of her enemies without flinching.

In the end, Sucker Punch is a fun film if you don’t take the film half as serious as it takes itself. But if you’re not impressed with loud explosions, gore-less violence, or CGI-heavy action scenes, there is nothing for you here.

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