Friday, April 01, 2011

Sucker Punch

I saw this one last week but got so bogged down with work I didn't have a chance to post it. To be honest I wasn't in such a hurry. I had mixed thoughts about seeing this one to begin with. I really like Director Zack Snyder and most, if not all of his films so far, but there really aren't that many. I've seen two of the four so far, Watchmen and 300. Both are great but they are also not his original works. Sucker Punch on the other hand is Snyder's attempt to make something completely his.  And here is where we run into the roadblocks. The visuals in this movie are simply stunning. I loved most if not all of the action sequences but the story is seriously lacking and it's hard to relate to or care about anyone involved. Which, after a bit of time, makes even the coolest action sequence seem mundane and boring if we can't feel invested.
Babydoll (Emily Browning) is thrown into a mental institution by her abusive step-father after she accidentally shoots her sister.  The step-father is after the family money and Babydoll is in his way. So he pays off an Orderly, Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) to have her treated with a Lobotomy within a few days. Which of course gives her time to devise a plan to get her and her new nuthouse friends outta there; Rocket (Jenna Malone), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) & Amber (Jamie Chung). So this thing has two added layers to it. Once were in the nuthouse we see Babydoll envision this place as a Brothel and the girls are sex slaves to their pimp Blue. The girls get instructions from their Doctor/Madame Dr. Gorski (Carla Gugino) who tries to give her girls a way out of this hell by allowing them to dream when they perform. So when Babydoll dances for the clients she is able to go to another dreamlike place that allows her to be truly free. She hatches the plan to get out and enlists the help of the other girls.
It's really a shame honestly because I really felt like there was so much opportunity with a movie like this but in the end it felt similar to me and my friends in Film School sitting around talking about how great it would be to make a movie with every pop culture reference we could think of. Nazi zombie samurais and such. It was almost an overload of visual stimuli. The problem, I felt no sense of real peril for anyone until the end and even then I'm not sure if what happened actually happened. They never truly established an anchor for the real world for us to truly understand what was supposed to be true and what was imaginary, and maybe that's the point but if so, it just didn't work. The girls really tried to give it their all but it just wasn't enough. Not to mention it was truly wasted having Scott Glenn as the Wiseman that appears in the girl's dreams who just utters a bunch of empty platitudes and tries to lead them in the right direction. This role could have been meatier and better written but the script just felt forced in some ways and half ass on the other.
So to sum up, it was a visually stunning with interesting action pieces but overall a complete waste of time. There was no substance and falls completely flat after the first act. It literally was like watching a video game movie. They had different levels one more insane then the next but I just didn't see the point for it. I would have actually appreciated the movie more if they dumped the second dreamscape and just kept it in the Brothel, but that's just me. There are quite a few new flicks coming out over the next few weeks that frankly should bury Sucker Punch, so if you really want to see it I suggest you see it soon before it's gone.

Grade: 2 Buckets

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