Sucker Punch

**½

For those who fight for it, life has a flavor that those who don’t will never know.

Pretty girls scantily outfitted in leather with lots of big weapons fighting samurai, Nazi’s, zombies, ghouls, dragons, and robots. For some that is enough. But I’m no longer 15. I need a bit more.

In Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300, Dawn of the Dead) has created a film that vacillates between reality and fantasy, fantasy and reality, and fantasy and fantasy. But it isn’t as confusing as it sounds. It’s all about “girl power” sticking it to the man (literally) in the thick of fantastical battlegrounds.

Textured with impressive special effects and 80’s songs remade (which I really liked), it clearly strives to be trendy. My favorite background song was the remake of “Asleep” by The Smiths. There is hardly a more ethereal and moody song. It was the perfect selection for the main character, Babydoll, lamenting her new demise in an insane asylum waiting for an unnecessary lobotomy. It was also the perfect fit and set-up for the film overall—perhaps even the most powerful moment in the film. It was also great to hear Björk make an appearance on the soundtrack as well.

Seeking release for her and her newfound—and also abused—sanitarium female companions (Rocket, Blondie, Amber, and Sweet Pea), Babydoll devises a plan of escape for her insane girl posse. Creating existential battles for her band of sisters in the recesses of her fragmented mind, Babydoll fights to get free in order to cope with the fears of her true reality. With every victory she steps closer to liberation, both mental and actual. Sounds neat, right? And it sort of was.

Realizing that I was simply watching someone’s overactive imagination (according to the storyline) left me feeling a bit empty at times. I frequently wondered, “So what?” In my imagination I am rich, famous, ripped with muscles, a genius, have a full head of black hair, am 6’4”, 200 lbs., and forever 25. Isn’t that interesting to you? Even with the best special effects, not really. And that’s my point. I do need a sense of realism to keep me interested, even with all those fancy special effects.

This movie was also lacking a sense of humor. There was only one resounding laugh in the packed theater I was in throughout the whole film. That’s a problem. Every action movie, especially one with such a grim underlying storyline, needs a few moments of tension release. A one-liner or two doesn’t necessarily take away from stories with serious undertones. Done well, they can actually enhance the mythology by creating a sense of irony (which life is certainly peppered with and people identify with), while giving the viewer a needed moment to breathe. Sucker Punch was all tension, tension, and more tension. Unfortunately, this leaves the viewer looking for the end and not enjoying the moment.

Sucker Punch had some solid jabs, but was not a TKO.

Parents: Sucker Punch really fought to keep a PG-13 rating, while pushing that envelope the whole time. Lots of violence, plenty of mature themes, but the language was pretty mild. I can recall an “ass” or two, and one s-bomb. This is one of those movies that would have been R rated 20 years ago. This is definitely not for anyone under 13.


2 Responses to “Sucker Punch”

  1. Sucker Punch Review & Quote Of The Week Says:

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  2. H-Man Says:

    This was my least favorite movie of 2011 before I saw "The Human Centipede 2". But God I thought this was awful! Basically it's "Kill Bill" done badly. For a "female empowerment movie" it was pretty misogynistic, with Zack Snyder turning all his female protagonists into sex objects to be drooled over. Putting Emily Browning, who looks like she's about 14, into a fantasy schoolgirl out was especially creepy. The story was just stupid and made no sense, and since all the action scenes were in the main character's imagination, there was no excitement or investment in them at all, they were just loud, CGI infested light shows. Overall, this movie looked like it would be fun, but was just terrible and agonizing to sit through.