Sucker Punch

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Movie review by EDF

Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Cheung, Jena Malone, Jon Hamm, Scott Glen, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Michael Jay White

Director: Zack Snyder

There are some movies that deliver the same old same old and others that deliver something fresh and new with added wow factor. Movies such as INCEPTION, TERMINATOR, KILL BILL, THE MATRIX and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, to name a few of the modern classics are exceptional. Then there are other movies that pay homage (never the intention to steal or borrow elements of those movies mentioned), of which depending on who the movie is aimed at, can be entertaining to say the least. Which brings us to Zack Snyder’s latest offering, which not only did he direct and write, he also co-produced. This is obviously a labour of love, so what is it all about?

Following the death of her mother, with her step-father (Gerard Plunkett) being excluded from the will, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) and her little sister live in fear of what their step-father will do to them. Locked in her room, Baby Doll escapes but is too late to save her sister so she then attacks her stepfather. He calls the police and spins a tale that Baby Doll had gone insane and is to blame for the murder. Her stepfather commits Baby Doll to a mental asylum where she starts looking for a way out, as she will undergo a lobotomy in five days time.

Faced with unimaginable odds, Baby Doll retreats into a fantasy world where she and four other female inmates at the asylum plot to escape from the facility. In doing so, within her burlesque imaginary world, Baby Doll provides ample diversion for the guards, doctors and nurses by dancing for them to distraction. When she dances, Baby Doll finds herself in an anime fantasy world, helped along by a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), where her team fights 30 foot tall samurai warriors, Nazi zombies, robots, dragons and Orc-like creatures. Each time, they must retrieve an item which will help them escape. Can they achieve this near impossible goal before it is too late?

Anyone who has seen 300 or WATCHMEN will have a fair idea as to how this movie will look. There is a lot of green screen, a lot of slow-motion and a lot of style though this is not enough to make it a great movie. Admittedly, some of the dream worlds do not make much sense. It could be that it was deliberately ambiguous as to what the rules are for each world. Why would a teenage girl dream of battling robots, zombies and samurai warriors? Surely this is something that a teenage boy would dream up, and suddenly you realise who the movie is really aimed at. Even though sexy attractive young women battling bad guys might sound like a great idea, the problem here is that this feels soulless to the point that you do not care for the characters. This is not to say that the actors are bad in their roles, it’s just that you do not feel any connection with them and while the action sequences are visually stunning, they lack intensity.

Saying all that, there are some good points. The soundtrack is excellent where some classic tracks compliment the action on screen. The opening scenes, using a cover version of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (are made of this), is very effective and grabs your attention. Just like the start of WATCHMEN, Snyder has a way of telling a visual story without the use of dialogue. Other musical cues throughout the movie are also well edited. While this will be an enjoyable movie for some, others are going to wonder what the fuss is all about.

4 out of 6 stars