Movie Review – Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch! Constantly half-naked women, martial arts, guns, robots, ninjas, dragons, planes, trains, and bombs! What’s not to like? At least, that’s what we thought when we went to see it for free…

Thank god it was free. Its one of those moments where a films trailer vastly oversells the movie itself. There’s enough cool moments in the 2 and a half minute teaser to give any teenage boy a hard on for a week, and I went in fully expecting and hoping to be blown away by some awesomely over the top cool action scenes, but came away feeling very little but bitter disappointment. After a string of visually stunning movies, including the fantastic comic adaptation Watchmen, and the surprisingly excellent remake of Dawn of the Dead, Zach Snyder cemented his place on my radar of filmmakers. Storytelling was never his strong point, but the visuals have more than made up for this in his past efforts with the likes of 300. And Sucker Punch has some of the best visually awesome sequences of recent memory, its true. However, it does the admirably bad job of filling in the rest of the film with boring characters you just want to slap for being so stupid.

Sucker Punch

The visuals in Sucker Punch were mind-blowingly complex, and the five or six vastly different locations that were explored – if only for short amounts of time – were so rich in detail, steeped in hyper-stylized camera shots, and so absolutely mental with regards to the action and madness occurring on screen, that I found my mind being blown away a scene at a time. This was all well and good, but as you said, the film was seriously let down when around 70% of it involved watching a bunch of women act like high-school girls bitching and moaning like they were discussing the latest episode of One Tree Hill. Not to mention the majority of the songs throughout the movie, in tandem with their timing, made me cringe a whole damn lot. Oh yeah, and I nearly forgot, the whole thing made no fucking sense.

There would probably have been a time I’d been able to forgive most of Sucker Punch’s flaws as I’ve always loved my mindless fantastical action. But the subplot going on behind the dream sequences is just too tedious, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. After such an intriguing start, with the impressive opening which explains the back-story of Babydoll using nothing but visuals and music, it all goes downhill. Argh! There’s just so much wasted potential, and it frustrates me to think how it went so badly wrong.

Sucker Punch

The characters were so rubbish, and the acting for most of the film was just painful to watch. The most annoying thing is that the film was clearly split down the middle for men and women, with the appeal for men being quite obviously focused on the scantily clad females for the entire duration, as well as the over-the-top (but admittedly cool) action scenes, and then the appeal for women in the form of the classic story of the girls’ oppression by men, and their determination to escape. Trouble is, it wasn’t even as interesting as I made it out to be right there. The scenes essentially boiled down to “Boo hoo, I don’t want to be here!”, “But we can’t leave!”, “Oh yes we can!”, “OK! Let’s go, girls!”. Shocking.

Sucker Punch

With a script as bad as it is, its clear that Snyder should focus on his directing skills rather than attempt to write another story. Theres even a narrator which opens and closes the film, but I honestly can’t recall a single thing he or she said as it felt so cheesy and pointless. There was one line which made me grin, spoken by the old wise man guru bloke during the first dream sequence, and its this: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. Take his advice, and don’t fall for the trailer like we did…

Yeah, the bastards took the only good parts of the film, mashed them up into one trailer, and left out all the bits that might suggest it was going to involve significantly less exciting action scenes than boring cringefest moments. I genuinely had to cover my eyes and wince on more than one occasion, because I simply couldn’t believe how bad what I was watching could be. Also, what was the deal with the main antagonist? Some pimp gangster guy who was the most snivelly little weasel I have ever seen, with the slimiest haircut and the worst moustache. I never once felt like he was an intimidating character, and found it difficult to understand why all of the girls were quite so scared of him. Sure, he had a gun and some goons, but he was hardly as terrifying as the Joker. I would have felt more threatened by the characters from ‘In the Night Garden’, and that’s a kids’ TV show.

Sucker Punch

What a mess. In the end, I walked out of the cinema feeling numb and bored. Thanks to IGN, we got the tickets for free, which lessened the blow. I hope it’s not the beginning of the end for Snyder, as I’ve at least partially enjoyed all of his films up to this point, but Sucker Punch’s sole redeeming qualities is in the visual spectacles, but without a suitable story context, even these aren’t enough to provide a compelling experience. I have no reason to recommend this film to anyone, and I am gutted about that.

My recommendation is as simple as this: If you want to see the film, cover your ears when the action stops, and then uncover them when it’s back on. But since this requires effort, I honestly can’t say you’d be missing anything by not seeing it, so simply spare yourself the two hours of rubbish. If you’re a complete and utter pervert, however, then this will probably be the best film you’ve seen, ever.

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