Sucker Punch

March 28, 2011

You’ve all just been itching to hear what I have to say about this one, haven’t you?

The short review:  Well, it’s certainly not Tank Girl, is it?

The long review:  I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about this in terms of kick-ass heroines…but I just can’t do it.  Can’t even go there.  There’s no point.  Not when every woman in the film is wearing 2″ long fake eyelashes.  I kept thinking the film did have something to say, some sort of theme about abuse/victimization/empowerment.  I just couldn’t figure out exactly what.  Or the theme didn’t go any deeper than, “Look!  Abuse/Victimization/Empowerment/More Victimization!”  Without any kind of, you know, actual meaning.  Fortunately, the burlesque show during the closing credits cleared everything right up.

Over the last few years I’ve seen a bunch of commercials for computer/video games that I wished were movies.  Cool action, big spaceships, awesome effects, etc.  And more actual plot than most action movies bother with these days.  Going into Sucker Punch, I had a suspicion — this is a movie that really should have been a computer game.  Usually I appreciate when action films at least try to include a story, but the attempts at “drama” here were kinda painful.  And the action scenes were kinda tedious.  When every single game level — I mean dream quest — involved plowing through thousands of baddies…it got old.  Did we really need four slow-mo shots of bullet casings spinning through the air?  In a row?

And during the WWII level?  I was rooting for the dragon.

The thing I liked most was the sheer gonzo-ness of the battle settings.  You really can’t go wrong with steampunk World War I, followed by a B-25 battling a dragon over what looked like Helm’s Deep, followed by a Vietnam-era Huey on a train job versus an android army.  See?  There was actual structure!  Someone was thinking about it!  All I wanted was for the rest of the movie to be as interesting as the video game part of it.

But damn.  Those fake eyelashes drove me freaking insane.

Ironically, the movie pulled a really big punch.  Because after what happened to the main character right at the end, she should not have been looking as gosh-darned anime pretty as she did through the rest of it.  As it was, there wasn’t a drop of blood on her.  Which is kind of hilarious when I think about it.


15 Responses to “Sucker Punch”

  1. Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    I hated this movie. I really wanted to like it — I wanted it to be gorgeous, I wanted to like the swordplay, I wanted to like the dancing. Those are all things I can appreciate in movie. But… all cut too short, or not shown at all.

    It didn’t show enough about the asylum. It didn’t show any segue between the asylum and the brothel. It didn’t show Baby Doll dancing at all, or what that would have translated to in reality, if anything. And then it changed the story, right at the end, WITH NO GROUNDING FOR DOING SO.

    Based on the trailers, I’d been looking forward to a movie in which a young woman escapes from reality for strength, and her fantasy world maps onto reality so she can triumph.

    I didn’t get that at all.

    (I seem to be harshly critical of movies, don’t I? In this case, I was in a bad mood to begin with — terribly, frightfully worried about the health of my favourite cat.)

  2. Jakk Says:

    I waited to read a few reviews before seeing it, and i think i am glad i did. Everything i thought this movie would end up doing, it seems to have done.

    I plan on going to see Paul instead. Thanks!

  3. Thomas Says:

    It had a great soundtrack and the action sequences were awesome like you said, but the plot was so weak and loosely tied together it didn’t really make much of a movie.

    And you’re right about the ending where she looked just as pretty and clean as she did in the action sequences in spite of what just happened to her. That bothered me a lot too.

  4. Mike H Says:

    We’ve known for sometime that Zack Snyder is a big comic book / graphic novel fan. Now we see he is an anime fan. Babydoll with her blonde twin tails, sailor suit, mini skirt (complete with unnecessary upskirt shots), leggings and japanese sword is as generic an anime character as possible.

    I did not like the fact that the girls weren’t really kick ass but only could dream of being kick ass, literally. The action scenes were babydoll’s escapism to distract herself from the fact that she was dirty dancing for some low life degenerate.

    Oddly enough, it was the fast food equivalent of Inception. Had twice the calories but none of the nutrition. It was an excuse to string together a bunch of discontinuous action scenes.

  5. Big Brother Says:

    Haven’t seen Suckerpunch yet, so thanks for the warning. I think I’ve found a movie that could qualify for Stupid Movie of the Year Award. Here is the link in IMDB…
    I can’t tell you the title, you just have to see if for yourself.
    However, this might go as far as being So Stupid I Just Have to See It

  6. Faith Says:

    I kept rooting for the movie, even through the tediousness of all of the levels, err, battle scenes and the 2 pounds of eyelashes. I lost it when the disco sailor moon costume made it’s appearance. Really?

  7. carriev Says:

    See, not seeing her dance was one of the cleverest things the movie did. We saw other people’s reaction to her dancing, but not her. The audience was not part of the voyeurism, which exonerated it from any complicity in the girls’ exploitation.

    Unfortunately, that didn’t really go anywhere…

  8. Robert Says:

    All I have to say in support of this film: Steam Powered Clockwork Nazi Zombies. Ok so they weren’t really Nazis since it was WW1 but they just could have been!

  9. ArcLight Says:

    I was really looking forward to this but once reviews started coming out…sounds like a rental.

  10. carriev Says:

    Ok, I loved the steampunk WWI. (And it’s funny, the Germans in “War Horse” came across as Nazis, too — guy with blond buzz cut and tiny round glasses? Yeah…) I loved the B-25 and the dragon.

    Which is why it should have been a computer game.

  11. Cat G. Says:

    My $0.02 – the ending was the sucker punch. The visuals were pretty. The music was nice. The story… was absurdly simple, dressed up in two layers of complexity. And I still am not sure how the Dr. translated into the first level dream world.
    The concept… I like the concept, but that could just be because of the “escaping the pain of reality through fantasy” theory.
    I did spend entirely too much time during and after the movie mapping the “real” actions in the asylum to the brothel and battle scenes. I do think the asylum slipped through into the brothel from time to time – and the hint is that perhaps the brothel and the asylum weren’t really that different.
    Also, Carrie, with regards to the lobotomy – my biggest gripe about the movie – it really is not a very messy procedure. The “icepick” lobotomy might cause some slight bleeding, or cerebral fluid drainage through the nose, but it really is not going to leave a lot of marks. My gripe is that it also is no guarantee that the patient won’t remember anything. In some cases, it might make it worse from the step-father’s point of view… Baby Doll might be prone to just talking and saying exactly what happened without worrying if it will get her killed. Of course, she is in an asylum, and crazy people say a lot of things.

  12. carriev Says:

    Yeah, the lobotomy was movie medicine. The thing that got me — the instrument was bloody when he dropped it in the thing. I would have liked to see _some_ physical evidence of what had happened — a drop of blood on her cheek, bloodshot eyes, something.

    It was just too pretty for the subject matter. Made it all unreal.

  13. ZacharyG Says:

    My biggest complaint with Zack Snyder has always been that he seems to know exactly what to do, but he has no idea why. I feel like there is an amazing concept and a great story buried underneath all the gratuitous action and slow-mo shots. I hate to add to the chorus of Inception comparisons, but for the first half of Sucker Punch I felt like it was the movie that Inception should have been. And then it turned out that Snyder hadn’t tied any of his overarching concepts together, and we ended up with was a series of very interesting suggestions, all of which ended up going nowhere. Also the body count really pissed me off. For a movie that was supposed to be a suckerpunch, I sure as hell saw the casualties coming.

    Oh well, time to wait for The Man of Steel…

  14. Toni Adams Says:

    i really, really LOVED this movie. i thought the mega long eyelashes were pretty funny and cool. i pretty much loved what alot people said they hated. i’m dying to download the soundtrack (if someone hadn’t stolen my zune). in short: i was pretty hyper and happy throughout the movie. i enjoyed it that much! 🙂

  15. Jennwynn Says:

    I haven’t seen it, because of many of these reasons, but I think my brother (who is a fanboy 10 years my junior) got it right: don’t think of it as a movie but as a 2-hour music video. 🙂 Though maybe the video game angle is better.

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