How clever of director Zack Snyder to direct 300 with an all male cast and then turn around and direct Sucker Punch with an all female cast! Sarcasm, of course, as will be the tone of this whole review, since this movie is a pile of [expletive]. Firstly, this whole film seems like one long music video. For females out there who think this film is appealing just because of the cast, let me assure you it’s not empowering. In fact, its just sexual appeal and violence. The acting is pretty much B-movie class, with Emily Browning as the stoic lead girl, and that’s pretty much it. If you want to keep me interested you will need a lot more than 20 minutes of fantasy CGI sequences sprinkled throughout a 120 minute trek. As the film progresses into its action-oriented enterprises, it quickly recalls the dizzying array of cut-scenes from video-games and punk anime-style design in how it encompasses the digital environment.
Before I start to dissect other parts of the film, I will discuss the plot. The story follows Baby Doll who is sent to a mental institution for girls. At the institution, Baby Doll meets Dr. Vera Gorski, who tries to help patients through having them act out on a stage. Yet, from these simple moments of exposition, Synder thinks everyone is ready for the Alice in Wonderland journey that he seems to be emulating from this point forward. I have to admit, Snyder knows how to direct action, but for some reason, when it comes to this movie, he seems to loose his touch. In the end we find that Baby Doll is able to change herself, and in so doing changes her reality. The only question that remains is what reality will Baby Doll choose for herself. As the Buddhist’s philosophy goes, only through deep insight can we truly change our reality to ensure happiness for ourselves and those we love.
What’s unfortunate about all the effort and hard work that went into these brilliantly staged set pieces is that I just didn’t care. Because of the nature of these scenes, being inside of an imagination, there wasn’t much at stake. Furthermore the film tries to send a message that, with me at least, didn’t come through. The magnificent action-scenes make me forget that there is something more to the film. You have to remember the storyline and pay attention to every word to follow the plot, which can be hard with all that shooting. When the film goes into dream mode, it becomes something truly special. The first is a fight that involves a young girl armed with a samurai blade and pistol facing off three giant robot samurai. Words could not do justice as to how kick-ass the first sequence was, which was definitely the high point of the film for me. I had the misfortune of reading one critic’s comments before posting this review where he opined that this movie will make sure that Zack Snyder never gets a free-rein to make what he wants ever again. I do not agree with it mostly because this movie proves that Zack can direct almost anything that appeals to the taste of modern young movie audiences. Like Michael Bay, people will see his movies and they will make money no matter what, regardless of what people think about him.
You can also tell that they didn’t pour that much heart into developing the story because aside from all the leading ladies being mouth watering, they all seemed at tad flat. There wasn’t much depth to any of them, other than the fact that they are all locked in a mental facility and they can kick major ass with awesome weapons. In the end, I think whether or not someone will enjoy Sucker Punch depends on why you’re going to see it. If you want a movie with meaning or that takes itself seriously, or if you’re going solely for mindless action, then you aren’t going to enjoy this. If you go in thinking this movie will suck, nothing about it will change your mind. And quite frankly, if you’ve seen the trailers, you probably think this film will suck. Perhaps this is a warm-up, or the release of Snyder’s mind, to prepare him for that “Superman” project with Christopher Nolan. Regardless, avoid at all costs, in fact use the money you were going to spend at the theater and donate it to Japan tsunami relief charities and put your money to better use.