Monday, March 28, 2011

Sucker Punch Review

First off, I know it's a movie. But I challenge you to find a review that doesn't mention video game, or gamers, or 'adolescent male fantasy' in the first paragraph. For all purposes, it's a video game...or at least a more serious story masquerading as one. So I say, deal with it Jaison!

Let me start by saying I was really excited for this movie. Does that make me a tard? Maybe, it's probably too late for that. From the trailers you can get a good idea of exactly how this story goes down. Girl gets committed to an asylum by her evil step-father, uses her imagination as a refuge and formulates an escape plan. Also hot chicks fighting giant samurai, nazi zombies and evil robots. You know, typical video game stuff.

I know a lot of people rolled their eyes at the concept. I can't really blame them. It does look pretty ridiculous (read: stupid). But it also looked over the top, fun and crazy. Sometimes that's just the kind of movie you want to see. I can appreciate the taste of a filet mignon, but sometimes a man just wants to fucking eat a taco. I can respect a movie that knows what it is and plays to it's strengths, no matter what they may be. What I can't stand is movies that have pretensions, or forget just exactly what they're supposed to be about.

Unfortunately Sucker Punch is one of those movies. The film starts off with a slick, stylish and gut wrenching opening as the main character Baby Doll (God I hate that name) winds up in the asylum due to be lobotomized in 5 days. But then, there is an incredibly jarring shift and suddenly everything changes to a creepy burlesque house. This is inside her mind, but it's also where 90% of the movie takes place. Every time she dances, it shifts to the crazy action sequences we see in the trailers. There are 4 in all, and though they look spectacular they aren't nearly long enough and feel completely disconnected from everything.

I understand the whole concept of people being the hero in their own mind, and how our imagination is our refuge. But the thing is, it doesn't feel like her imagination at all. At no point do we ever learn why she imagines all this crazy shit, or why she is such a good dancer. In fact we don't learn anything about any of the main characters. The characters are so paper thin that they don't evoke much emotion at all. In a straight-up, balls-to-the-wall cheesy action movie I can forgive that. But this movie seems to have other ambitions, which it fails to deliver on.

Then of course there's the sexism argument. Is this movie misogynist fantasy, or empowering to women? Well, neither really. There's lots of revealing clothing, but no nudity. The girls also manage to kick a lot of ass, and work together to defeat the bad guy. There are many far more sexist movies out right now, like every frat boy party comedy in the last decade. That said, it certainly doesn't do women any favors. Outside of the action sequences the girls spend the whole movie getting beat up, killed or generally harassed by disgusting men. I guess the message is that men can be assholes. I don't even know why Zack Snyder felt that was a point that needed to be reiterated.

In the end this movie was long, uncomfortable and ultimately unsatisfying on any level. It does deal with some heavy themes, but it wields them with all the grace of a fiddler crab coated in crisco. I wish I could recommend it for the action sequences alone, but you're better off watching them on youtube and saving your money.


  1. I have yet to hear anybody say they liked this movie.

  2. I have a fem crush on Emily Browning.

  3. I liked the movie. It was told from Sweet Peas point-of-view... She starts the movie- She ends the movie. In *HER* mind, for whatever reason, Baby Doll becomes the main protagonist... You just didn't get it.