Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have giant samurai ninjas, steampunk Nazis, fire-breathing dragons and fighting robots all in one movie? Me too.
Well, that’s exactly what you get with “Sucker Punch,” Zack Snyder’s newest stylized action film. Many may be familiar with Snyder’s previous films such as his remake of George Romero’s classic “Dawn of the Dead” and the adaptations of the popular graphic novels “300” and “Watchmen.”
“Sucker Punch” is Snyder’s first time working with an original idea, and he wrote the screenplay alongside first-time screenwriter Steve Shibuya. The film primarily takes place in a mental asylum in the 1960s and follows five female patients, led by Baby Doll (Emily Browning, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”)
Baby Doll is sent to a mental institution by her evil stepfather, where he and the institution’s orderly, Blue (Oscar Isaac,) make arrangements for her to be lobotomized in five days by the Doctor. Almost immediately after Baby Doll enters the asylum, we enter an alternate fantasy reality she creates where the mental asylum is now a brothel, and she is now a dancer who works for the mob.
This is where she meets Rocket (Jena Malone,) Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish,) Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung.) Together they attempt to escape from the controlling and abusive Blue, but first they must collect five items by completing five imaginary, action-packed obstacle courses.
With a star director, a big budget and an ambitious plot, there’s no way this movie could be a failure, right? Wrong.
The biggest flaw with “Sucker Punch” is its complete lack of heart and human quality. Yes, the action sequences are loud, explosive and visually impressive, but they completely overshadow every other element of the film. The film is so stylized that no message feels genuine and nothing looks real. For example, some of the lead female performances are decent, but it is impossible to take the characters seriously with their heavy make-up and revealing outfits.
In a film almost entirely done with computer-generated effects, the characters look and feel equally as fake. Many may argue this is the kind of film that isn’t meant to be taken seriously and intended for pure entertainment value. However, there are still many aspects of “Sucker Punch” that are simply not fun, such as several scenes involving the female characters being mistreated and abused.
On a more positive note, a strength of the film was the choice in music. Throughout, there are new renditions of such classic songs as “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics, “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies and “Search and Destroy” by the Stooges. These covers don’t quite live up to the greatness of the originals, but they are still well-done and fit the tone and theme of the scenes.
Aside from a couple strong points, there is very little to enjoy or appreciate in “Sucker Punch” and will ultimately leave you feeling exhausted and confused.