sucker_punch_ver9Warner Bros.
2011
PG-13

“For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know.”

Set in the 1950s, Sucker Punch takes viewers on an incredible journey into the mind of Babydoll, who finds herself at the mercy of her malevolent stepfather after her mother passes away. With no remaining family and no friends to turn to, her stepfather has her committed to a bleak mental hospital, where she is scheduled to receive a lobotomy in five days. As the procedure draws near, Babydoll creates a phantasmagorical alternate reality in which she must seek out five items in order to secure her freedom. Should she fail, her mind isn’t the only thing she stands to lose.

After having just watched Sucker Punch, I have to wonder if the guy behind this movie, Zack Snyder, was the victim of believing his own hype.  Snyder, in case you didn’t know, was the director behind the acclaimed Dawn Of The Dead remake, and the 300 and Watchmen adaptations, as well as the upcoming Superman reboot Man Of Steel in 2013.  I have to admit, his movies are pretty stylin’, from a fanboy’s perspective.  Loved the 300 and Watchmen movies, and I’m certain he’ll do some justice to Superman.  Haven’t seen the Legend Of The Guardians movie.

So, obviously I was more than a little curious about Sucker Punch when it was announced.  This being the first original movie from the director, he also cowrote the screenplay.  Word had it Sucker Punch was going to be a kinetic psychological action thriller done in Snyder’s trademark surreal shooting style, which added to the curiosity.  And when it was released in theaters, coworkers who went to see the movie said they enjoyed it immensely.  Which meant that I should really wait until it was released on DVD to rent the sucker.  Kind of a backhanded thing, yeah, but keep in mind these same co-workers love Twilight and “super scary movies”.  I feel I’m justified in my elitist snobery.

Anyway, after I finally got around to watching Sucker Punch, I was left with a pofound sense of WHAT THE FRAK DID I JUST WATCH?  Mind you, I do believe that the description of “psychological action thriller” is apt; it’s just so ham-fisted in the execution, you have to wonder if Mr. Snyder got a little too ambitious and there was no one there to tell him to tone it down a bit.

On the outset, Sucker Punch begins as a Hitchcockian period mystery, with a young lady being sent to the mental asylum and scheduled to have an unauthorized lobotomy to cover up the stepfather’s indiscretions.  She then regresses into a fantasy world inside her head, where she’s now a novice stripper who wastes no time into persuading the other strippers to try and break out of their slavery.  And, get this, every time she begins to dance, she then slips into yet ANOTHER fantasy realm (kind of a dream within a dream thing), each time a different character, fighting evil and trying to find the different Items of Much Importance.  Of course, as the time for the lobotomy in the Real World draws near, things get desperate in the first fantasy realm, which makes the quests in the second realm even more…

Ugh, I just gave myself a headache.  Here’s the deal.  Sucker Punch is visually stunning.  It’s heavy on the CGI, especially in the second fantasy realm, but as far as the fantasy action and such goes, it’s fantastic.  And that’s probably the only real good thing to say about this.  Sucker Punch felt too much like there was actually three movies that Snyder wanted to do, and then decided, instead of just picking one, he’d do them all in one big movie.  Like when I decide to put together a Filet O’ Fish patty and the six Chicken McNuggets on the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and call it the McSurf N’ Turf Special.  I just made some of you sick, didn’t I?

This entire movie is disjointed, a bit hard to follow, and the decision to use emo cover versions of pop songs of the past didn’t really do much to help the atmosphere.  The concept is a brilliant one, mind you.  It just royally misfired.  I have a feeling that Sucker Punch would have been great had it been given a lot longer to slow bake in the pre-production stages.  Otherwise, I would actually urge people to view Sucker Punch to experience a unique and visually stunning picture.  Just don’t go in expecting coherent.