Zack Snyder made a name for himself after bursting onto the scene with the film “300.” He then went on to make “Watchmen” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” all of which were praised for a very distinct visual style and all were successful at the box office. “Sucker Punch” is the first major studio film that Snyder had directed that wasn’t adapted from some other source material; in fact, Snyder himself was one of the film’s co-writers. Therefore, he has to take the lion’s share of the blame for its downfall.
Since this movie has little to no story, I won’t even bother with a full synopsis. A young girl is sent to a mental hospital by her step-father after the death of her mother and sister. While there, she meets a young group of girls that turn into her little posse and while in this institution, they have to imagine themselves elsewhere to hang onto their sanity. In this fantasy, they contract a plan to escape and need a few items to do so. In order to get those items, they have to travel into a hyper action-packed reality where they are guerilla soldiers who wear fish-nets and tight tops and kill things.
I honestly don’t know where to begin. I will say that I do consider myself a fan of Zack Snyder’s style and I was really looking forward to the kick-ass visuals this movie was bringing. I even paid the extra surcharges to see it in IMAX. What I got was three separate realities/storylines that were never fully realized and didn’t connect together at all. Don’t get me wrong, the action that this movie does have is pretty awesome at times. But at other times, the special effects look like a mixture between a Saturday morning cartoon and a video game. None of it matters, though, because there isn’t a credible storyline to tie them into or a character that is developed enough for you to care about. There is Baby Doll (Emily Browning), our main heroine, the girl that’s secretly tough and a natural leader. Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) is the oldest of the group and cynical of newcomers. Then there’s Rocket (Jena Malone), a girl who ran away from home; Amber (Jamie Chung) is the shy and quiet one; and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) is a girl with no fear.
Although this film claims to be a movie about female empowerment and tough chicks, that is just to attract women to see this movie. Having the girls in skimpy outfits wielding swords is to help attract young male moviegoers. The movie tries to please two separate audiences, but neither will be happy with what they get.
One aspect that I did like about the film was the score and choice of music throughout the film. It really drives the adrenaline behind the action scenes and even some of the slower songs were used really well. I can definitely see myself having the soundtrack on my iPod for long car rides. So in that sense Snyder succeeded. I also didn’t have any major qualms with the action sequences — it was the lack of fluidity to the movie and missing interlocking story points that just killed it for me.
I honestly can’t say that I recommend this to anybody, even if just for the visuals. If you enjoy watching movies at all, then this film will be too convoluted for you and not worth it in the end. I was truly rooting for this movie and it saddens me that is was this awful.
“Sucker Punch” — which also stars Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, and Scott Glenn — is rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence and language. It opens wide in theaters and IMAX today.
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