After following the Twitter feeds all weekend long, Sucker Punch has had a very polarizing affect on fans. Some people love it and others hate it. Ever since it’s first appearance at Comic Con in 2010, the anticipation for Sucker Punch has been building. Director Zac Snyder of 300 and Watchmen fame, has been a fan favorite for years. The early images were stunning and looked to include every nerd genre ever conceived. I rarely see midnight showings anymore but I knew I had to stand in line for this one although I was worried since it was not pre-screened for critics. I hoped and prayed I was not going to be punched like a sucker.
The story is exactly what the trailer explains. A hot blond is committed to an all girls mental institution and is forced into a life of performing and prostitution. Retreating back into her mind, she devised an escape plan with the help of her sister inmates. This is sort of a Pan’s Labyrinth and Inception combined where the dream world parallels what is happening in reality. However, SP doesn’t pull it off nearly as good as those two films.
The visuals are amazing. It draws from every nerd boy genre you can think of; school girls, sword play, steam-punk Nazis, orcs, dragons, robots, ariel combat, wire-fu, samurais, etc… Its actually a pretty ingenious idea to mix these random genres together. I really appreciate Snyder’s bold steps to break the ‘rules’ by doing these ridiculous crossovers. I have certainly never seen a World War 2 B-25 in a dogfight with a medieval dragon before- and probably never will. I also appreciated the storytelling device of her escaping reality in order to accomplish some sort of goal. It doesn’t work on some levels but I can acknowledge the ambition. Well sadly, thats where the pros end.
The acting, casting, writing, and direction is all a mess. Snyder and his wife/writing partner wrote this original story, and while ambitious it falls flat on so many levels. The dialogue is corny and so amateur. It felt like a ‘made for TV’ script from a movie of the week on the SyFy channel. Yes, its that bad. Casting was atrocious too. While all the girls were attractive, non of them brought a performance worthy to note. It is clear Snyder is more confident in directing them in action sequences than in the actual acting parts. The reality scenes are interwoven through the movie and I found myself enduring them while waiting for the fantasy action to spin up. The ending, while having a twist or two is largely unsatisfying which only emphasizes the overall weaknesses in the story. This is almost reminiscent of the 80’s WIP (Women in Prison) B-movies. It felt a little misogynistic at times and definitely made me feel uncomfortable with all the sexy school girl abuse imagery that it was used to sell this film. Don’t get me wrong- I like a girl with a sword but I thought this borderlined in degrading women and not empowering them, like in a James Cameron film.
If you are a fanboy/girl then you should check this out but LOWER your expectations. It could have been a great film and really legitimized Snyder’s distinct style, but instead it only creates more concerns for future projects like Superman. Check this out but don’t get sucker punched and keep your expectations low.
I give this a 2.5 Babbles out of 5