Sucker Punch

Zack Snyder, USA, 2011, 109 min.

It is easy to dismiss Sucker Punch as a series of incomprehensible fetishistic CGI set-pieces contained within a self-important story. But the film deserves more than that. So I have taken the time to think through what I have seen and I have to come to the conclusion that Sucker Punch is a series of incomprehensible fetishistic CGI set-pieces contained within a self-important story.

Look, I admire Zack Snyder and company for trying to make something different and meaningful. This is obviously a film that attempts to work on many different levels and send a strong message to the audience. There is some great art design during some of it. The creepy 1940s(?) mental institution, and the bordello that it turns into all have a striking look. The girls and their costumes are painstakingly crafted, and the direction has some great flourishes.

But nothing works together in this film. Least so the fantasy within a fantasy CGI action sequences. There is no connection in these scenes to what is going on in the real world of the film.

The way the story is written it could have just as easily been girls robbing a bank or girls hunting monkeys instead of girls disarming a bomb or girls fighting a dragon. So when these sequences start whatever hold the film had on me instantly vanished.

When we see the main character getting pummeled by a samurai but taking no damage then what is the point? These sequences do nothing for the story, and the “Wall-of-CGI-action-movie” style does nothing for me. I need more than girls in cool outfits. I can see that on the movie poster.

The girls themselves are poor characters who are stuck with a bad script. The Baby Doll character arch is forced. The story is messy and the soundtrack wildly inconsistent.

I wanted to like the film. It was an interesting idea with a lot of promise. And it is different than most big-budget Hollywood fare. The opening works, but everything else erased all the good will I had.  Zach Snyder does what he can to keep it all together, but Sucker Punch is just bursting at the seams with poor choices.

This film wins the award “Best David Carradine Performance Without David Carradine” for Scott Glen’s portrayal of the wise old master.

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