Imprisoned in an insane asylum after witnessing the murder of her sister by her evil stepfather, a young woman attempts to battle her way to freedom through her imagination.
Let’s get right to it. I was a bit disappointed in this movie. This is the kind of film that a cynic makes in order to spread a message about optimism. If I say anything more specific than that, it becomes a spoiler. As most of you already know,SUCKER PUNCH tells the story of a girl, nicknamed Babydoll, trapped in an insane asylum who tries to battle her way to freedom through her imagination.
Zack Snyder’s latest movie *seems* to draw most of its inspiration from a little cult film named DANCER IN THE DARK starring Bjork. Indeed, Bjork’s music colors the soundtrack regularly in SUCKER PUNCH. In fact, calling SUCKER PUNCH a high-tech, fantasy girl version of DANCER IN THE DARK would be fairly accurate, as the former movie seems to be the spiritual child of the latter.
First of all, the trailer is misleading. Babydoll only enters her imagination to fight battles, she’s not questing in her fantasy world throughout the movie. If you’ve seen DANCER IN THE DARK, then you’ll find out SUCKER PUNCH borrows its storytelling structure almost exactly. Even the endings are highly similar.
To be honest, Babydoll’s first battle scene is full of awesome. It makes you initially glad you bought a ticket. However, when her four girl companions show up the movie goes completely downhill.
The movie forces us to follow these minor characters around, and we know nothing about them. They also manage to take away a good 70-80% of the action away from the main character…and it’s a bad trade. The actress playing Babydoll holds such a better screen presence than her co-stars, that whenever they start fighting the movie lapses into a high-tech Buffy: The Vampire Slayer type of cheesiness.
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* Do not continue reading if you don’t want this movie SPOILED for you. To protect readers, I’ve placed the text in WHITE. Highlight the paragraph below to continue reading.
The bad guys win in the end (sort of). Babydoll has 5 days to escape the insane asylum or else she’ll be lobotomized. She fails. The screen cuts to black and delivers an unconvincing message about how freedom depends on the mind. SUCKER PUNCH is a real shame, because the set up is fairly gruesome. If the main character somehow had managed to come out on top, it would’ve delivered a great emotional pay off. Those of you who have seen DANCER IN THE DARK, starring Bjork, will be quite familiar with this ending, as they are very similar. This is why I said this is a cynic’s movie attempting to spread a message about optimism.
The let-down ending certainly affected the audience. For example, at the end of BATTLE: LOS ANGELES people were cheering and commenting how cool the movie was. At the end of SUCKER PUNCH, the audience was mostly quiet as they filed out.
QUALITY RATING: For Genre Lovers Only
This movie began with such great promise, but eventually ended nowhere. As such, you’re really only watching SUCKER PUNCH for two reasons. 1) You’re a fan of Zack Snyder’s direction, and indeed, it’s breathtaking here. 2) You want to see some fantasy girl power in action. As a story, the movie doesn’t emotionally deliver, nor will it convince you of its theme.
SPEND RATING: Low Matinee / High Rental
The movie visuals could merit a viewing on the big screen. However, if you’re wiling to wait for a Blu-Ray disc, I would wager the experience will be very close to a theatre one. The villains in Babydoll’s imagination are all cartoonish, so its debatable whether seeing them on a big screen would impress you more.