GENRE: Fantasy adventure
THE PITCH: Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is institutionalized after coping with the death of her mother, the sinister advances of her stepfather, and accidental death of her younger sister. To make matters worst, her evil stepfather greases the palms of a psyche ward orderly, Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) to schedule a lobotomy for his stepdaughter in five days. Desperate to escape her fate, she turns to an unexpected ally - her fantastic imagination to plot her freedom. Think Girl Interrupted meets Brazil.
MONEY SHOT: Baby Doll and her team: Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung) set out on a mission to appropriate a map from behind enemy lines. Set within a Goth WWII backdrop, the five, femme fatales unleash a blitzkrieg on a horde of steam punk Nazi zombies.FAVORITE LINE:
There's not much dialog throughout the revolving door of Baby Doll's fantasy and reality. The memorable quotes come from the Wise Man (Scott Glenn) who guides Baby Doll and her lot along their series of insurmountable quests with motivational quotes like, "Don't ever write a check with your mouth you can't cash with your ass," or "For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know," by President Theodore Roosevelt.
BOORISH NATASHA: In an almost laughable caricature of a role, Carla Gugino portrays a Polish psychologist, Dr. Vera Gorski who moonlights in Baby Doll's imagination as a brothel madam and dance instructor. Her exaggerated Slavic accent garnered snickers when she said things like, "If you don't dance, you don't have a purpose. We don't keep things without a purpose around - so dance!"
WHAT IS A SUCKER PUNCH ANYWAY? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, its to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation.
NUMBER OF SUCKER PUNCHES THROWN: Two physical punches are thrown during the film - both occur during fantasy sequences. Metaphorically, it's a sucker punch mega brawl throughout.
BODY COUNT: Considering there are three plateaus to Baby Doll's reality, its hard to nail down a fair assessment of fatalities without spoiling the film. It is safe to say three giant Samurai, a mass of Nazi zombies, two dragons, a brood of trolls, and a fair amount of robot outnumber the total human body count.
b>FEMINIST TKO: Although we see Baby Doll and her fellow asylum-ettes kick scores of booty, you can't help but notice the misogynistic tones that ripple throughout this movie. Save some fantastical butt-whooping scenes concocted in Baby Doll's imagination, the film continuously illustrates an abusive and altruistic tactics men use, whether mental or physical to subjugate women. To explain further would spoil the plot. Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox now.
SKIN FACTOR: Chock full on anime themes, it comes as no surprise that our heroine is clad in a skimpy Japanese school girl outfit. Baby Doll's co-conspirators don't fare much better as their principally wearing dance leotards and stiletto heels or skin-tight leather ensembles in the fantasy sequences. They amp up the taste factor by not showing any tail.
BOTTOM LINE: Zack Snyder made a name for himself by helming movies that benefit from his unique mix of hyper-motion action sequences and amazing CGI environs. His direct-from-the-book style of storytelling wowed audiences with 300 but left people flat with Watchmen. Now Snyder returns directing his first original screenplay and you can't help but notice he paid no attention to his past missteps. Sucker Punch is a stylish, but troubled mash of plot and subplots, innuendo and metaphor. With so many themes vying for attention, Snyder tries to use his heroine as the lightning rod that draws you to the theme of the moment, but his central character - Baby Doll, a "whack job with a heart of gold" just does't have enough material to vent out this mashup of a story. Is it about Baby Doll's escape, the lessons she learns from imprisonment, the importance of the supporting characters that empower Baby Doll to do the things she does? There are other points that I'd love to illustrate but they are spoilers and would pour even more crap on top of this shit storm. It's a pity the story is so poorly executed because the intricate worlds Snyder creates for his character are stunning. Each sequence is masterfully crafted with amazing detail while upholding his intended Manga aesthetic. In the end, Sucker Punch delivers some visual high points but the story hits well bellow the belt.
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