A forward to ALL my readers:
Zach Snyder’s SUCKER PUNCH is no doubt going to be the ultimate “love it or hate it” movie of the year. Your “expectations” for this movie are going to greatly influence your experience and overall enjoyment. If you go into this film thinking it will have an intricate story filled with deep characterization you will be sorely disappointed. What we have here is a fun fantasy epic that is visually stunning, has a breathtakingly unique style, awesome set pieces, amazingly choreographed action sequences, and some of the most bad ass moments I have seen in a film since the Wachowski brothers blew our collective minds with THE MATRIX trilogy. As you may be able to guess, I am in the category of “love it” and cannot recommend this movie enough to those who don’t mind style over substance sometimes, especially when it is done this well. On with the review! Minor spoilers ahead.
SUCKER PUNCH is the latest movie directed by Zach Snyder who brought us the visually stunning and completely bad ass films 300 and WATCHMEN. This epic-fantasy tells the tale of a young woman who is institutionalized by her wicked and perverted step father after a series of unfortunate events (wink wink). As a result, the young woman retreats to an alternate reality to cope with her situation and to ultimately come up with an escape plan. This movie takes some obvious cues from films like INCEPTION and PAN’S LABYRINTH in that we follow the main character into their imagination where anything is possible. The multi tiered narrative in this film serves one purpose and one purpose only; to give the director an excuse to cram as much bad ass stuff into 2 hours as humanly possible. While SUCKER PUNCH may may lose points for a somewhat dull plot and less than engaging characters, it more than makes up for that with style, amazing action sequences, and pure entertainment value. This movie was a blast from start to finish!
The first thing movie-goers should notice about this film is its unique and mind-blowing visual style. This movie is crammed full of so much eye candy that I was often beside myself admiring the worlds placed before me. The narrative starts off with our main protagonist know as “Baby Doll”, played by Emily Browning (A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, THE UNINVITED), in the “real world” and quickly tells the tragic tale of our heroine in the events leading up to her institutionalization. These “real-world” scenes are brief yet capture a cool 1960’s vibe that sets up our story in an interesting music video inspired opening. Once introduced to the purposefully drab mental hospital we quickly jump to our first layer of imagination as Baby Doll turns the grim atmosphere of the hospital into a stylized brothel where girls must dance to avoid being useless. It is not until Baby Doll is forced to dance that we dive deeper into her imagination and get to see some truly awe-inspiring locations and set pieces that make up the majority of the film.
Once we dive deep into Baby Doll’s imagination we are treated to some of the most awesome set pieces in a film I have seen in a long time. The audience is transported into a steam-punk inspired fantasy realm that showcases some amazingly creative locations. We start off in a snowy Japan themed village with some amazingly large samurai warriors, an intense World War I themed battleground with undead ground troops and sweet bi-plane action, a Tolkien inspired castle battle with a hovering dragon and a futuristic train ride full of acrobatic robots with guns (my personal favorite!). While the pacing and overall narrative is somewhat formulaic, it really did not matter as I found myself eagerly anticipating what new location I would be transported to next! This is truly awesome stuff people and needs to be seen on the big screen in full detail to be believed!
There is almost nothing better than an awesome ass kicking action movie. I have seen about every action movie out there worth seeing and constantly thirst for new and exciting movies showcasing amazing action. SUCKER PUNCH delivers my craving for amazing action sequences and does so with mesmerizing style. I came to the theatre for pure action and that is exactly what I got. While I am so very impressed that you saw and loved AMELIE, I did not come here for the story. I came for the balls-to-the-wall action! This is a fanboys wet dream that lasts for 2 hours minus the shame. A large scale battle with 2 over sized samurai warriors with swords and a third with a chain gun. Check. A full on WWI battle featuring undead steam-punk soldiers and machine gun equipped zeppelins. Check. An epic LORD OF THE RINGS themed castle battle with a huge dragon and helicopters. Check. A futuristic train ride with with gun wielding acrobatic robots and some of the best use of slow motion action I’ve ever seen. Check. Holy crap this movie has some awesome and truly memorable action scenes that had my jaw on the floor in a pool of my own dribble. The action here is simply a 10 out of 10.
SUCKER PUNCH deserves some major credit for being an original property too. This movie is not based on a comic book or novel, it is not a sequel, and is not a remake of any kind. An original movie such as this is a rare treat for those sick of our over saturation of remakes and sequels in Hollywood today. Good for you Mr. Snyder for being able to make the movie YOU wanted too.
So the story was pretty lackluster and oddly formulaic and the characters were not too engaging. So what. Did you really expect it to be something else other than a feast for the eyes? This is one of those rare gems of a movie where pure style overshadows any lack of substance. If you have realistic expectations and are willing and open minded enough to appreciate this film for what it is, you will be rewarded with some of the most fun you have had in a movie in a long time. This is a Zach Snyder passion project and is a creative burst out of his imagination. It’s as if he thought of everything he ever wanted in a fantasy action movie and found a way to put it ALL in! SUCKER PUNCH comes highly recommended. Please don’t listen to all the haters out there who will predictably rip this movie to shreds. Enjoy this for what it is; a visually stimulating fantasy action movie with some of the best set pieces and action scenes around.
Final Score: 9 out of 10