Sucker Punch (12a)
Dir. Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Oscar Isaac, Carla Gugino, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, Vanessa Hudgens
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (This review can also be read over at FRANK THE MONKEY)
You will be unprepared…
See that cutie dressed as a schoolgirl? The one with the cherry red lips, blonde hair, short skirt and samurai sword? That’s Babydoll and she’s going to take you on a wild ride which will redefine how you experience action films from now on.
"Beauty and the metalic minigun toting beast!"
Zack ‘now working on Superman: Man of steel’ Snyder is a master of visual spectacle mixed with crunching comic book action – as proved in his 300 and Watchmen flicks. With Sucker Punch he is writing and directing and it feels like he is downloading everything he thinks is awesome in one massive brain dump. The cutting edge visuals are still there swirling iconic elements fused from Manga, Sci-fi and Horror – making something unique and breathtaking.
Let’s not mess about here, Sucker Punch is possibly the best visual action thrill ride ever, it will break your heart, raise your pulse and melt your cinematic pleasure receptors. Nothing can fully prepare you for this insanely delicious eye-popping overload of smokin’ hot babes and megaton action.
It hits like a true sucker punch to the frontal lobes and left me reeling.
Plot wise Sucker Punch sees Baby Doll (Emily ‘Uninvited’ Browning) put in a Shutter Island alike mental institution by her wicked, incestuous stepfather after the double tragedy of death of mother and sister. The asylum is full of damaged young women and run by the slimy Blue Jones (Oscar ‘Prince John in Robin Hood’ Isaac) and Dr. Gorski (Carla ‘Watchmen’ Gugino).
In this dank nut house which is a front for a high class brothel, Baby Doll meets and bonds with some of the other girls - Rocket (Jena Malone), her sister Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens).
"Trench warfare - catwalk style"
The girls are forced to ‘dance’ for male clients who visit the facility and that is where reality gets fractured in that when Babydoll dances – she can escape into a fantasy world. The fantasy sections are where Sucker Punch really comes alive – channelling the very best CGI effects and a videogame vibe (kind of like a darker Scott Pilgrim). You’ll never see quite so many ‘oh man that’s awesome’ moments as you will watching Babydoll and her crew of babes taking on the forces of evil which include giant red eyed shoguns, fire breathing dragons, steam powered zombie Nazis or slick battle droids that look like they’ve escaped from i-Robot.
Sucker Punch is an amazing achievement, standing toe-to-toe with Inception in creating spectacular worlds within worlds. If the fantasies write large here are directly from the inside of Snyder’s mind then he may need psychiatric help before too long…
The whole cast go about the crazy proceedings with gusto and deliver a fantastic freak show of memorable characters including Scott Glenn as ‘Wiseman’ who is a the mystical ‘man with a plan’ leader of the girls in their fantasy battles. But the main attraction is Emily Browning's Babydoll who earns her place in the all time coolest cinematic heroine club, rubbing shoulders with Trinity from The Matrix, The Bride from Kill Bill and Hit Girl from Kick Ass...
If there is a problem to highlight with Sucker Punch it’s that the videogame level format seems lacking a proper ‘end boss finale’ but maybe the sucker punch here for viewers is not to presume that the film can be understood in a single viewing?
As the Wiseman says: “If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything” – Sucker Punch is a film worth falling for and action film fans, geeks and lovers of skimpily clad hot women kick butt should book their tickets now.
Good job Mr Snyder – now please just make sure that Superman has the plot to back up the visual spectacle and it just might be the best film of all time!?
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - open your mind!)...
Awesomeness ööööö – best. action. scenes. ever?
Laughs öö – patchy acting might raise a smile
Horror ööö – freaky in areas, nasty too
Babes ööööö – Browning is delicious but all the girls are hot
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – dancing can free your mind...
- - -
Second opinion - try Artist Direct who say "Baby Doll usually begins dancing and singing for some nefarious character and then the girls are either battling a breathtakingly brutal fire-breathing dragon or trying to stop a futuristic train from exploding. They're locked and loaded with a bevy of machine guns, and Snyder blends John Woo-style bullet ballet with old school Kung Fu movements for a style of action that's often been tried but never executed this perfectly."
Emily Browning appreciation.
Sounds epic! I have to say I've heard very polarised views - some which mirror your own and some which go completely the other way.
Looks to me like a bit of a marmite film.
Hey - you're right about that, I can see Sucker Punch getting a lot of hate from some critics. And I initially came away thinking 'WTF was that all about' but after digesting it and not being able to stop thinking about a certain Miss Browning's performance it has me wanting to go see it again already.
I often walk a path where I enjoy films that get trashed by others (e.g. Skyline) - you don't have to agree but at least you'll know how I felt about it!?
I'm more than willing to go for the particularly evocative female performances. I'll make my mind up then!
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