It hurts me to say this, but Sucker Punch is proof that Zack Snyder should stick to directing adaptations of other peoples work. There is no denying that Zack has a GREAT visual eye, but he has much to work on as far as writing goes. Sucker Punch is the first film that he fully wrote the script and story for and it really does show. You can tell how much he loves his visuals to the point of him losing focus on his story and focusing more on how he can make the scenes look better. Essentially, Sucker Punch is every geek or nerds dream, it’s got hot women, Nazi zombies, ninjas, robots and loads of stylized action. It really does sound like a wild idea on paper, but its execution was poor. It lacks depth and it really doesn’t connect you with the characters at all.
Sucker Punch stars Emily Browning as Baby Doll, an orphan who is put into a hospital for the mentally insane. She is introduced to several other beautiful looking women who are damaged in some way. They are all forced to dance for several higher ups at the facility, but when Baby Doll dances, she is transported to an alternate reality, which she uses as a coping method for her current life situation. In this alternate reality, she and the rest of the girls have a plan to escape. As the plan unfolds in the alternate reality, it slowly unfolds in the real world. It’s confusing to explain but very easy to understand when watching. All you really need to know is that when Baby Doll dances, all the fun visuals kick in. When she isn’t dancing, the movie is dull and boring. As they find more things to help them escape, some of the guards start to catch wind of their plan. This of course leads to several confrontations. While the story isn’t 100% predictable, I must say that it isn’t all that interesting. The ending felt forced and it really didn’t sit well with me.
What really works in Sucker Punch are the visuals. Anyone who has seen a trailer can back that statement up. It’s very impressive and it certainly feels like a Zack Snyder film. He paints such a beautiful picture and it really does suck seeing it go to waste. He’s great at shooting fight scenes, but sometimes he gets a little carried away with the slow motion/speed up camera techniques. It’s cool for the first few scenes, but it gets a little exhausting towards the end. I felt that he balanced it really well in one of his previous films, Watchmen, but he over used it in Sucker Punch.
The music was something that was sort of a mixed bag for me. I liked the song choices and the general placement of them in the film, but I got really annoyed by the girls singing them, mainly the voice of Rocket, who is played by Jena Malone. Malone has a very unique voice and it’s not one I particularly care to hear singing.
My main problem with Sucker Punch was the way the story was delivered. It really did feel like they were relying on the visuals to cover up a story that didn’t quite matter. Everything that happened in the movie was only to show you a cool visual scene. Lots of things didn’t make much sense and I can fully excuse that if they give me reasoning. Lots of cheesy, Grindhouse styled films like Drive Angry or Machete can be excused because everyone involved knows what kind of film they are making, light on the story and heavy on the insane action. When certain story driven scenes occurred in Drive Angry, they were usually all funny and in the tone of the film. With Sucker Punch, whenever the story started happening I became bored and disconnected. I didn’t care what was happening to the girls and I just wanted to see them fighting ninjas or dragons. Usually this would be the type of movie that you turn your brain off for an hour and a half and just have fun, but it ended up being more of a chore. For every twenty minutes of horribly delivered dialog, you were given fifteen minutes of crazy action, but the action slowly started to wear off with the over use of the slow motion/speed up camera techniques. Eventually, I was just waiting for the movie to end, but then Baby Doll would go into the dance trance and I would realize that there would be yet another twenty minutes before the end.
Overall, Sucker Punch is a smash up of action scenes taken from all sorts of material and it really doesn’t settle on being one film. It doesn’t feel complete at all and the lacking story doesn’t help much. I disliked most of the acting and realized that looks can only go so far in holding my attention. Zack Snyder really does need to stick to adapting other material or maybe he just needs to spend a little more time worrying about the story and less time worrying about the visuals. He’s a great visual artist and I think some of his past films prove that he can tell a story when supplied with ideas, so let’s hope his next film delivers on all ends. I’m sure this movie will appeal to many people who are looking for a good time at the cinemas (visually), but if you’re looking for some depth and story, be warned that Sucker Punch doesn’t have either!
Sucker Punch – 6.5/10