Apr 8 2011 By Chris Severs
Sucker Punch (PG13), the latest offering from Zack ‘300’ Snyder will catch unsuspecting viewers by surprise, and for a variety of reasons.
Whether it’s the comic book violence, scantily clad women or lack of creative dialogue, it’s hard to nail this film down as anything meaningful.
The first port of call would be to address the genre; Spartan epic ‘300’ was a massive success, and director Snyder has carried on the style in this tale of reality versus fantasy.
The film centres around ‘Babydoll’, played by Emily Browning, an inherently innocent, shy girl, left distraught by the death of her mother.
We soon see our heroine sentenced to imprisonment in a mental hospital for girls after violently rebelling against her abusive stepfather. Once inside the institute, corruption and sinister forces are at work, and Babydoll learns that she is due to be lobotomized in just five days by ‘Mad Men’ star John Hamm.
She finds that, with the help of some strong injections, the dark hospital transforms into a surreal, colourful brothel, where the inmates are dancers and the doctors and porters are pimps and bouncers.
Heavily medicated, and teaming up with the other girls, Babydoll plots her escape in a series of episodic fantasy-metaphors based around her unique ability to distract the porters of the hospital with her mysterious ‘dancing talent’.
Every time Babydoll starts to dance, she is plunged into a fantastical world of science fiction which features kung-fu, dragons and robots where she bids to retrieve certain objects that will help her escape. Confused? Don’t be.
This film is no work of genius, it is a celebration of the extreme, a homage to Asian Manga and comic book action. It does very little, but it does it with style.
Snyder’s lack of subtlety in the scripts of his films are always eclipsed by the visuals screaming at you from every angle.
I went to see this film hoping it would be closer to Snyder’s other notable film, The Watchmen, but instead found it to be even more brainless than the previously mentioned 300.
Amazingly though, the brainless element isn’t my lasting impression of the film.
I enjoyed the action; and the plot, while extremely simple, had plenty of bells and whistles attached. Enough to keep me amused.
If you were to see this film, you wouldn't be the only one thinking it could have been so much more. But perhaps this is all Snyder is capable of? The film is a shallow, hollow tribute to anime fanboys, if that’s your bag, it will work for you.
If you can look past the poor writing and appreciate good CGI and action, then enjoy the film. Just don’t expect too much from the man charged with the next Superman movie.
Sucker Punch is not only a tale of fantasy over reality, but a tale of style over substance.