Sucker Punch plays almost like an action director’s or visual effect supervisor’s demo reel. Taken only for the imagery and the action itself, Sucker Punch is a marvel, especially projected in Imax.
However if you are there for anything more you will be sorely disappointed.
The film follows a girl who is nicknamed “Babydoll.” After her mother dies, her abusive step father, in a drunken rage, attempts to rape Babydoll and her younger sister. In trying to protect her younger sister, Babydoll accidentally shoots and kills her. This leads to Babydoll being committed to an insane asylum. The step father quickly pays off a dirty doctor to lobotomize her. Babydoll has five days to find an escape. This happens in the first five minutes of the movie.
The next hour and a half takes place on two levels of an alternate reality occurring in Babydoll’s mind. She sees the asylum not as an asylum, but as a whorehouse where all the inmates and staff play similar roles (the inmates play the whores, the doctors play the pimps). The next tier of reality occurs every time Babydoll is forced to dance seductively for men. She then is whisked away in a dreamworld where she is challenged by larger than life adversaries to attain objects that are promised to help her escape.
Zac Snyder (director of 300 and Watchmen) has one of the most creative visual palettes in film today. Every frame of his movies are highly-stylized and illustrate his uncanny skill of directing action scenes. Sucker Punch is an amazing showcase of his strengths as the action scenes are breathtaking to look at and flow like panels straight out of a comic book. However Zac Snyder wrote the screenplay based off his own story, and, unfortunately, he is not a strong writer.
So what is wrong with the story? Almost everything. The characters are wafer thin. Even at the end of the movie you do not know anything about most of the characters in the film. You get very broad and loose details even about the lead character. In fact the lead doesn’t speak a word until about fifteen minutes into the film. Sucker Punch as a whole does not have a lot of dialog, and based on the little dialog that does exist, that's a good thing. It would be unfair to criticize any of the performances in the film because other than action they have very little to work with. Because the characters are so light and the action scenes take place in a dreamlike state, the action carries very little weight. I never felt like anything was really at stake. So while the action is pretty it does very little for the story. I would claim it takes away the intensity and danger of the film in fact.
Sucker Punch is a very specific taste. I would wager most people will not like this film at all. But the people who do like it, will like it a lot. I can definitely say Sucker Punch does not shy away from trying to be something completely original and truly epic in scale; and to the filmmaker’s credit they achieved that in style, action, and visuals. It’s easy to see the effort and craftsmanship that went into this film. However the weakness in the story is just too much to overlook for me. If you need nothing more than visual flair Sucker Punch is for you.
FILMS LIKE SUCKER PUNCH : Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolutions and Legend
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.