Aug 1, 2011

Sucker Punch Review

image from Amazon

Sometime in the 1960's, the wife of a priest dies, leaving the priest in full responsibility of their two daughters. In a fit of emotion, he kills one daughter, but the other fights back and winds up being pinned with the murder wrap. The girl gets committed to a highly corrupt mental institution who is paid to lobotomize her within a week, and make her perform in a interpretive, or maybe, burlesque kind of dance for audiences as a form of therapy. Little does anyone know that this girl is a naturally amazing dancer, who when she closes her eyes goes into a fantasy land and performs a stammeringly hypnotic dance. This girl uses the power of her dance to her advantage in an attempt to free herself and all of her other inmates.

The visuals are really stunning in this film, and I really enjoyed the the names of the characters. The character Blue is really the most effective villain I've seen in a long time. He wasn't a really three-dimensional character, but he played his role so well that there was not a single likable thing about him. Also I think the plot-device of breaking the story into two different-but-related stories (in the mental hospital, and in the fantasy land) really worked well. If the entire film was based in one world or the other, I don't think it would have kept my attention for the entire run-time, but this had me interested in both stories.

My Highlights:
The final fight with Blue, Rocket's "two things", the mentor's catchphrase, and the steam-punk trench-warfare fights.

Overall Rating:
I went into this film with really low expectations due to all the critics' panning of Sucker Punch, but was pleasantly surprised. It had it's cliches, and I didn't like the change in focus at the end of the film because one vital character really needed to be more relatable, more likable, and more fleshed out for the ending to work. However, the visuals were great, the steam-punk theme of the fantasy world felt fresh and new, and the division of the two worlds/stories kept things interesting. It's not an iconic film that I'll go back and watch again, particularly because it runs kind of long (like all Zack Snyder films), but it was a solid film sure to gain some real momentum when it gets played on cable. 3 3/4 *'s out of 5, or 7 1/2 *'s out of 10.

When You Should See It:
It doesn't need to be at the top of your queue, but I think if you're looking for a fresh new take on action films you should give this a try. Certainly beats Charlie's Angels.

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