Sucker Punch, the ambitious new film from Zack Snyder, director of such visually inventive works as 300 and Watchmen, feels as much like a computer game as it does a music video and a comic book. Mixing fantasy with reality, it tells the story of a 20-year-old girl Baby Doll (played by Emily Browning) who is packed off to a mental asylum by her evil stepfather, where she will soon be lobotomized. There she envisions herself in a brothel, where she mentally escapes into yet another fantasy during her dance numbers.
The film is many things all at once, and it helps to go in with an open mind and a willingness to suspend disbelief.
The inmates at this institution for disturbed girls are all pouty and sexy and have names like Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber and Blondie. Baby Doll enlists four of them to break out of this asylum/brothel; and to secure the tools needed to run away from their grim reality, the girls enter imaginary worlds where they dress provocatively and slay dragons, fight samurai robots and shoot down World War I zombies.
The action scenes are undeniably cool to look at, and Snyder employs the fanciest CGI to realize his bold vision. But the plot, as I warned you earlier, is likely to leave you scratching your head. On the one hand you could argue that a film like Sucker Punch exemplifies exactly what’s wrong with the movies today – it’s an expensive, nonsensical video-game. On the other, there will be fans who’ll embrace it for its sheer bravura and for the fact that it doesn’t bow to convention.
Personally I enjoyed the film for its blazing originality and for the ‘fun’ element Snyder brought to the action sequences. I also think it’s interesting how he objectifies these girls by putting them into these scanty outfits, only to empower them in a sense.
In the end, Sucker Punch is a mash-up of so many genres that I’ll take the same liberty to describe the film – it’s a kind of Charlie’s Angels for the Inception generation. If you’re willing to overlook the clunky dialogue and enjoy it strictly for the spectacle it delivers, you won’t be disappointed. I’m going with three out of five for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. It’s no masterpiece this, but you will be entertained.