#59 / 365 – ‘Sucker Punch’ – 110 mins
Cinema Challenge #27 / 115
Locked away against her will, Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls – the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung) and the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) – to band together and try to escape their terrible fate at the hands of their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm). Led by Babydoll, the girls engage in fantastical warfare against everything from samurai’s to serpents, with a virtual arsenal at their disposal. Together, they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. But with the help of a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their unbelievable journey – if they succeed – will set them free.
If you’ve seen any Zack Snyder’s live action films (‘300’, ‘Watchmen’) before , then you just about know what to expect when his latest offering comes along, lots of slow-mo signature sequences and an eclectic selection of pop music peppering the background where Emily Browning does an excellent cover of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams. Essentially Sucker Punch is Snyder’s version of ‘Inception’ with its multi-layered dream platform, the difference being here is everything plays out like an exaggerated video game, with Snyder’s fingertips on the Playstation controller as he moves the girls into battle, the problem is these characters never seem to face any immediate danger from their enemies and their quest for freedom on the battlegrounds is all a little too easily played out.
Casting wise the only noteworthy positives were, Carla Gugino (‘Sin City’) being highly effective as Dr Vera Gorski, Oscar Isaac (‘Robin Hood’), who portrays the villain of the film, was menacingly believable and Jena Malone and Abbie Cornish were enjoyable as sisters Rocket and Sweet Pea, respectively. Emily Browning is stunning as the vulnerable Babydoll but her performance was decidedly muted throughout, Vanessa Hudgens’ acting was non-existent but as Vicky brilliantly (in our film club discussions) quoted to me “Now High School Musical as finished she is just looking for….any kind of pay cheque” which explains why in the few lines Hudgens’ pouts here, she is excruciatingly awful.
Sucker Punch is ambitious and visually flawless with this being its major winner even if some of the action sequences do come off a little disjointed at times, but ultimately it lacks any coherent story to coordinate these wizardry visuals. However even with this big plot negative, the DVD purchase is definitely on the horizon for me. One final word of note though to Zack Snyder – on this evidence are we really ready for you be taking the helm on the prized possession that is ‘Superman: Man of Steel’….