What an appropriate title. SUCKER PUNCH is the perfect example of how to make a kick ass movie in the worst way possible. When you saw the original trailers and footage of fire breathing dragons, zombie Nazi steam powered stormtroopers, and robots did you think that the movie would be about some poor girl trying to break out of an insane asylum?
The story is about Baby Doll a young woman who accidentally shoots her sister trying to save her from their step-father. Baby Doll is taken to the asylum where she is scheduled to have a lobotomy in five days. Then we get a series of flashes showing her time in the institution all the way to the point where she has a needle about to be stuck through her eye and into her brain. Then suddenly again she is in a burlesque show with other girls and she has to perform dances. When she does the dances the movie turns into THE MUTANT CHRONICLES. Does any of this sound like the movie you wanted to see? Doesn't this sound a little too much like dream within a dream INCEPTION?
The biggest problem I have with this film (besides it being not about fighting robots and monsters and crap) is I never once felt an emotional connection with any of the characters. Baby Doll befriends four other girls in the burlesque world who help her try to escape. Its hard to feel for characters that you aren't really sure are real. You don't meet the rest of the girls until she is in the burlesque world and they could be just her imagination like the world itself. When the girls start getting killed I am not sure if someone is really dying or not. Its also kind of hard to follow the movie because you aren't quite sure if the film is flipping from asylum world to burlesque world because the two are too similar at times.
Originally when I saw the first footage of SUCKER PUNCH I thought we were going to see something similar to MUTANT CHRONICLES where any kind of monster or technology could exist in a fantasy world that is real in the context of the film. But the more trailers I saw the more I realized that all the fantastical elements of SUCKER PUNCH were only in the character's imagination. That means nothing is really happening and there is no real danger in the action scenes. The movie tries to make us care but it is impossible when you know that the badass dangerous fantasy action is nothing more than a fantasy. Where is the danger? Its like playing the hardest level of KILLZONE on the easiest difficulty setting. Yeah, you kind of look like a total badass kicking alien butt, but your friends aren't impressed because they know that the easy setting is why you won.
I guess for a positive I really liked most of the music and how it was used in the film. SUCKER PUNCH is one big expensive music video. I did however get that "I'm watching MOULON ROUGE" feeling which is never good. Even though the movie takes place in the 1940's (I think) the music is all modern from the last thirty years.
It breaks my heart to not like this film. Zach Snyder makes films that expand the boundaries of what can be put to film. He makes the unfilmable filmable. Watch WATCHMEN. That story was said to be impossible to be put to film and still be good but he did it. Its a perfect film. SUCKER PUNCH is visually inspiring and huge in imagination. It just never comes together well. It doesn't have the impact that it tries to deliver. I don't understand why he didn't just make a fantastical live action badass anime style R-rated movie about fighting monsters with robot heads and other cool nerd-o stuff. That is something we haven't seen before. Instead this movie borrows too much in the twist department of BRAZIL, REPO MEN and JACOB'S LADDER. There isn't anything new here when there should be.