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    March 26, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: SUCKER PUNCH

    SUCKER PUNCH (PG13)

    Genre: Action/Fantasy
    Release Date: 24 March 2011
    Running Time: 110 minutes
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
    Director: Zack Snyder
    Screenplay: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya
    Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Oscar Isaac

    Plot: Set in the 1950s, "Sucker Punch" tells the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning), who is trying to hide from the pain caused by her evil stepfather and lobotomy. She ends up in mental institution in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she starts to imagine an alternate reality. She plans to escape from that imaginary world but to do that, she needs to steal five objects before she is captured by an unknown adversary. She has five days to escape before being lobotomised. To cope with the situation, she enters the hyper-real world of her imagination, and the lines between reality and dream begin to blur. She is joined with friends who are inmates from the institution. Lessons learned in the said fantasy world could help the girls escape their real-world fate.

    Review: About a year ago, the teaser trailer would have been a magnificent introduction to Zack Snyder's first original penning that is not from any known source materials. It comes with a high hope, expectations and anticipation as well. Snyder describes this project as a cross-over between Alice in Wonderland and machine gun, allowing us to see how hot chicks will kick some ass around. We know how Snyder would work on this film by infusing the acute visionary and stylish slow-motion cap action, considering that we are familiar with his works like '300' and 'The watchmen.' However, does this Sucker Punch worths a wait for this long and the anticipation at this level?


    In 1950s, Babydoll (Emily Browning) and her little sister received a devastating fate that their mother has passed away on one stormy night. Her evil stepfather tried to gain control of the family wealth but only to discover that his step-daughters will inherits the fortune. Unsatisfied, he tried to force himself into them and attempts to take 'advantage' upon them. The little sister died but the step-father accuses Babydoll of the murder, sending her away to mental institution in Brattleboro, Vermont. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, blurring the lines between what's real and what is imaginary. Although she has been locked away, Babydoll 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 from 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 to sentinel robots, all the way to gain their freedom. But with the help of The Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their journey—if they succeed—will set them "free."


    Back to my question earlier, Sucker Punch does not worth any of those anticipation and expectation you have put on when you first watch the teaser trailer. However, things get clouded badly after those countdown clock inching closer into today as after the clouds of smoke settle, it becomes clear that this Zack Snyder's film is not another movie like '300' or 'The Watchmen'. Rather, it hits you with plenty of questions that nobody bothers even to have a look on. Similarly, Sucker Punch tries so hard to remain relevant while it is understandable that the plot is increasingly metaphorical, fantasy and bad-ass at the same time. It becomes no-brainer because it is clear that these do not work out, confusing, cheesy and blurring the line between the reality and fantasy into a debatable subject.

    If you studied the film carefully (after you are watching it of course), the movie is well split into three structural movies on it distinction. Watching Sucker Punch is like watching three different movies with the same casts but different motives. First, about a girl fighting for her survival before she is lobotomized. Secondly, a musical movie about strippers in 'Burlesque' style and thirdly; the fantasy of killing orcs, dragon and sentinel robots. If you think that these three elements are not well-suited to each other, than you are right to say so. This supposedly high concept movie is pretty obnoxious and defying the law of film-making. The first layer highlights how Babydoll tried to escape, by using the second layer to manipulate the characters by labeling the villains as the club managements and using her dance skills to fantasize the third level acts.

    'Inception' you ask? Not even half-as-good-as the Christopher Nolan's mind bending film and it ends up that the whole movie plot is pretty pointless and abysmal. Even so, it still feels like watching another version of 'Inception' been made by another director and for that is not a compliment at all. To top up the much of the disappointment I have on this movie, it is worth to point out that Zack Snyder has misused the theme of female-empowerment by turning this pointless plot into an fairy tale that masks nothing but to serve as a massive fantasy that eventually comes into a rubble of discontentment.


    As a writer, Snyder fails to impress with a solid and realistic story to go to. It lost some direction but it is too formulaic on the other end. As a director, he is still remarkably sharp in the context of visualization of artistic but unable to bring the character into order. Emily Browning's acting has been a wooden one and every time she goes into a state of dreaming and fantasizing, her character get a bit awkward. The other castings are also one-note, with the exception of Oscar Isaac's Blue - his character seems more dimensional and worths to see how bad-ass he is too. I guess the only good thing about this movie is that it has a magnificent remark if we look on the visual effects alone. Slow-motion and stylish action are some of well-treasured trademark from the director and the fact that this movie is well enrich by its outstanding soundtrack could be the only thing I liked about Sucker Punch.

    Sucker Punch is a painful movie to go down the throat because of its awkward and unnecessary plot intertwining with three unrelated story layers. It tries so hard to impress with its fantasy action and intellectual theme but only to fail harder with all these non-senses. It is no-brainer movie and only comes to satisfy the surreal fantasy of having hot chicks kicking some ass. I hope Zack Snyder will be better prepared as the clock for his Superman reboot comes even closer now.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 2.0
    Casts: 3.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 11.6
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