Movie: Sucker Punch
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Sucker Punch is ambitious; Possibly one of the most ambitious films I have ever seen to date in my history of movie watching. There's a ton of references, both sub contextual and intentional, that will make the average viewer giddy or annoyed, depending on their stand towards various pop culture genres like Anime, Comic Book stories, Video Games and Movies. The film clearly is an amalgamation of these three, and it happens to be Zack Snyder's latest offering on the Hollywood plate; An original one at that that takes his style of film making and meshes it with a bizarre storyline that can be perceived as both senseless fun or visual artistry. Set in a 1950's styled era, the movie focuses on a young girl named Baby Doll, who is sent to a mental institution by her cruel and manipulative stepfather. Losing everyone she loved to tragedy, Baby is forced to rely on her imagination, which carries her away from the pain and into a world she can manipulate and move freely in. After befriending some fellow inmates and meeting an old man inside her dream who has shown her a way to get out, Baby and her new friends must channel their minds and act within the boundaries of reality and fantasy in order to set themselves free.
Honest to goodness truth, I really couldn't make heads or tails about WHAT THE HECK was happening in this movie besides the initial plot given off by the trailer and what I could tell from trying to construct a coherent sequence of events through the movie's hour and a half long run. I won't be spoiling any details, but let's just say that my experience with anime, games, comics and movies that defy gravity and comprehension served me well, and it should do the same for you if you ever decide to step inside a theater and watch this flick. Heck, the first time I laid eyes on the second trailer of Sucker Punch, my brain was dissecting and trying to piece together everything I caught in that 2:30 plus clip - Giant Samurai Machine Gun-Wielding Robots, Nazi Steam Zombies, Mecha Suits, and Giant Fire Breathing Dragons!? Yep, we finally had a movie that was taking cues from Japanese Pop Culture and spearheading what could be the next best thing to a live action American "anime-style" movie you're gonna get! It combines Zack Snyder's penchant for slow-mo and fast paced action with some serious and crazy storytelling that definitely going to boggle the senses. It's not that hard to accept if you can let go of what your brain tells you to be fact or fiction in the real world. After all, THAT IS the entire point of this movie, to let go and imagine the impossible being made possible, haha.
For the talents aboard, I will say that despite my unfamiliarity with most of them, Emily Browning has outdone herself as Baby Doll, and she's good as a female lead when push comes to shove. Also, you've got a talented cast of supporting characters in the form of Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jamie Chung, playing Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie, and Amber respectively. These girls define and surpass the expectations of a femme fatale team, so don't sweat yourself over if you find their sex appeal and fan service too much... it's intended to be that way anyway. The other stars did well to serve up the ante expected of a film of this caliber, but special nods go out to Scott Glenn and Carla Gugino for their parts as The Wiseman and Madam Gorski. They played their parts well, and served up some interesting moments and quotes in the movie. Snyder chose a great roll of actors here, and despite the lack of big A-List names, this will probably get people talking about the cast for some time.
For being one of the most eagerly awaited summer titles of 2011, Sucker Punch lives well enough to tackle the hype and take things beyond comprehension and into pure visual imagination. I can't say it's nothing I haven't seen or experienced before given the obvious influences this film took after and from, but I will say that it was entertaining and surprisingly unique for a Zack Snyder film (especially now that he's preparing to tackle another comic book movie that involves a certain Man of Steel). The concept, flare, action, and even the soundtrack will keep people fascinated enough to keep talking about the movie way until the credits roll down and people have had their fill. Comparisons to The Matrix and Live Action Japanese films will be unavoidable, but there's no doubt that if you're a sucker for those and for senseless reality-escaping violence, this may be the movie you need to wind you down.
Rating - 4/5