Reviews

Sucker Punch

3

Nobody puts Baby in the coroner’s...

He’s spun gold from the works of George Romero, Frank Miller and Alan Moore, but it’s finally time for Zack Snyder to take off the training wheels.

Sucker Punch is Snyder's first original screenplay, and though it confirms he’s among the most exciting action directors working today, it also reveals that storytelling isn’t his strong suit.

Back-story is confined to the opening credits, where we’re introduced to Baby Doll (Browning) as her abusive father locks her in the nuthouse, lobotomy pending.

There, she meets fellow patients Blondie (Hudgens), Amber (Chung) and sisters Sweet Pea (Cornish) and Rocket (Malone), who teach Baby to retreat into increasingly absurd fantasies to escape the grim fate awaiting her.

That size-zero narrative is excuse enough for Snyder to drift away into dream sequences that’d dampen a teenage boy’s duvet. Sucker Punch features gun-toting samurais, steam-powered Nazis and fire-breathing dragons, but shows little interest in the hows or whys, only the wows.

It’s no secret that Snyder reverse-engineered the movie from the money shots backwards but the sense of coherence between rainbow reveries is negligible and, when you’re several delusions removed from reality, it’s hard to figure out what, if anything, is at stake. Style has substance in a chokehold.

Frankly, it pays to be like Baby. Block out the bad stuff and Sucker Punch is quite the trip – Snyder’s jaw-dropping flights of fancy are packed full of his trademark slow/fast/slow-mo bullet ballet.

But try as you might, you can’t silence the nagging voices that bring you crashing down to earth; the cringeworthy dialogue (“Don’t write a cheque with your mouth you can’t cash with your ass!”); the fact that girls are empowering themselves while conveniently wearing push-up bras.

As Browning and friends flit about their ‘brothel’ in skimpy burlesque costumes between orgiastic videogame fight scenes, you’ll wonder: just whose fantasy is this?

Verdict:

Little more than a sizzle-reel for Zack Snyder’s wettest dreams, what it lacks in consistency it makes up for in chutzpah. Just imagine if it had a decent story...

Film Details

User Reviews

    • jaferris

      Mar 25th 2011, 19:29

      looking forward to watching this , trailer looks awesome , shame about the story not being consistant but with a female georgeous cast i think can let that slide :)

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    • fortunesfool

      Mar 25th 2011, 20:50

      Another great Total Film review - 'Its pretty awful, Three stars'

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    • writerdave87

      Mar 25th 2011, 22:04

      It's Three Stars but I bet in six months you'll be saying it's either a) Brilliant or b) s**t in a feature... lol.

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    • patches89

      Mar 26th 2011, 1:31

      dont let reviewers put you off judge the film yourself

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    • writerdave87

      Mar 26th 2011, 13:51

      With a 20% rotten tomatoes rating I don't think it's going to turn out to be a Citizen Kane...

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    • BruceShark

      Mar 26th 2011, 17:32

      How did I guess it'd be three stars. Is that so you can reserve judgement for later on when you see how well it does. Guess we'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray when you'll either give it a two or four star rating to really know what you think.

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    • xpialidoceous

      Mar 27th 2011, 12:11

      well, saw it yesterday and here's my short opinion: ‎'Suckerpunch' suckers you into a dream within a dream within a dream. But apart from a handful of simple yet gut-wrenching moments (the opening sequence) you're pretty much left watching someone else have fun with a videogame. Snyder uses his exceptional visual flair to go above and beyond but uses a CGI overdose that adds NOTHING and makes you feel even less. 4/5 for visual mastery - 2/5 for human emotion and depth. so if you count those together, that makes 6/10 ... or 3 out of five stars ;) Total Film is right :)

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    • Legacy3D

      Mar 28th 2011, 5:59

      4

      “You will be unprepared” is the tagline for Zack Snyder’s 5th feature movie following successes with 300 and watchmen. The plot line follows baby doll (Emily browning) who is abused by her step father, after attacking him and going insane in her step father opinion due to her mother death, she is taken to a Vermont mentally Institution. Here she is held by Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) the director of the institution. While in the institution she becomes friends with other girls Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) together there form a plan to escape from the institution. This takes them to different worlds including World War 2 and a city of the future. During production the movie had several changes such as being cut in order to obtain a PG-13 rating rather than most of Snyder’s other movies which were rated R, also despite plans for a 3D version they were dismissed. However these changes don’t effect the production. As 3D is over used in films at the moment and this does not need it. This movie does lack some sense to it. But the worlds which Snyder’s has created look great, the characters you care about and can relate to them in some ways. It also has a great movie soundtrack which is unusual. Despite small problems, overall sucker punch is maybe Snyder’s best film to date if not a close second behind 300.

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    • writerdave87

      Mar 28th 2011, 15:19

      Nice synopsis.

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    • BruceShark

      Mar 30th 2011, 18:43

      I will be honest, this film surprised me. Going in not expecting much i must admit to being surprised to how quite good it is. It's by no means perfect. i still think Snyder has a massive, Style over Substance problem. He is a director who is clearly better at visuals then story telling and for the first hour the visual really do work and it all plays along nicely. Though after the hour you do kind of wish for something more in field of story and characterization. And he does need to watch that slow-mo button, just cause you can do it doesn't mean you have to use it every-time something cool happens. And quite alot of cool things to happen with the fight scenes. If you look deep there are probably more flaws in it then good things. But the honest truth is that for the time the film was running i wasn't bored. He does this kind of thing well. Sadly though Superman isn't this kind of thing, so I'm still unsure of his take on it.

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    • aliceISalive

      Apr 1st 2011, 20:41

      5

      the.best.film.ever. people who dislike it need a freaking lobotomy. it wasn't sophisticated or anything, but much more mature than you'll think. I was weeping at the end.

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    • jolopity

      Apr 2nd 2011, 0:15

      I'm despairing :/ I've just got home from the cinema, and people, by all means watch this film! But lower your expectations by 80% to avoid utter disappointment. Shame.

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    • TheDMeister

      Apr 3rd 2011, 1:07

      3

      Some outstanding visuals and excellent score mask a story that doesn't work at all because the fantasy sequences seem pointless and irrelevant while in the real world setting the characters are just not developed enough to make you care. It's not a complete waste because as visuals go they are truly spectacular and Zack Snyder triumphs in what he does best. It's entertaining enough but Sucker Punch is sadly unsatisfying as a finished product.

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    • Fitness76

      Apr 4th 2011, 20:20

      This film looks rubbish, there's no story line to it.

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    • Emibd

      Apr 4th 2011, 23:30

      5

      After seeing the comments on here, I felt moved to make an account simply to respond to some of the things I've seen written, and some comments I've read in other places too. I'm just an 18 year old girl who's been to see the film on a whim; I'm not a movie buff or someone important in the business, I just feel like expressing my view on what I think is a hugely misunderstood film. Please, to whoever reads this and hasn't seen the movie, DO NOT LISTEN TO THE 'CRITICS'. For some reason, I don't understand why, but some have entirely missed a massive part of the plot, therefore nullifying what they write. For example, I know that the review of the film in Empire magazine this month immediately falls down this hole, assuming something of the plot which is actually incorrect (see production notes of the film), thus skewing their entire interpretation of the film. I don't want to write a spoiler in here, as I can see that some people commenting haven't seen the film, but suffice to say that one of the major key points of the plot, the brothel, has been mis-interpreted by nearly every review I've read so far, and when it's not understood correctly, the entire film is confusing, overly complicated, and doesn't make much sense. But, when the brothel is understood as it actually is (nothing to do with Babydoll), and the actual events underneath it are discovered (see link below), this quickly becomes an unbelievably deep and multi-layered film. I know a lot of people weren't expecting much from Snyder in terms of plot, and the effects and visuals in this film are stunning, but the depth to which he's delved during the mental institute/brothel/fight scenes is amazing once understood. Please, please, please, those of you who aren't sure about seeing it, I implore you to go and do so, with a completely open mind, ready to think on your feet and not just sit there and be entertained. For those who have seen the film and dispute what I'm saying, take a look at this interpretation from someone, which I think is very close to what could be true: (SPOILERS) http://benwyatthumandisaster.tumblr.com/post/4270743989 If you're able to read that person's interpretation and continue to suggest that this film isn't "deep", then you and I simply don't agree - I think what Snyder has given us has the potential to keep the audience thinking for months after the initial viewing (I personally feel that once isn't enough to comprehend the depth, but that's just me). I'll probably be flamed for the length of this comment, or for being some 'fangirl', but I really hope people don't listen to all the rubbish being put out by critics, who, this time, dropped the ball and missed a key plot item.

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    • blahblah

      Apr 6th 2011, 16:57

      4

      for what it's worth i totally agree with emibd .I was amazed that so many people seemed to be unable or unwilling to see what the layers of the film actually meant.For the record i am the polar opposite of embid(young girl-oldish man)and have seen many hundreds of films and rarely come away from the multiplex thinking of anything other than a sneaky maccy d but Snyder does it for me nearly every time so cheers Zack and keep it up.

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    • MikeyRix

      Apr 6th 2011, 21:20

      4

      Enjoyed it more than I expected, I must say! Sure, some characters were underdeveloped and the plot fluctuated but there were some nice kinks and the kick at the end made me cry. Have to say. I never cry at films, but this one got me. And I'm not the target demographic for this film so nyeeehh. :P

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    • lordofthepies

      Apr 7th 2011, 20:28

      4

      I love it, but it is so going to annoy you if your male, to say any more would spoil it but yo will leave thinking you missed out something and a bit disappointed. Like going to see you the pussycatdolls live but get stuck behind a post you hear it, you see some of it, but the best bit is cut out by the post! But with a little disappointed aside, love it, music score is ace, might be best viewed after a couple pints and with a large popcorn. 3.5 from me (can not give it that so it got 4!!)

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    • aliceISalive

      Apr 18th 2011, 20:17

      Emibd, marry me. that link really you posted really showed me the film's extra awesomeness ^-^

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    • tsode

      May 5th 2011, 14:11

      5

      This review by Total Film is such gutter trash. "dampen a teenage boy’s duvet"? "Zack Snyder’s wettest dreams"? You forgot to mention that by the end, Sucker Punch is probably the least titillating or erotic film of the year due to what happens to the characters. But of course you couldn't reveal the ending. And besides, why let reality get in the way of a fun sentence or ten about male ejaculation? It's interesting when mere blog articles have far more insightful things to say about a film like this, than an actual film magazine. See this - http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/03/sucker-punch-part-1-the-story-that-no-one-is-talking-about ...apparently I'm not the only one fed up with the "masturbation" references? Srsly. I used to buy Total Film. But why buy it anymore, if this is your standard?

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    • OwlHenry

      Jul 5th 2011, 10:05

      At the point in the film where Baby Doll grabs the giant c**k and slits open the scrotum to remove the testicles i began to hate Zack Snyder as much as I hate J.J Abrams.Everything is so f*****g slow,if it played at normal speed it would only be an hour long.It made me realise that Man Of Steel will be complete c**p and that Zack Snyder is a closet homosexual and his movies are a cry for help.

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    • FBNHubbard

      Nov 25th 2011, 12:24

      Evan Rachel Wood isn't in this film.

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    • FBNHubbard

      Nov 25th 2011, 12:24

      Evan Rachel Wood isn't in this film.

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    • FBNHubbard

      Nov 25th 2011, 12:25

      4

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