Sucker Punch Review, by David

21 Apr

When I worked at the Alamo Drafthouse, I had a friend who was on his way to becoming a director.  He had a film reel that he carried around on his iPhone, just in case he ran into someone and needed to show them what an amazing director he was.  The film reel did not contain a single, sequential, movie, but instead was a selection of scenes from various short films that showcased the skills my friend honed oh-so-intently over the years.  He could flash his iPhone resume to some industry big shot and they would think, “Wow.  I would be interested in seeing some of those films.  This guy has talent.”  But no one would watch them and think, “What a great story!  The way those scenes were tied together made so much sense.”

Sucker Punch felt like Zack Snyder’s film reel.  Like Warner Brothers had him send his film resume over and they decided to just release that as a movie.

Now, before we go any further, let me say that I think Zack Snyder is a wonderful director.  I love Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen, and I am still excited about seeing Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.  His visuals are amazing.  He knows how to take a story and make it look beautiful.  What we learned with Sucker Punch, is that he does not know how to come up with an interesting story himself.  Please, Zack, let the writers write, the painters paint, and you can find the beauty in all of it and show it to us.

So, what’s wrong with this movie?  Wasn’t I super pumped about this a couple of months …nay, a couple of weeks ago?  Doesn’t this movie have everything that a good action movie needs?  Aren’t there guns, dragons, beautiful girls, zombie World-War One Germans, skimpy outfits, giant robots, and samurai warriors?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Isn’t it crazy exciting all the way through?  NO.  That is the problem.  How do you make a movie with guns, dragons, beautiful girls, zombie World War One Germans, skimpy outfits, giant robots, and samurai warriors boring?

Terrible writing.  And I wasn’t expecting much.  Watch the trailer for this movie and you will expect scantily clad young women shooting things with large guns.  That doesn’t usually imply, or even require, excellent dialogue or a story that completely makes sense.  So, I wasn’t expecting those things.  But I also wasn’t expecting most of the dialogue and narration to sound like a freshmen philosophy student wrote it.  And I certainly did not anticipate losing interest in what was happening.

The story here is about a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) who is committed to a mental institution by her step-father.  He bribes the head nurse to have her lobotomized at the end of the week.  Babydoll has a hallucination where she meets Scott Glenn playing David Carradine (or at least that’s how it comes off), directing her to strange worlds where she steals items which, collectively, will allow her and the other girls to escape.

We then watch the girls fight Zombie German Soldiers.  Rewind and repeat, substituting Dragons or Robots for the Zombies, and you have the rest of the movie.  There’s also a huge plot element in which the hospital is also a brothel, but that is really the most confusing thing in the whole movie to me.  People are dressed for the brothel while they are in the hospital.  Other people die in the brothel, and just seem to vanish without explanation in the real world.  The rest of the plot/characters/dialogue were all so poorly constructed and put together, that I would have trouble continuing to describe them in much detail without confusing and boring myself all over again.

I have been waiting for Sucker Punch for months now, happily eating up each tiny bit of information leaked out through the internet.  I was thrilled with the trailer, the posters, the screen captures, all of it.  But that was before I was subjected to any dialogue or story.  My simple recommendation is this:  If you have not seen Sucker Punch, wait for the DVD to come out, rent it, and then play it muted during a party with some cool music to accompany it.

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