film review: Sucker Punch (2011)

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Sucker Punch posterYou remember when I said the trailer for Sucker Punch had everything but the kitchen sink in it? Yeah. Turns out the kitchen sink was sense.

This was not as phenomenal a mess as The Spirit but it did have a few extra touches of outlandishness that only Zack Snyder is brave enough to throw at us. I’ll talk about them later.

You might be assuming now that like many other critics, I hated Sucker Punch. I didn’t hate Sucker Punch. I actually thought it was a bit of a laugh. I think that’s partly because I had the good fortune of seeing the Rotten Tomatoes score before hand. I had my suspicions about the trailer and they were fairly confirmed by the flood of reviews that came out after the press screenings around the world. Let’s be clear, I thought it was a great trailer and I was looking forward to it… but at the same time I thought it was promising a lot. I just didn’t really quite believe that he could pull off everything in the trailer and still manage to run a consistent and engaging narrative. And he didn’t. So… not entirely a surprise…

First up, let’s talk about how it looks. It looks great. I think it’ll probably look better on BD/DVD – I think there may have been something wrong with the projector/print at the viewing I saw it at – but the effects still looked class. Also I thought the action sequences were good! I know some people have said they were a bit samey and a bit too computer gameish. I didn’t think so. Well, I don’t play computer games so it’s no odds to me if it was – I thought they looked cool and I also thought the girls were convincingly ass-kicking when required. Which was very little for some of them but no worries.

There wasn’t really much else to the film. It was so all over the place that you couldn’t care about following what was going on. Not that it was difficult but you had to wonder if there was meant to be some regard for anything more than the action scenes. There was some half assed attempt to string it all together with some voice over but I stopped paying attention to that after a while because it sounded like gibberish. I’d appreciate a transcript of it if anyone has it though. I wouldn’t mind reading through and trying to work out if the VO was actually trying to make a point. You’d never know, maybe it was as important as it was trying to sound… I kinda liked the idea of the VO being psychobabble, the film was about a mental institution so it was appropriate. In fact…

… There’s part of me that wants to believe that Sucker Punch was all a big subversive comment on institutionalisation or something*, I really really almost do. In fact I think I do, since I didn’t hate it… but there’s another part of me that thinks “Nah, that’s unlikely”. I don’t listen to that part though. I’ve only let it come out to give balance to this paragraph.

Unfortunately, even if you believe the subversive commentary thing, it’s still not brilliant. It may be fun but it manages to throw in some real clunkers of ideas. I mean that fifth thing that they mention in the trailer… Really? What? And please, please, Mr. Snyder, spare us from your musical counterpoint. Seriously man. It was jarring enough in Watchmen but your choices here were embarrassing. They were great songs, but honestly, you cannot play Where is My Mind when someone is being taken into an asylum. You just can’t do it, it’s ridiculous. If it was a once off I could almost accept it but then you hit us with Army of Me… I say Oi! Snyder! No!

I haven’t really said much about what was good about it. Basically. Like I said, I thought it was fun. Aside from the action sequences; I liked that guy that Scott Glenn was playing. He had some great lines, I loved that quote “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”, it was used so randomly, hilarious – where does it come from anyway? And the non action sequences were fine too, they swept the plot along fast enough.

The only thing that really annoyed me about it, bit of a spoiler here, is that [I still can’t believe he never showed us Emily Browning dancing at all but oh well, I won’t get too caught up about it. It was annoying though. Come on.]. (highlight between the square brackets to read text)

Anyway, I’m gonna leave it there for now. If you want to give out to me for liking it, fire away. As always, I welcome the chance to talk about the film in the comments section.


* = maybe if I’d paid attention to the VO I would know what that something was.

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