March 27, 2011
Review - " Sucker Punch " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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OK, if you're a 15-year-old boy (or a 30-year-old boy, or a girl with a '50s pin-up jones), there's no denying that the girl-gang
casting of "Sucker Punch" - pouty, pig-tailed Browning; the regal, Nicole Kidman-esque Abbie Cornish; punky Jena Malone;
plucky Vanessa Hudgens and the exotic Jamie Chung - has a certain allure. But even with the strip-club fantasy costumes
and the drop-downs into video game-like alternate universes, the eye candy quickly gets stale.
Baby Doll is sent to this gothic hilltop asylum, where she shares a ward with the aforementioned inmates, named Sweet Pea,
Rocket, Blondie and Amber. Oscar Isaac is Blue, Lennox House's sinister overseer. One way to keep track of which reality
Baby Doll finds herself in is to watch Isaac's face: if he's got a thin mustache going and he's in shark skin, it's the nightclub /
bordello reality. If he's clean-shaven, in a white caretaker's jacket, it's the "normal" world.
Gugino (Snyder's muse: she was in "Watchmen," too) likewise changes appearance. She's Lennox House's empathic
psychiatrist, counseling her patients in a comfy office on one plane of reality; she's a madam-cum-Method acting coach,
leading her leggy troupers through various elaborate scenarios on another.
"Sucker Punch," in case this hasn't been made clear, toggles back and forth, to and fro, between alternating mindscapes, as
Baby Doll and her team embark on an epic scavenger hunt. They need to find a map, then fire, then a knife and then a key.
"The fifth thing is a mystery," intones Scott Glenn, playing a kind of Zen master who seems to have boned up on his
riddle-me-this delivery by watching episodes of David Carradine's "Kung Fu."
"Begin your journey," he tells Baby Doll. "It will set you free."
Exit the theater. It will set you freer. Or better yet - don't go in in the first place.
Directed by Zack Snyder.
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa
Hudgens, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino and
I really wanted to like this film - in fact I EXPECTED to like
it. I am a fan of almost the entire cast. I entered the
theater with high hopes and eager expectations.
Unfirtunately "Sucker Punch," a barrage of green-screen
effects and comic book portentousness from "300" and
"Watchmen" director Zack Snyder, is hands-down the
most nightmarishly awful film of the year.
A field day for schoolgirl fetishists and fanboys with a
penchant for steampunk (but with Snyder's leaden
dialogue, you've got to call it steamclunk), this staggering
failure borrows from Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge,"
Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "The City of Lost
Children," Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" and a variety of
psych-ward melodramas from "The Snake Pit" to "The
If that sounds like it'd make for a cool mash-up, maybe it
would have - if Snyder had anything on his mind apart
from exploding zeppelins, fire-breathing dragons,
Japanese samurai fights and Carla Gugino doing a
campy Polish accent. One of the creepier aspects of the
plot - if you can call this ricocheting pastiche a plot - is
that Baby Doll (Emily Browning), the sorry lass who's
been committed to Lennox House for the Mentally Insane
by her sleazeball stepdad, is set to have a frontal
Talk about apt metaphors: It's nothing but brain-dead
delirium on screen.