Sucker Punch (2011)

Posted in Reviews by - April 21, 2016
Sucker Punch (2011)

Fresh from the visually ravishing, spandex-heavy adrenaline rush of comic book based hits 300 and Watchmen┬ácomes Zack Snyder’s first original thought-piece. The movie – a schizophrenic action film about a group of young women in a mental asylum who imagine themselves as dancers at a twenties-style nightclub as part of a weird therapeutic escapist fantasy – was universally panned by critics. Snyder’s story is a garbled mess and his characters are paper-thin, but the film’s downright craziness kind of works in its favour. Snyder’s great imagination shines during the film’s four key action sequences, all of which centre around increasingly bizarre illusions. The main protagonist, Babydoll (Browning), is sent to the madhouse after being set up by her stepdad for the death of her young sister. She reasserts her power over victimhood by conjuring up a hallucinogenic team-building fantasy involving her fellow patients in a CGI landscape of war and conflict. She dons a sword and pistols to take down giant Samurai before assembling her crew of female warriors to storm the trenches in a vision of the Second World War. The team then fight with violent robots on a runaway train and defeat a fire-breathing dragon. These scenes, played-out over industrial remixes of great rock songs, show Snyder in his element, channeling his most extreme comic book fantasies. But the film becomes problematic once settling into its skewed reality – and any attempt at depicting a feminist power struggle is undermined by having the core female cast conduct all of their dialogue in stockings and corsets.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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