“Sucker Punch” Does Not Suck

Zack Snyder, the man who led 300, Watchmen and the remake of Dawn of the Dead to big-screen success, has done it again, this time through melding lobotomy, burlesque and guns-and-sword combats with Sucker Punch. With the psychological darkness of Shutter Island, the hardcore fight scenes of Kill Bill, the girl-power feel of Charlie’s Angels, and a one-of-a-kind style, Sucker Punch is a delightful addition to Snyder’s cinematic résumé.

Sucker Punch depicts the epic adventures occurring inside the delusional mind of Babydoll (Emily Browning), a 20-year-old woman who has just lost her mother, has accidentally killed her sister and has been presumed insane. As she was about to undergo a lobotomy, her mind drifts away from reality, into an exploitive and inescapable burlesque lounge owned by Blue, a mustached maniac who manages the place like a dictator. Babydoll then meets the other “dancers” – the protective Sweet Pea, the daring Rocket, the dark-haired Blondie and the cunning Amber – and together, they devise a crucial plan to obtain their freedom.

Of course, this epic string of events, with all the Nazi zombies and red-eyed samurais and crystal bodied robots and drama and death, occurs only in Babydoll’s head. Bummer, right?

Critics have already minced and diced this movie up. They say that it is dull, pointless and nonsensical. They dissed how the women were portrayed in the story, how the visuals drained the essence of the plot, how badly the actresses played their roles. Well, critics can sometimes (or often) mess things up through convincing the readers that the movies they review are really horrible (in this case, how Sucker Punch sucks). Sucker Punch does not suck that hard. Heck, it does not even suck at all!

The movie’s visuals just nails it really hard. It is so captivating and hardcore that it is almost indescribable. The intensity is just so hypnotic that it makes you want to stick your eyes nearer to the screen while chanting “Wow” blank-mindedly. The effects are just so impressively fictional that it almost seems real, and thus brings you into a mind-blowing rollercoaster ride with an awesomeness you can actually feel.

"After this battle, remind me to try out for the NBA."

The editing is also unique, strategic and intricately-done. Sucker Punch featured some camera angles and techniques that I have never ever seen before. The transition from Babydoll’s imaginary dance performances to her wildly sci-fi daydreams is also a wise decision, since doing so eliminated the production crew’s need to hire a choreographer and the actresses burden of learning the dance. Yet, it works since Babydoll’s daydreams serve as a symbolic metaphor of her performances. I just wish they edited the movie more audaciously, for example shifting the two worlds more often, as that could have made this more worthy of an Oscar for editing (if it still isn’t now).

On the downside, Sucker Punch employs the “a dream within a dream within a dream” cliché in the plot, making the story not as precious as its visuals. This makes the ending a tad predictable, as despite many obscurities and enigmas, the movie just gives away some information. The relationships between the characters are also portrayed awkwardly, as the five dancers do not really connect. Maybe, the problem lies within the acting, as their portrayals are not as intense as the visuals. Snyder may have forgotten some of his “magic salt” while cooking this movie. Too bad, I only have iodized.

Being a total eye-candy, though not a magnificent masterpiece, Sucker Punch does not disappoint. Sure the story and the acting are not Oscar-level, but our enjoyment mainly focuses on what we see while inside the theater, and not on what we ultimately analyze after getting home. Ultimately, it is relieving to say that Sucker Punch does not live up to its name.

What do you think guys? Did Sucker Punch impress you or did it just suck? Leave a comment below.

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