I’ve never intentionally walked out of a movie at the theater. And I didn’t here for Sucker Punch, either. But there was a moment after an hour of constant annoyance and tedious action scenes, right after the girls had just collected their second of four items to set them free, where one of the characters says “Yes! Halfway there!”. That’s when I started seriously contemplating in my head whether or not I should just leave. I wasn’t enjoying myself. I thought after a few minutes that I’ve already spent enough time here, that maybe I should just see it through to the end. Maybe the ending will be redeeming or something?
I probably should have just left the theater in retrospect.
Sucker Punch is basically one giant mess of a movie. The narrative is so painfully flawed and pointless that it started to become frustrating to watch. I’ve read some of the few positive reviews and comments about this film, and they all pretty much just say to turn your brain off and you’ll be fine. It’s just a dumb action movie, just sit back and enjoy the ride! My brain couldn’t have been more off. I was basically in a coma watching Sucker Punch, a coma it put me in. Even with zero brain function, this movie was too dumb for me. I felt like Alex in Clockwork Orange, sitting there with my eyes forced open, watching a bit of the old ultra-violence, and getting sick to my stomach.
Not that I was offended by anything in Sucker Punch, not by a long shot. Well, the only offensive thing about it is the 110 minute running time. But basically the movie is about a girl who gets sent to a mental hospital, then for some abnormal reason she imagines it as a brothel, to cope with being there. Why a brothel? No, I’m asking, could someone tell me why she would imagine she’s in a brothel? Then in that brothel fantasy, she she gets an escape plan from Scott Glenn doing a crappy David Carradine impression, where she must acquire four items to escape; a map, some fire, a knife, and a key. And there’s nothing subtle about that plot point either, the dialogue literally just says “You’ll need to find four things; a map, fire, a knife, and a key, good luck”. Finding items, by the way? It’s like I’m watching a video game. They even say they need the knife to get past guards at the checkpoints. Checkpoints, really? Honestly did I just watch a 2 hour video game trailer?
Anyway, the way they acquire the items is by Emily Browning’s character doing a hypnotic striptease dance that mesmerizes all the male onlookers, that she can only do, for some reason, by imagining a fantasy action sequence (so stupid), and then her scantily-clad friends steal the items while the guys are drooling over her sexy dance (which they never actually show). Prostitutes stealing from people during a striptease… Score one for Women’s Lib, am I right?!?!
The action sequences are just mindless drivel. Cool effects, sure, in some cases, but they are so needless to the actual story that I started getting angry that I had to watch them. It’s just, arrrgg, it’s such a stupid plot device. Without the action scenes it would still be the same story, they don’t actually effect the characters in any way, they are only used as colorful filler. Because watching her dance while her friend steals a lighter from a dude’s pocket is boring. But that’s what the movie is, a really boring story with needless action scenes crammed down everyone’s throats unwillingly. I know a big selling point to a lot of people is “whoa, she’s fighting zombie nazis made of steam, then takes down a dragon with a WWII bomber, WOO-HOO!”, But I’m having trouble putting to words just how unnecessary anything “cool” about this movie actually is.
Well, imagine if in E.T., in order for Elliott to sneak in the alien, he had to get Drew Barrymore to tell their mom a long story to distract her. Which was visualized in the movie by Elliott and E.T crawling through a subterranean tunnel filled with vampires with lasers for eyes which they kill with blowtorches shooting lava. But in actuality all that’s happening is he’s sneaking in the backdoor while Drew Barrymore is distracting the Mom with a dumb story. That’s essentially the pointless kind of storytelling that’s taking place in Sucker Punch on a regular basis. And it wastes everyone’s time.
Remember Pan’s Labyrinth, that movie from a few years ago about the imaginative girl who needs to fantasize about mystical worlds in order to escape the traumatic real world she was living in? But it was done with class, imagination, and real cinematic skill, remember? Sucker Punch is basically the SyFy Channel made-for-TV movie version of Pan’s Labyrinth. Attack of the 30 Foot Samurai, hey, that even sounds like a SyFy Channel movie title!
Also the action fantasy sequences stopped making any sense after a while, making me even angrier at their existence. At first they at least slightly had a theme with the item they were stealing. To get a map she fantasized about taking it from a nazi cartographer, and to get fire (a lighter) she had to kill a fire-breathing dragon. But to get a knife, she had to disarm a bomb on a speeding futuristic train filled with robots? What does that have to do with a knife? Also, I wasn’t really sure why a 20 year old girl was having fantasies about fighting giant samurai, zombies, dragons, and robots, with ninja weaponry, while wearing skimpy school girl outfits? It’s like she got Inceptioned by a Red Bull-hyper teenage boy.
All the characters also have dumb names: Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie (but she has BLACK hair, hahaha COOL, RIGHT? … … …), etc. The acting is all terrible and the dialogue is even worse. Carla Gugino has a crappy Russian accent for some reason. This whole movie was oozing with uncoolness. Which is disturbing because I’ve never seen a movie try so hard to be cool. And will people stop casting Jamie Chung in things? She might be one of the lamest people on the planet.
I don’t even want to go into the soundtrack it was so terrible. Actually, the music choices were up my alley (Pixies, Beatles, Iggy Pop, Jefferson Airplane) but they were ALL done as AWFUL cover versions, just the worst covers you’ve ever heard of these songs. I take back my statement about not being offended. That soundtrack offended me.
Basically, the argument that this movie is only good for watching hot chicks kicking butt, and that’s why it’s good, because that’s all it is; that argument is just stupid. Wanna see hot chicks? Go on the internet. Wanna see butts getting kicked? Watch a thousand other options of better action movies. Want to watch both of those things together? I don’t know, just watch Kill Bill.
So in summary, I thought this was the greatest movie ever created, and Orson Welles would be impressed by the story telling, and Stanley Kubrick would have fought for his career at the chance to work with this amazing script. It’s too bad that this came out in March, because the Academy Awards tend to forget movies released around this time, I think it could have swept if it came out during awards season. I look forward to one day telling my children that I saw Sucker Punch, in theaters, on opening weekend nonetheless, just to watch their eyes widen and their jaws drop in amazement.
I love this movie.
2 out of 10