Review: Sucker Punch




From ‘visionary’ director Zack Snyder, the mind behind the disappointing Dawn of The Dead remake, the godawful 300, and the surprisingly gratifying The Watchmen, comes his latest visual feast, Sucker Punch. Emily Browning stars as Baby Doll, a young girl who finds herself confined within the borders of a mental institution at the request of her beastly stepfather and has five days until the mysterious ‘High Roller’ (played by Jon Hamm) comes to lobotomize her. As a coping mechanism for her frightening reality, she constructs several different layers of fantasy and through these imaginations, she plans her escape. In her first delusion she is transported to feudal Japan where The Wise Man (played by Scott Glenn) advises her that breaking out is indeed possible but she will need to obtain five items in order to do so: a map, fire, a knife, a key, and something unknown that will require a great sacrifice. Baby Doll shares her scheme to a group of fellow inmates, who with nothing to lose agree to take part in the attempted escape. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, the girls fight giant samurai, a legion of zombie Nazi soldiers, and a fire-breathing dragon for their chance at freedom. As the Wise Man proclaims, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything’.

Sucker Punch certainly has a lot of things going against it; for one, dialogue written by Zack Snyder and a cast of actors who aren’t talented enough to overcome the film’s script deficiencies. But, amid the cheesy moments and its video game narrative, Sucker Punch takes us on a visually-dazzeling action-laden adventure that at least temporarily allows us to look past the film’s obvious shortcomings as we lose ourselves in its vivid imagination. Zack Snyder has learned from his dreaded errors on 300 and taken what worked in The Watchmen, and applied them here to craft a gorgeous looking piece of entertainment.

Just as those girls used their imaginations to escape their reality, we the audience sometimes go to the cinema to escape ours, and it’s films like Sucker Punch that offer this mindless escape. This is not necessarily a well made or enlightening film, and those expecting one are surely to be disappointed. It is, however, brainless eye candy that removes us from the everyday grind and transports us into an excessive world where everything is overdone; from the performances to the action sequences. While, we are only a mere spectator of these embellished video game scenarios, the stylish visuals and rocking soundtrack are more than enough to make Sucker Punch an ultimately satisfying movie-going experience.

[notification type=”star”]55/100 - Just as the girls used their imaginations to escape their reality, we the audience sometimes go to the cinema to escape ours, and it’s films like Sucker Punch that offer this mindless escape. [/notification]


About Author

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.

  • Willson Wong

    55/100?? WOW, that’s pretty high…at max I will give this movie a 30/100 (29/100 goes to the video game like CG, it felt like I was playing Black Ops cross over with Doom and bunch of other crap…1/100 goes to the plot) Is the story original?? Nope. (dream within a dream..oh c’mon) The writer SHOULD re-script the plot. No climax, no suspense, no acting, too damn predictable. What more can I say. But was it a worst movie of all time, I watched worst, but definitely not a theater movie. Should of went straight to DVD. I bet you even The Chaperon (by WWE superstar Triple H) would be more entertaining then this…lol (ok, I’m exaggerating, you get my point)

  • Vakeesh Velummylum

    After all that, why do I still want to see this? Something about graphic novels turned into film that is so appealing for me. Think I will wait for it to come online.

  • Paolo Miguel Kagaoan

    I’d call the performances underdone. When, SPOILER, the camera pans to Browning’s post-lobotomy face, the shock cut Snyder was looking for wasn’t effective since that was her face for the whole freaking movie. Although, I’ll be the tenor to the choir singing, ‘What the hell is Abbie Cornish doing in this movie?’

  • Christopher Misch

    No offense but those going to see Sucker Punch for any sort of plot are just in the wrong frame of mind. And I see the similarities to Inception that everyone is making, but I believe Pans Labyrinth to be a much more accurate comparison; not it terms of quality obviously but rather story.

  • Christopher Misch

    I’ll be be joining you in that choir, Paolo. Abbie Cornish is much better than a film like this.

  • Willson Wong

    None taken. =) But my question to you is, what attracts the average audience to go and watch Sucker Punch?? lol hot girls wearing mini skirt, anime style CG, fight scene and hopefully something sexual. Now, if I’m going to watch a film, not looking for any sort of plot, then what’s the point of paying $11?? really just watch hot girls wearing mini skirt, anime style CG, fight scene and hopefully something sexual?? (just saying..)
    It actually didn’t really cross my mind Inception will be even comparing to this film (even I have the blue ray at home, I still didn’t watch it yet haha), but Pans Labyrinth on the other hand is a better comparison then Inception (good choice)

    PS. even Pans Labyrinth have a better story then Sucker Punch.

  • Christopher Misch

    The reason of paying $11 to see Sucker Punch is to be dazzled by its visuals. There’s been much worse movies out this year; Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, I Am Number Four, just to name a couple. And if people have paid to see those, there is no reason why they shouldn’t do the same for Sucker Punch.

  • Andrew Parker

    Interesting. Do you think that in the future Sucker Punch might have a Showgirls like reputation given the bad acting and cheesy writing? I have a feeling that is entirely possible.

  • Paolo Miguel Kagaoan

    Yes please! 😀

  • Christopher Misch

    There is definitely the possibility for Sucker Punch to develop a late-blooming following, but even right now the film has its fair share of followers.

  • Willson Wong

    you got a point sir, I really did got “Sucker Punch” on that movie. LOL. What attracted me not really the visuals, but the hot chicks and skimpy outfits lol. I haven’t went to the theater since Toy Story 3 and then this crap. Sigh lol

  • Methulan.M

    I watched Sucker Punch in Toronto the Sunday before I left and I watched it in the new UltraAVX format. It cost about 2 bucks more but was totally worth it. Not only do you get to choose your seats at the box office but the Audio quality is spectacular which made the Sucker Punch experience better than conventional cinema would have. The battle scenes and brilliant sound track really shine in this format. $11+ …. worth it in my opinion.

  • C. Salinas

    I believe Sucker Punch is a very misunderstood film. It seems simplistic at first watch but there are layers there that you really din’t see until 2nd and even 3rd viewings. I believe there is even a reason for the stilted acting in the film. I can watch this film again and again and get something new out of it each time. One of these day I’m going to do a total deconstruction of this movie. There is more here than meets the eye candy.