Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie Review - Sucker Punch

I have many mixed emotions about this film.  It was great, but it was sad, yet it was triumphant and awesome.  The film is Sucker Punch.

The film starts out quite dramatically, there is action, passion, and mystery.  Then we slow down the pace and we set the main plot of the movie.  There is a neat scene in the film that fractures Babydoll's reality, and everything shifts into a more interesting version of reality.  All the other characters around her end up as erotic dancers in a corrupt mental ward/prison instead of the mental patients they are in reality.  This not being odd enough for this film things shift again in the scenes when Babydoll starts to dance.  She opens her eyes to find herself in another reality altogether, where she learns of the things she needs to escape her situation.  Every time she dances for someone we get another flash to an alternate reality.

That altered reality scenes are truly remarkable to watch.  These scenes transform Babydoll, and later her friends Sweat Pea, Blondie, Rocket, and Amber into bad ass superheros.  Fighting Nazi's, robots, trolls, and dragons, this superhero brigade kick some serious ass.  Not only are they kicking ass, they look fantastic doing it.

Which brings me to the costumes, they are spectacular.  Of course the women have amazing and sexy outfits while they are kicking ass, but everyone else is quite well outfitted as well.  Before the split in reality everyone is dress in 40's ish clothing that looks spot on for a mental institution.  The nurses, doctors, businessmen, and girls are dressed quite for this approximate era.  They are also very drab, which helps to define what reality we are in.  Once we split off into the alternate reality, where all the girls are dancers, we have a dramatic change in wardrobe.  What used to be drab doctors and nurses are now men in shiny and bold suits, and women in flashy cocktail dresses.  It all has the feel of a sophisticated night club, which is perhaps much more happy then the mental institution that the film is set.

This type of storytelling approach is very dramatic, and exciting to watch.  It is certainly preferable to the way the story would normally be told.  It also helps to shed some light on the mental status of the main character.

With all I have said it hardly seems necessary to mention special effects, but I will anyways.  Fantastic, alright I'm done.  No really, they are amazing well done.  When the dragon bursts out of the castle it really looks quite natural.  When the same dragon takes a bite out of a plane in mid flight you never question how the special effects work, you just roll with it and believe.  One other great thing about this film is they manage to make good use of the bullet time technology.  The robot fighting scene has quite a bit of bullet time in it while they kill all the dang robots. 

The acting is exceptional as well.  There are some very talented actors in this film.  Emily Browning (Babydoll) has a look of innocence about her, but manages to pull off bad ass, and perhaps a touch of sexy, quite naturally.  Her performance never feels forced or unnatural.  Even when she is being the bad ass it is never over the top like I have seen some actors do.  Jena Malone (Rocket) was great with showing hidden strength.  Even in the scenes where Rocket is showing her vulnerable side you can always see her strength.  Scott Glenn (Wise Man) has perhaps some of the best lines in the film.  The Wise Man shows up in each one of Babydoll's dance hallucinations to guide her and her teammates.  I have seen Scott in other films and he has always had an ability to deliver a line with strong conviction.  The character of the Wise Man continues to showcase his ability.

Now the not so great part.  Being a stickler for endings that I am, I was somewhat upset at the ending of this movie.  In any movie that centers on a mission, or achieving a grand plan, the characters are expected to have to struggle to achieve their goals, yet this film seems to ask to much of its heroes.  In the end, the things they manage to accomplish are great, but the price paid seems rather high.  While some may argue this makes the film that much more realistic, I feel it makes for a bittersweet ending.

If you don't mind a little bloodshed and violence, or you like a good superhero movie, then this is the film for you.  Even though they are not superheros in the tradition sense, they are fighting bad guys in costume.  It is certainly great fun to watch them all kick ass.

Due to the mixed emotions of the ending, I am only rating this film four out of five smiley Mike heads.  I just wish that things could have worked out differently in the end.


  1. OOO! I've been wanting to watch this!!! Your reviews make me want to watch it more now! :)

    1. Be prepared for some tears, but it is well worth it in the end. There are so many beautiful things in this film, it is amazing.


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