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Sucker Punch Review (2011)

Sucker Punch movie review


  With the amount of movies that I see in the course of my work, sometimes I have to make hard choices on what I have time to see in the theaters and what I should wait to see on DVD and Blu Ray. When I first saw the trailer for Sucker Punch I thought to myself that this movie was either going to be really good or really cheesy bad.


  At the time of the box office release of Sucker Punch, my fellow peers in the critic and reviewer world panned this movie unmercifully, leaving me feeling confident in my choice to wait for the home release of Sucker Punch. I now find that I was wrong to wait so long.


  The movie is set in the sixties and is about a young woman named Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who has to cope with the death of her mother while being left in the care of her sexually abusive stepfather (Gerard Plunkett).


Baby Doll


  One night her stepfather chases her intending to make his move, but Baby Doll is able to escape into her bedroom only to be locked in by her stepfather. As she peers through the key hole in the door she realizes in horror that her stepfather will now go after her younger sister.


  Baby Doll rushes out the window and climbs down a storm drain in a mad dash to reach her sister in time, she grabs her stepfather's gun along the way intending to stop him once and for all, but tragically Baby Doll accidently shoots and kills her sister when firing the gun at her stepfather.


  Baby Doll is committed to Lennox House an insane asylum by her stepfather, who bribes a crooked orderly (Oscar Isaac) to falsify her paperwork so that in just five days she will undergo a lobotomy procedure.


  Unable to mentally cope with the guilt of what she has done and the situation that she now finds herself in, Baby Doll retreats into a fantasy world while planning her escape from the institution.


Demons Dragons and Robots oh my

Demons, dragons, and robots, oh my!


  The use of a layered fantasy within a fantasy reminded me of the dream within a dream scenario that we saw in the movie Inception. This theme is repeated here to great effect.


  In the first fantasy layer Baby Doll is trapped in a night club in the red light district of the city by a pimp named Blue (Oscar Isaac) who is selling her in five days time to a high roller (Jon Hamm). She has to work with the other girls in the club to find a way to escape before the High Roller arrives to claim her.


  Baby Doll enters another deeper layer of fantasy by listening to music and performing a dance to distract Blue and his guards. Once her eyes are closed she enters into the layer where they gather the supplies that they will need for the escape from the institution, which include her weapons, a map, lighter, knife, and key.


  Each of these objects is found in its own unique fantasy world which includes, a Japanese monastery being attacked by Oni, a world war one trench zone with steam work undead German soldiers, a castle full of attacking knights and defending Orcs with two dragons, and a train full of robots on one of the moons of Saturn.


Sucker Punch not in Kansas anymore

We're not in Kansas anymore.


  Director Zack Snyder brings his own unique visual style to Sucker Punch and it is a joy to watch his vision here as it was in his previous works (300, Watchmen). Each fantasy layer would make a great world to visit in an RPG (Role Playing Game).



Movie math Sucker Punch


  If ever there was a movie that could claim to be a live action anime film, it would be Sucker Punch. I think that this may have been one of the reasons that many of my peers came down so hard against this film. Anime is still very much a product of the east and although it has many fans here in the western world, it has yet to become truly mainstream. Sucker Punch also deals with issues that we in the west are very uncomfortable talking about such as insanity and sexual abuse.


  This is a truly dark movie that keeps you thinking, yet contains a good amount of action when it transfers to the recovery mission layer of Baby Doll's fantasy. Few movies keep me guessing until the end and Sucker Punch was one of these few.


  A thought provoking and intelligent action movie, maybe this will not be a bad decade of movie watching after all.


Final verdict for Sucker Punch 10/10


  Sometimes you have to go against the grain. I highly suggest picking this one up on DVD or Blu Ray. This movie has made it onto my top ten list. Remember if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.






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