Oh, how long I’ve been waiting.
Since I saw the teaser for Sucker Punch I’ve been chewing nails, jittering legs and not sleeping at night. It looked too good. Too weird. Too much like the epic kind of fantasy I eat by the bushel. And now the time has come. The gauntlet is thrown. Is this film going to be as utterly insane as it looks?
It’s mental. Let’s get the premise out of the way. Listen carefully, because it might get hairy. In an attempt to escape from an abusive step-father, Babydoll (Emily Browning) inadvertently kills her little sister and is committed to a mental institution forthwith. There she meets four other girls institutionalised for no justifiable reasons. Now, Babydoll is actually a bit mental, but only in the cool way. To survive, she imagines that herself and the girls are dancers in an upper class burlesque club. To be honest, that would be enough for me to sit through, but it gets better. In da club (I’m so street) Babydoll and her girls devise a plan to escape in which they need five items. To get these items they have to work together, and Babydoll has to dance her little booty off. You never Browning bust any shapes, but that’s ok. Because when she dances, Babydoll removes herself deeper into her subconscious. Another level of fantasy. And she becomes a sailor suit-wearing samurai ass kicker with a gun. As you do.
The other girls have their own alter egos in this fantasy world, each acting as part of a team of very slight girls who you’d happily let pummel you out of existence. Let’s get the acting out of the way. It’s a bit crap. While the girls have been picked for looks rather than skills (Vanessa Hudgens…nuff said), a couple of them pull through. Carla Gugino is particularly good as the burlesque teacher and Browning adds enough weight to the main character to see you through. Scott Glenn as the almost-Carradine ‘Wise Man’ is bloody brilliant.
But we didn’t come to see acting, did we? Oh no, and you won’t be disappointed. Zack Snyder is my new, personal Legend. ‘Style over substance’ is a severely overused phrase, so I won’t use it. Especially because in this case, it’s crap. This movie has style leaking from every sequin. From the intro sequence, which is possibly the best movie introduction I have ever seen, to the final credits there is more style than if the Matrix and Inception had a love child. And that’s a bit what Sucker Punch is like. The CGI is like nothing you’ve seen this year. Guaranteed. The ideas and visuals incorporate fantasy elements with a Steampunk edge that had me slack-jawed throughout. Think of a WWII bomber being attacked by a dragon. Or maybe a host of clockwork Nazis being taken down by a girl in a beaten-up Mecha.
Here’s a tissue. Clean yourself up.
If you can get past the tongue in cheek (steady on) acting, it’s fairly obvious that someone somewhere had an absolute blast making this film. It not only shows, but you can feel it. Yes, it looks like a comic geek’s wet dream. But I went to see the King’s Speech, The Bucket List and Sex in the City 2. The Sucker Punch you’re about to receive is my payback.
“Take a lead umbrella, it’s raining bullets.”