Sucker Punch’s trailers made it seem incredible: tooled up Valkyries, ridiculous explosions, not even a hint of plausibility. Sign me up. Turns out it delivers really well on lack of plausibility.
So in a bizarre parody of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Great Escape, 5 teenage girls have to break out of a dank mental asylum where they’re being abused by THE MAN. They form an elite team consisting of a vulnerable blonde one; a bigger, meaner blonde one; a ‘feisty’ redhead; an asian one and a vaguely tanned brunette. The fetish factory in full swing. They have vaguely ‘sassy’ code names, but these don’t really matter, they’re not characters, they’re cut-outs designed to look good in various states of undress. Mind you, it’s probably a blessing they have no idea how to deliver their lines with dialogue like this on the table:
Mind you, it’s probably a blessing they have no idea how to deliver their lines with dialogue like this on the table:
[panic] “If Blue finds out, we’re dead!”
[deadpan pathos] “We’re already dead.
It’s not even comically bad. It’s like having to suffer through your kid’s school play; except it lasts an hour and a half and afterwards you’re going to be having very stern words with the costuming director.
To aid them in their escape, the principal heroine can drag her comrades in to a series of bizarre fantasy worlds, where their furtive escapades are played out as series of ridiculous, action-packed, commando missions complete with demonic samurais, dragons… and steam-punk, zombified wehrmacht soldiers!?
Damn that sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Five super-powered commandos taking on a horde of slavering clockwork zombie soldiers across a shell-pocked WW1 battlefield. Actually, turns out its pretty boring. Each ‘heroine’ effortlessly mows her way through wave after wave of grey, faceless goons in a tedious yawn-fest that’s uncannily like watching someone else a slash-em-up video game. It’s not cool or exciting, just ‘oh’ and even ‘yawn’. Where’s the spectacle? Where’s the attitude? where’s the rock n’ roll? In a fantasy dream land with no rules you shouldn’t shoot robots with a machine gun, you should run up to one and nut it in the face so hard it’s head flies off into outer space; or throw tanks at them; or summon Emelia Pankhurst from the grave to tag-team tombstone them through the surface of the earth while screaming “VOTES FOR WOMEN” through a geyser of oily robo-blood – because that would be awesome and this film is in dire need of some awesome. As it is, this the adventures play out like a bargain-bucket version of the Matrix with a skin graft and not even the good Matrix, the follow ups with the raving hippy troglodytes and the ghosty albino war babies… Actually even that sounds appealing. The reality is that Sucker Punch plays like an illiterate 14 year old anime fan’s first attempt at a slash fic as inspired by the wet dream he had, except even more tedious.
Of course, the fights are only rubbish because they lavished so much time and attention on the drama of the mental institution side of the plot, which is a rich and thought provoking tapestry of unbreakable friendships formed in impossible circumstances and a thorough celebration of the human spirit.
It’s actually just a confusing mish-mash of ideas and scenes which are almost utterly incomprehensible, if not down-right stupid. Apparently there’s a stage and the girls act out their psychological problems on it? And the custodian is some sort of pimp? This isn’t some Lynchian, mess-with-your-mind, aren’t-we-avant-garde twist, it really is just a ludicrous mess. I still have no idea what happened to asian girl and vaguely tanned girl, they just get abruptly written out about two thirds through to make the ending seem tidier, but I guess that’s what you get for not being white and blonde.
So. Unsexy, poorly plotted and boring, with godawful acting and a load of scantily clad women. Yup, this film is pretty much the 12-A spiritual successor to Showgirls.
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