Friday, 22 April 2011

Sucker Punch.

Sucker Punch.

I was strangely excited for this film. I read a few interviews about it and the more I read on the more interested I got in the film. I was excited to see it. A gleaming cast of fantastic yet underrated actors has set this film alight. Intrigue about this film has been mostly from the male perspective as it is women in tight and skimpy clothing running around with big guns kicking ass in a fantasy world. I can't think of a man who isn't pleased by the concept. What about the execution?

Plot: A young girl is institutionalised by her abusive stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the mental facility.

Zack Snyder clearly likes showing off. It's what he does best. Looking back at 300 what are the stand-out moments? The incredible fight scenes in slow-mo with fantastic shots. Realism, gore and violence submerged into a fantasy world. Unfortunately, it feels like he's just showing off with Sucker Punch. He shows off his flowing style with obscure detail shots (an example of this is Baby Doll's button coming off in the opening credits and a slow-mo shot as it spins, a bit like the Watchmen smiley face scene) and a lot of action. The storyline always lacks though.

Cast: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac and Abbie Cornish. Directed by Zack Snyder.

The entire back story of Emily Browning's Baby Doll is summed up in the opening scene during one or maybe two songs, I'm not sure. Another thing about this film is there is a lot of music. This means less script and that's probably why the storyline is poor in comparison. It's an original script and quite a clever one. A girl is institutionalised by her cruel and abusive step-father after a weird and sort of unexplained back-story. There she is planned to be lobotomised and plans an escape. To escape she replaces the institution with a brothel where she does a dance which leads her into another fantasy world to complete a mission.

There are four missions. In these missions she's simply looking for four simple items: A map, fire, a knife and a key. These are obviously complicated in her fantasies, with a dragon representing fire and so on. In this institution, she meets her kick arse, take no mercy, fiesty and sexy gal pals. They are Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung). In these fantasy worlds they fight for the items in obscure ways - when Baby Doll is only dancing. You never get to see the dance, only a pathetic jig before hand so don't get excited or curious. There's no point because you'll never see it.

Plot holes ironically leak through each tier of fantasy and so on. You catch no glimpse of what is actually happening while they're fighting - which is a shame. Coherence or lucidity would make this a much better film. Being that you know that when you walk in you'll see hot women in fantasy landscapes shooting and fighting, you can't really be disappointed. That's exactly what you get. Although, being a 12A means that it has been toned down in a lot of ways. There's no swearing, no blood, no limbs so is it really Snyder's work?

I have an obligation to bring up the CGI as it truly is incredible. Incredible fight scenes with reanimated steam-powered Nazis (please don't speak about realism or how ridiculous that is - it's in her head!) and other incredibly visual fight scenes you can't help but be impressed. It's a lot to soak in so I'm glad the 3D conversion was cancelled otherwise you'd have a massive headache. It's a shame that the CGI can't mask the cheesy lines from a rather weak and poor script.

You can't help but want the stuff to be answered. I mean, the back-story is never truly confirmed. Maybe it is confirmed but due to the nature it is shot, you can't help but have doubts. It's either bad directing or suggestive directing and I can't decide. I went in knowing what I was going to get but I'd at least like answers, but with no definition between reality and the brothel fantasy it's a bit hard to get an answer. It's like asking a stripper an ethical question, she dances and you're enjoying but she never answers properly; apt as it is set in a brothel.

Look out for Vanessa Hudgens's inexplicable line. I'd like to know what she says because it doesn't sound like words to me.

Its CGI is breakthrough. Outlandish fantasy worlds with incredible effects. Oddly good if you were lobotomised to watch this film as no thinking would be perfect. Expect massive explosions, outlandish fights, tiny outfits with cheesy lines. Great idea lacking the storyline execution and coherence needed to make it brilliant.

★★★