Zack Snyder is one of the most popular directors working today; yet, one of his most overlooked films is Sucker Punch. The “Boss'” notoriety is pretty ironic considering this spiking fame is due to some of his most divisive films. His popularity began with 300, but he did other films between that and his venture into the DC universe. And that’s what leads us to one of my favorites: the insanely dumb but equally entertaining Sucker Punch.
The movie is just as dumb as its title implies. It’s a movie that starts off with domestic abuse then turns into a brothel drama about being the best dancer (or something). Once you’re comfortable there, we meet a 20-year-old fighting a robot samurai.
And that’s just the first 30 minutes.
There’s much more following that with one of the coolest movie soundtracks ever. So…
What’s up with Sucker Punch?
People might try to defend this movie by framing it as “a smart mix of character drama, alternate realities, and one specific person’s journey to find her purpose in life.”
But, people, come on.
#SuckerPunch is just dumb. And it’s even dumber because it feels like #ZackSnyder and his team weren’t in on the joke. Was this an excuse to mix four random action sequences from video games actually a character story? No.Tweet
That blond up there is “Babydoll.” She’s accompanied by her friends Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber and, um, a non-blonde character named “Blondie.” So, basically, a bunch of ladies named after strippers.
The film has a plot. At least, on paper. It’s about Babydoll’s journey, who has been locked in a mental institution by her evil stepfather. To escape her imprisonment, she imagines that she is inside a brothel, Then, she…um, sub-imagines. Is that a thing? Of course it is… if Zack said it, it’s real.
Suddenly, Babydoll is on crazy worlds with monsters and creatures directly taken from a fanboy’s craziest wet dreams. (Talk about a sucker punch.) These worlds are probably closer to action seen in a video game, which is exactly what the movie feels like.
Does Sucker Punch Ever Power Up?
For perspective, the main inciting incident comes when Babydoll realizes she needs five items to escape her fate after Scott Glenn gives her some weapons and literally says “these are your weapons.”
(I wanted a press A to use them after that, but Snyder the gamer in me there.) Even though the filmmakers tried to hide the goofiness of his script with supposed drama, Sucker Punch is really all about the action. This is especially true because it tends to drag a bit whenever Babydoll isn’t fighting smoke zombies, weird monsters, or even this giant Samurai dude.
So, Sucker Punch is dumb. Also, Sucker Punch is video-game like predictable. But…I love this damn movie. It’s so much fun!
The fact that someone gave Snyder $90 million to make this is just too good to be true. I really wish this film had been successful at the box office. We would have seen an even crazier sequel. But, as fate would have it, we only got one version of a bunch of women superheroes flying out of a plane with machine guns to attack an orc-infested castle. And, to kill a baby dragon. The world is so unfair sometimes.
But Many Performances Didn’t Suck at All
There’s something special about some of the performances in this film, starting with a pre-famous Oscar Isaac. He plays a menacing bad guy and shows glimpses of the acting talent that would eventually lead him to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Carla Gugino is also in Sucker Punch with a fake eastern European accent (I know). As to the five interchangeable heroes, I was mostly impressed to see how much Jena Malone put into her role as ‘Rocket’. She elevates the material, which makes me wonder why she’s not a bigger star at this point.
All in all, Sucker Punch feels like a movie mostly forgotten. It shouldn’t be. It really is a gem in a fun bad kind of way. From it, we see the roots of Snyder’s approach to filmmaking that have now become cult-like across social media.
The mix of serious scenes with crazy action sequences is rarely as entertaining and confusing as it is in Sucker Punch. For that reason alone, I would encourage you to check it out.
Maybe even get a hashtag going so we can get a sequel. That way, we can stop talking about The Snyder Cut of Justice League for a few minutes and journey back to simpler times. Those days where Snyder made a regular movie with a bomb code-named “Kitchen Knife” (because it is actually a kitchen knife in the other, um, reality…get it?).
Oh, and one more thing: Snyder deleted the best scene in the movie. For that, we should never forgive him. Introducing the Justice League on an email attachment is acceptable, but how dare you deny us the pleasure of an Oscar Isaac/Carla Gugino “Love is the Drug” duet?
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