Movie Reviews

Review: Sucker Punch (2011)

Zack Snyder

Emily Browning
Abbie Cornish
Jena Malone
Oscar Isaac
Vanessa Hudgens
Jamie Chung
Carla Gugino
Scott Glenn
Jon Hamm

After being institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, a young girl escapes to an alternate reality to cope with her new surroundings that may help her to escape.

When this movie first came out, I read some pretty strong reviews about how terrible it was – noting the lack of character development and originality in story. First of all, I would just like to point out the fact that this is an action movie meant for the pure entertainment and spectacle. Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) knows this and he successfully weaves together a story that allows such grand and epic action set pieces to take place. Snyder is one of my favorite new directors because he knows exactly what product he wants to put out there and he produces such. He has always had a very original eye for visuals and action, which no one can fault him for.

Having said that, yes, this film does not offer all of the emotional drama or character involvement that other films due… but this isn’t Todd Field’s In the Bedroom. This is directly aimed at those who are looking for an entertaining action flick that delivers the goods – epic action sequences with a thrilling visual style. Snyder brings us right into his action-junkie brain here as he introduces us to WWII trench warfare with zombie Nazis; giant samurai robots wielding swords and Gatling guns; a medieval fight between a dragon and a WWII airplane, and so much more. I gotta say that if there is one reason to see this film, it is for the WWII sequence in the trenches. It is the on the most epic of scales and features about 15 to 20 minutes of our heroines battling zombie Nazis while chasing down a much-needed map. These types of scenes are when Snyder is at his absolute best, bringing chaotic action to screen without any kind of shaky-cam.

Another standout here comes from Oscar Isaac (Prince John from 2010’s Robin Hood), who gives the only true performance in the film (along with maybe Abbie Cornish). His character is truly engaging and he breathes much life into the film when the action is absent and is a joy to watch here. We also get a few nice cameos from Scott Glenn and Jon Hamm, who seem to be there only to add a little class to the film.

Overall, I have said all I wanted to say. While this isn’t the most original story out there, it contains some of the most stylized, eye-popping, intense, and original action I have seen in a while. Sure it doesn’t have much character development…but it does have the action to make up for it. I know I sound like a broken record here, but I am trying to make a point. If you don’t enjoy outlandish action movies, then stay away from this one. Don’t go to it for the story or the acting and then complain about what it lacks…just don’t. Sucker Punch knows exactly what kind of movie it is and it fully embraces that knowledge.

Rating: PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for some language.

Runtime: 110 minutes

Grade:  B

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