Review – Sucker Punch (movie)

26 March, 2011

From the trailers and ads, you would expect Zack Snyder’s new movie Sucker Punch to be a gamer’s dream unfortunately, it is not.  Not even close.

Short, no spoilers review:  The all too brief CGI-fueled frenetic action scenes cannot save a movie with a weak and incoherent plot, flat acting and an incredible lack of dramatic tension.   If you must see this movie, wait and rent it so you can freeze the action scenes and appreciate how much is packed into them and fast forward through the rest.

More spoilered review after the cut:

I went into this movie wanting to like it, yet from the beginning, Snyder was trying to prevent me from doing so.  The framing plot is our main character is betrayed by her (step?) father who had attempted to rape and causes the death of her sister after the death of their mother and then commits her to an asylum so that the evil father can get access to the fortune of his dead wife (and be safe from prying questions).  At the creepy asylum our main character is to be lobotomized in five days so she no longer is a threat,  she plans to escape.  So pretty dark opening.

The main character is known only as “Baby Doll” so you do not even get a real name to associate with the character, her allies also just have nick-names, so from the beginning you are distanced from them all.  Baby Doll at the Asylum finds herself in a fantasy world . . . of being trapped in a club/brothel run by the evil orderly who is arranging her lobotomy.  In her brothel fantasy she has a vision (CGI-combat sequence one), allies with four other women/inmates and plot to escape . . .  So far, so as clear as mud.

The actions needed gain each of the pieces our characters need to escape is, for reasons that are never explained, represented by mad-crazy CGI battle sequences.  You have seen pieces of these, as all of the scenes from the trailers/ads were exclusively from these action sequences.  The first one is pretty cool, the second is wonderfully over the top, but they go down from there especially as you realize they do not actually impact the main plot at all.  They are full of crazy rotoscope, slow motion, anime-inspired fantasy violence but they mean nothing to the rest of the movie and thus totally lack dramatic impact.

The acting (with the exception of Jon Hamm in a small role) is flat, even Scott Glenn’s fortune cookie wisdom fails to inspire, and character development is non-existent.  Except in the combat sequences, the villains always have the upper hand, and the good suffer for no purpose (the phrase “No good deed goes unpunished” could have been written with this movie in mind).   Lastly, the movie ends on an incredibly down note after what must be one of the stupidest twists in film history.

Do not waste you money watching this movie in the theatre, Snyder (who wrote, directed and produced and can be entirely blamed for the file) does not deserve to be rewarded for this disaster of a movie.


  1. Damn it, I was really hoping this movie would be excellent and was planning on going to see it in a few days. Guess I will not now, thanks for the review!

  2. I disagree utterly. While I think many times Snyder’s reach exceeds his grasp here, and it certainly it isn’t a film for everybody, but I thought it was good and thought-provoking, and that was the consensus of the group I went with. We spent dinner discussing various implications of various aspects of the film, both narratively and thematically–even the ones who were cool to it felt it had a lot going on.

    Also, the action sequences were integral to the plot (just not in a literal way) so I’m unsure how you can say otherwise.

    Much of your review seems spent on the fact that the basic plot is a “downer” (and this is true to a large degree), is it possible you just didn’t like it rather than it being so bad Snyder must be punished for making it?

    • As is your right. Honest disagreement and discussion is welcome.

      Snyder has proved himself very skilled in action direction and establishing mood, but I have yet to see anything that shows he can direct people just being people.

      Yes, I found the movie, apart from some of the action scenes, universally unpleasant and crushing with even Sweet Pea’s escape barely a ray of hope. However, if I am ‘punishing’ Snyder for anything in this review -which I do not believe I am- it would be that we were promised an action movie with Sucker Punch, and, for all the action sequences, it simply was not one.

  3. Fair enough. 🙂

    But is it fair to consider, though, for a review, whether a movie should be judged by whether it achieved what it set out to do, not what you wish it would have done?

    • As you said, “Snyder’s reach exceeds his grasp”. I do not think this movie succeeded even on its own terms. Additionally, I also think it is justified in a review to point out where a movie (or whatever) failed to reach a higher level in your opinion.

  4. I saw a trailer for this movie before watching ‘The Eagle’, on Monday evening. My reaction to the trailer was along the lines of, “What the hell was that?” It played like the trailer to a video game and certainly didn’t spur me to watch the movie. I’ve enjoyed Snyder’s other films for what they are, but this one seems like a confused, incoherent mess, at least from the trailer. Your review seems to reinforce my worst suspicions, so thank you for saving me time and money.

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