Director Zack Snyder has produced some visually stunning films in the past. Both 300 and Watchmen showcase Snyder’s stylistic narratives and his trademark slow motion action sequences. Sucker Punch is the latest film from the acclaimed director and features five female inmates at a mental institution who plan to escape before it’s too late and they are lobotomized.
Led by Babydoll (Emily Browning), the girls devise a plan to gather four items they need in order to escape; a map, fire, a knife, and a key. Collecting these items will be no easy task as they are heavily guarded by those who run this prison and getting caught would most certainly lead to their demise. It’s a matter of life and death for these girls who will go to great lengths to get what they desire most; freedom.
In order to distract the men in charge who have what they need, Babydoll performs an exotic dance while the other girls ransack the distracted personnel. It is at this moment when we are transported into the fantasy world within her head. Let me tell you, this is where things really get nuts.
These dream worlds of Babydoll contain aspects from the real world and are basically her way of coping with what’s going on. For instance, the lighter she needs to get comes in the form of a fire breathing dragon, and all people she meets in the real world have dream world counterparts. It’s a world where she can escape to be the hero, fighting against evil and what seem to be insurmountable odds.
If you’ve seen any of the trailers associated with the film you know how action packed these worlds become. One minute the girls are fighting Nazi’s during WWII and the next minute they are battling robots on a train. Each “dance sequence” is different from the previous one and showcases style we’ve come to love from Snyder although he does go a little overboard on the slow motion effects. We don’t need to see the impact of every single hit. Regardless, you can’t help but awe at the spectacular visuals accompanied by a robust soundtrack.
The music of Sucker Punch caters to the atmosphere of the mental institution and the girls’ struggle for survival. At times it feels like you’re watching something out of Moulin Rouge! with its bright colors and flashy costumes.
Acting-wise, the film is lead by a strong female cast. Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung all know how to kick some ass. Their outfits are somewhat on the skimpy side as you can expect, but that doesn’t stop them from taking names, at least in the fantasy world that is. In the real world, they are more restricted by the warden-like Blue (Oscar Isaac).
Sucker Punch delivers a striking blow to your senses that’ll make you want to become a part of Babydoll’s dream world. The story could have been better, and we could have done perfectly fine without Scott Glenn’s witty Wise Man proverbs, but overall the visuals and soundtrack make this the must-see action film of the spring.