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Mike Dunn Reviews - Sucker Punch

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A bleached blonde and porcelain-like Emily Browning fires a gun at her abusive stepfather to protect herself, whilst a haunting version of 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)' is quietly surrounding the ensuing drama.

This is how another Zack Snyder film begins; an impressive opening montage. Things seem to be going very smoothly; I'm sat in the cinema with my sweets and drink, waiting to be blown away.

Babydoll gets institutionalised and meets a bunch of other girls at the asylum. She is told she is to have a lobotomy and *SNAP*, suddenly they're in a brothel.

Huh? Sorry? Weren't they just in an asylum? Why are these young girls suddenly in corsets and fishnet tights?

Babydoll slowly walks down the steps of the Japanese garden and begins fighting the huge zombie Samurai warriors?

What? I'm all for surreal, but really? And that's just the introduction. To escape the asylum/brothel, Babydoll and her friends spend the rest of the film trying to acquire certain objects and enter different alternate realities to acheive their dream of freedom.

Boy, did I get my hopes up for Sucker Punch. Not following my own advice, I got swept up by the breath-taking trailers, intriguing posters, and impressive cast and crew. It looked like the film was going to be epic. When I sat in my seat, waiting for the film to start, it reminded me of how I felt going to watch 300 back in 2006, and similarly Watchmen in 2009, which were also directed by Zack Snyder. And the result?

It kinda bored me. Don't get me wrong, the situations were very exciting and energetic, but I just didn't care what happened to the characters or their struggle. There was no personalisation to the five main girls. They just seemed like 2D characters, dressed in provocative outfits, made to jump about, swing swords, shoot guns and be every 14-year old boy's dream. It all looks fantastic, but I just did not care. Am I just getting older? Would Teenage-Mike have forgiven this sporadic jumping from reality to reality with no real backbone to the film?

The films that Zack Snyder has directed in the past (the Dawn of the Dead remake, 300, Watchmen, Legend of the Guardians) all seem to share some characteristics, such as numerous fight sequences featuring instances of slow-motion, and Snyder directs them very passionately and precisely. However the films are assisted due to each film's script being unique and interesting in each instance. Perhaps this is the problem with Sucker Punch. Snyder is a very exciting young director, but as a scriptwriter, I believe he has a long way to go. He seems to have merely thought of what a teenage boy loves, and stuck in all together in one messy story. Only a couple of characters are given the smallest of backgrounds, whilst most are just left unexplained and uninteresting.

Whilst having no point to them, the battle scenes are incredibly well done, with the budget seemingly being spent entirely on the grand special effects. The five girls do well with what they're given, but talents such as Jena Malone and Emily Browning deserve much more.

Additionally, I feel that the film was restricted by studio interference. Before watching the film, I had heard that Warner Brothers had told Snyder to amend a scene so the film could be given a '12A' instead of a '15' certificate. I believe this not only affected this particular scene but the film in general, as the girls couldn't be as violent as the film required, or the poor condition in the asylum/brothel to be shown to it's full extent.

Either way, I'd recommend waiting for the 'Unrated Director's Cut' of the film to be released on DVD to see this film, so we can actually see what Snyder wanted to show. It surely couldn't be worse than the film he decided to release.

Rating - 3/10


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