Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dukes See a Movie: Sucke[r] Punch


Why did this have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve such a painful humiliation? When I was first introduced to the concept of Sucker Punch, I was in awe. It was supposed to be the ultimate guy/nerd movie. It was supposed to be so much more.

Good looking girls in short skirts: Check

Samurai robots with Gatling guns: Check

Zombies: Check

Nazis: Check

Zombie Nazis: Check

Trench warfare: Check

Dragons: Check

Orcs: Check

Burlesque house: Check

Robots: check

I thought to myself “Jeepers, this movie has everything!” But there was one more item on the list

Coherent story: …

Sucker Punch suffers from a couple different issues that I feel brought down what could have been a great movie. I will attempt to list them here in such a way that will help you, dear reader, to understand why I feel so terribly betrayed.

Sucker Punches Faults (in no particular order)

1. Inceptionism – Inception was quite possibly the best film of 2010. The idea was unique and new, something that Hollywood had seemed to forget how to do in the current days of remakes, reboots, and video game movies. Sucker Punch took the inception idea and ran with it, right into a brick wall. With inception the idea of a dream within a dream within a dream was well explained, and you understood what was happening in each layer and why it was relevant. With Sucker Punch the only time you even touch the real world is at the beginning and the very end. For the most part the “real” world is some burlesque house, run by a strong handed pimp. Once you stepped into the dream worlds, crap got crazy. This bothered me because I was unable to follow the transition from burlesque world (level 2) to real world (level 1 – the actual insane asylum where the main character was). For example: The Main character is given a list of items that are needed for her escape, one of these is fire. So in the dream world (level 3) she fights a castle full of orcs and kills a baby dragon to obtain stones that make fire. Awesome. In level 2 she dances and kind of hypnotizes the mayor who is visiting the burlesque house, while her friend who is sitting on his lap picks his pocket and takes his lighter. Makes sense. In level 1 (the actual asylum) it never explains how she went about getting the lighter, it simply shows that a person has a lighter in the beginning, and in the end that she lit a fire in the asylum. For the other items the same is true. I understand how she got it in Level 3, and level 2, but the transition to level 1 is unclear.

2. Too much talkie, not enough fighty – This movie was marketed towards nerds, that’s the bottom line. I went in expecting non-stop fighting, and of the coolest kind. Zac Snyder, who directed both the Watchmen, and 300 did not disappoint in either of those. Fight, fight, fight, bit of story, fight, fight, fight. That was his process in those two. In this one however he decided to break away from that format, and it was more like Interesting opening, boring, boring, burlesque house, boring, boring, FIGHT!, boring, boring, boring, FIGHT!, boring, boring, boring, FIGHT!, so on and so forth. My beef with the movie is this: If you’re gonna market it as fighting and almost nothing else, it better damn well be fighting and almost nothing else. Bait and switch!

3. Feminism – I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with movies being politically driven. I appreciate it even. Movies are a medium for directors and actors to express their beliefs, hopes and fears (I really believe this I’m not just making crap up); so when the movie looks like a pro-girl-power-guys-can’t-boss-us-around movie, I’m fine with that. What bothers me is when in the middle of this said idea, it suddenly does a full body, calves to head pan of one of the main characters, slowing down in all of the right places (if you get my meaning, wink wink , nudge nudge) it betrays itself. Showing that it’s not a pro-girl power thing, and just a look at this thing, what I’m trying to say is either stick with your moral of the story, or don’t have one. Don’t try and walk the line between because you look like an idiot.

4. Acting – Oh. My. Hell. This movie had some of the worst acting that I have ever seen in my entire life, and I watched Final Sacrifice. Albeit the acting was not nearly as bad as that, but sweet mercies it was terrible. For me, the attachment that I feel to a character is directly correlated with the way an actor portrays said character. If the actor does a good job, I become attached and genuinely care. If they do not, I don’t bother remembering their name because in the end I kind of hope they die. That’s what happened in this movie. I couldn’t remember for the life of me the names of the characters that were involved in this movie. All I knew was that in the end, I didn’t care.

Now I’m not saying that this movie was totally without merit, the visuals were stunning (and no Morgan and Stacy I’m not just referring to the ladies). Watching Steampunk Nazi Zombies getting massacred and having steam shoot out where blood and guts would usually be was both different and entertaining. The different dream realms that were created for this were also quite impressive. That being said, they couldn’t redeem the rest of it.

The bottom line for me is this. I tend to expect a lot out of certain movies. I understood that this movie was not going to be groundbreaking; it was not the next Citizen Kane or Casablanca. I knew that it would not have a ton of substance behind it. I went in expecting fluff, pure entertainment, but I was also expecting a whole lot of entertaining fights, coherent story, and semi-decent acting. What I got was fluff, which was trying to be something more, mediocre fight scenes, one of the most convoluted stories I’ve ever seen in my life and acting that makes Kristen Stewart look like a method actor.

In the end there were two warning signs I should have seen and headed. The first was the marquis at the theater. Either the letter had fallen off, or the theater staff were lazy (seeing as this was Carmike 12, the latter is likely) but the marquis read “Sucke Punch”. It was a terrible omen. And a few days later I remembered, upon seeing a commercial for it, what the tagline for the movie was: “You will be unprepared”. Bryan was there and quipped “I was, I really was”. So was I Bryan, so was I.

1 out of 5 stars.


  1. I had my own irrational dislike of this move before it came out. Thanks for justifying my dislike so thouroughly!

  2. When will you start listening to me about what movies you should avoid? I gave you a very loud and vocal warning about this flick! One day... maybe... one day you'll listen.

    Wait, who am I kidding? That won't happen.