In the past few years, Zack Snyder has proven himself to be a rather unique type of filmmaker. From the remake of Dawn of the Dead to 300 toWatchmen, he has certainly demonstrated a very interesting and absorbing visual style. His latest effort, Sucker Punch is yet another example of this wildly vivid form of cinematic storytelling. Available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy, this energetic action-fantasy-thriller is now yours to own.
After blamed for her younger sister’s death, 20-year-old Babydoll (Emily Browning) is committed to a female-only mental institution by her abusive stepfather. The circumstances of the victim’s actual death however are covered up by the stepfather who bribes an orderly, Blue (Oscar Isaac) to have Babydoll lobotomized so that she won’t be able to reveal the truth to the authorities.
While inside the institution, Babydoll concocts a fantasy world in which she and the other inmates are erotic dancers in a brothel whose virginity is being sold to a client known as “The High Roller” (Jon Hamm). Babydoll then gets the bold idea to escape the “brothel” with the other girls. She then retreats to another fantasy world which resembles feudal Japan. There, she encounters a wise man (Scott Glenn) who informs her that she needs five important items to successfully escape the institution. These items are a map, fire, a knife, a key and a fifth which is unrevealed but would require “a deep sacrifice.”
As Babydoll and the other girls acquire these five items, they are all transported to bizarre alternate realities, fantasy worlds created by Babydoll which feature exotic locales, fearsome enemies and difficult challenges.
Sucker Punch is a film that combines two distinct aspects: video game action and music video intensity. The video game aspect comes in the form of character objectives (the five items) and the colorful worlds and the enemies that inhabit those worlds. The music video aspect is very apparent in many of the film’s scenes, obviously the ones which feature pop songs in the soundtrack. Not only does the audio add to the scenes’ intensity but so does Zack Snyder’s rich and stunning direction.
Sucker Punch’s alternate title was probably Alice in Matrix-Land because it is exactly that, a gripping story about a highly imaginative girl who finds herself in a strange and unusual world and must triumph over evil using lots of guns and very cool martial arts moves.
The cast of Sucker Punch is pretty awesome. Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) stars as the little girl lost, Babydoll and she definitely shows a lot of strong emotion throughout the film. Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood) is wonderfully sinister as Blue, the orderly who abuses Babydoll and the other girls. The other girls are a beautiful group of young, talented actresses. They include Abbie Cornish (Limitless), Jena Malone (Stepmom), Vanessa Hudgens (the High School Musical Trilogy) and Jamie Chung (Sorority Row). Each girl has her own personality and adds great dramatic depth to the film.
Scott Glenn adds a touch of class to the proceedings as the wise man, Babydoll’s spiritual mentor. Carla Gugino is cold yet sexy as a therapist in the institution who doubles as a dance instructor in Babydoll’s brothel fantasy and Jon Hamm is terribly underused in the film as “The High Roller.”
Sucker Punch is a real delight. It is both entertaining and thought-provoking, two essential qualities of a fine film. The action and visual effects are truly breathtaking. The acting is quite good and Zack Snyder is well on his way to becoming one of cinema’s next real auteurs. He leaves his stamp on all of his movies and Sucker Punch is no exception. After seeing his previous films and viewing Sucker Punch, I am almost in awe of this man’s magical filmmaking ability. Now let’s see how he does with Man of Steel…
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features for Sucker Punch are nothing short of terrific. Zack Snyder hosts “Warner Bros. Maximum Movie Mode”, an over two-hour expedition into the film’s real and fantasy worlds. This very special feature includes director walk-ons, picture-in-picture commentary, storyboards and interactive galleries. There are also four original Sucker Punch animated shorts which serve as prequel stories to the film and lastly there is a Behind the Soundtrackfeaturette.