F**k yeah. That’s all one can think for most of Sucker Punch, a mind-blowing, out of control film that’s a Molotov cocktail of adrenaline, girl power and many, many dreams come true.
It’s the 50s (though that’s kind of inconsequential) and a 20-year-old girl (Emily Browning) is sent to an asylum by her stepfather after he murders her mother and sister. Baby Doll, as she comes to be known, has a lobotomy scheduled in five days, but in the meantime, she discovers that the asylum doubles up as a gentlemen’s club run by the corrupt head of the facility, Blue (Oscar Isaac). While dancing, she’s transported to a realm in her mind where it’s snowing, things are all Japanese and a Wise Man (Scott Glenn) explains that she can escape her fate by finding five items. Together with four girls from the asylum/club—Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung) and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens)—Baby Doll dances into her fantasy world to fight for freedom through some truly berserk battle scenes.
If Academy Awards were handed out based solely on the collective sex appeal of a film’s cast, then Sucker Punch would win Best Picture for the next 60 years. Half of its US$85 million budget must have gone into eyeliner and fake lashes, and its starlets never once give up their leather, fishnets and school girl ensembles. It’s a sexy film, make no mistake about that, but two things drive Sucker Punch: Its utterly over the top, CGI-heavy action and a killer soundtrack. We’re talking about scenes like a rampage against clockwork, steam-powered, deceased German soldiers, Baby Doll machine-gunning down a zeppelin, an aircraft having a dogfight with a dragon and three girls kicking the shit out of some robots.
The film is far from flawless through—its characters have marginally more personality than blow-up dolls, it would be 20 minutes shorter if it didn’t use so much slow-motion, Baby Doll’s sexy dance is never shown (presumably because it would cause, ahem, heads to explode) and it seems to be the realization of Zack Snyder’s personal obsessions (how he resisted the urge to include a girl-on-girl scene is a supreme act of grace)—but who cares? There’s so much going on that you won’t have time to complain.
Cosplayers will get the biggest kick out of Sucker Punch, but if you’re anywhere on the moviegoer spectrum between “spunky young thing” and “lecherous pervert,” you’ll enjoy the ride.