'Punch' will leave you loopy
I'm still trying to figure out what was real and what was part of the subconscious imagination.
The visuals are stunning in "Sucker Punch," the latest Zach Snyder directorial effort. Snyder, who directed "Watchmen" and "300" - both based on graphic novels - returns to the helm of another fantasy adventure, with every bit as bleak an outlook on humanity as the first two. His style is very recognizable. Lots of slow motion action, blending with regular speed, and often high-speed moments. The landscape is dark and dreary, highlighted by moments of brilliant color, often brought on by explosions.
A young woman, through a series of creepy circumstances following the death of her mother, finds herself trapped in a mental institution courtesy of her greedy stepfather.
Babydoll (Emily Browning), complete with blonde pigtails, quickly becomes immersed in a seedy world within the corrupt institution where handlers will take a bridge to perform a lobotomy to keep a patient from talking. Babydoll, facing the mind-ripping procedure, wakes up in a world where the girls of the facility are basically pimped out as dancers and prostitutes to serve a nightclub's high-rolling clientele.
She meets Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung) and the group's alpha leader, Sweat Pea (Abbie Cornish). Immediately Babydoll is cast as a troublemaker by Sweat Pea, and she quickly becomes a project for Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) who is charged with making the girls perform for the club's clients.
Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) owns the club, and essentially serves as a pimp for the young ladies. He has been told to prepare Babydoll for the High Roller (Jon Hamm) who will be arriving to pick her up in a matter of days.
Babydoll has other ideas. She tells the girls she plans to escape and they agree, Sweat Pea reluctantly, to join her in the effort. We quickly find out that Babydoll's dancing ability sends men into a trance and basically shuts down their senses to everything but her gyrations. You never see the gyrations but they must be something because as she dances, the other girls are free to run about collecting items needed for the escape.
How do they know what they need? Thanks for asking. When Babydoll dances, she closes her eyes and goes to a "safe place" in her head. In her mind she meets the Wise Man (Scott Glenn) who guides her on her journey. In her dream world, she battles giant samurai monsters, to begin her trek to freedom. When the other girls agree to join her in her quest to flee the institution, they too are inserted into her dreams to help her successfully complete the missions and secure the items.
Still with me? Ya, I'm lost too, and I saw the movie.
The action is fast-paced and, in terms of the film's visual quality, it's an awful lot going on, but it's well done. The story itself is depressing at best. A group of young ladies, forced to dwell within the confines of a dreary stone institution, forced to scrub floors and prepare food, in between dance lessons so they can perform for leering perverts at night.
And just when you think you have it figured out, well, think again. The payoff at the end: You walk out of the theater wondering what the heck you just watched.
It's a wild ride, but you'll be scratching your head for a couple of days.
On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, I give "Sucker Punch" 2 1/2 buckets. I wouldn't add any butter if I were you, your head will be spinning and you don't need to create any undo nausea. Just in case, order a Sprite and keep it handy to settle your stomach. This movie was viewed at the Southpark 7 in Spencer.