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Sucker Punch (2011)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Zach Snyder

Starring:
Emily Browning/Baby Doll
Abbie Cornish/Sweet Pea
Jena Malone/Rocket
Oscar Isaac/Blue
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A 20 years old girl (Emily Browning) is thrown in a nut house by her “sexual abuse happy” scumbag stepfather. Once in she attempts to get the f*ck out of dodge whilst traveling to a dream world, one that helps her cope, sees her kick all kinds of ass and acts as a blown up parallel to the happenings in the real world. No need to know how deep the Rabbit-Hole goes here! Just throw a nade in it and take cover!
THE LOWDOWN
I have yet to see a Zach Snyder flick I didn’t groove to and yes that includes his most recent retina destroying oeuvre SUCKER PUNCH; which is itself somewhat of a staple in the man’s career. Why’s that? Well it is the first movie of his that didn’t get an R Rating and the first that wasn’t a remake or an adaption of already existing work. So this one’s all Snyder baby (it was co written by Steve Shibuya, but ya know what I mean)! How did he fare? Read on!

SUCKER PUNCH took its cue from PAN’S LABYRINTH in its “girl enters a dream world to help her deal with her sad sack reality” angle and added steroids, adrenaline and at least two tablets of acid to the mad mix. The result was the most stimulating audio/visual experience I’ve had in theaters this year thus far. On that front SUCKER PUNCH simply blew my freaking mind! At the end of the neck snap this flick was basically four mammoth, style heavy action sequences, strung together by a through-line of a girl wanting out of an asylum with a dash of mind-bending mind-f*ck spread about for good measures. Yup. there were three realities at play here; a nut house, which in turn became a brothel (much more appealing, good move Snyder); which then carried over to a varied “dream land” that tossed everything my little fanboy heart desires my way. Am talking hot chicks decked up in sexy clothing, well choreographed/shot fight sequences, gravity defying acrobatics and enough artillery to make the land mine in my pants explode.

And that wasn't all! How's giant Samurai warriors with huge ass swords (one even wields a f*cking rail-gun), threatening cyber-punk Nazi soldiers, malevolent robots and relentless monsters, a fire spitting dragon sound to ya? Exactly! I got my fill and then some! And all were conveyed by way of detail heavy and simply mesmerizing CGI! Look I've never been a pro CG dude, but SUCKER PUNCH was an exception to my rule as it looked astounding and meshed perfectly with the type of movie this was. The eye popping back drops kept to the same zany jive as well. They went from a snowy landscape, a medieval castle, to a World War 1 battlefield (dug them Zeppelins and planes) to on top of a futuristic looking train. The better news was that the razor cinematography, incredible production designs and Snyder’s insane shooting shooting style gave the whole quite the brain crushing (sucker) punch! A note on the kinetic Tomfoolery if I  may: WOW! If you look up “money shots” in the dictionary, a picture of Snyder‘s face should be there next to the definition with a big grin while raising a thumbs up! The man beyond excels at them and he has topped himself in that department here! With his ingenious angles, potent use of slow motion, cool little touches (like a snow flake falling under the girl's eye and turning into a tear...NICE!) and yes his token ramping (fast motion, to slow motion, to fast again); the lad took me a on visceral visual trip that has stayed with me since!

And I got the same loving on an audio standpoint as Snyder tagged his yowzer imagery to a slew of engaging rock songs with the update of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by no other than lead chica Emily Browning and the redo of White Rabbit by Emiliana Torrini affecting me the most (you bet I already own the soundtrack). Man I love it when a movie uses imagery and sound first to tell a story! The overall result was a high octane concoction of music video, anime, steam punk and video game aesthetics that has to be seen to be believed. I know, I know, all I’m raving about is the style, well I’m a style whore and when its executed at this level of excellence, I get a cinematic boner. Just how I roll. Acting wise, Snyder should get his casting agent some "love you long time" lap dances for a job well done! Not only did the whole female cast ooze of sheer sexiness (them skimpy outfits sure helped) but they also sold me as gun taunting, ass kickers and aced their performances, elevating the little they had to play with on paper to an echelon that made way for gals I cared about.  Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish and Carla Gugino were definitely my favorites of the side characters! Kudos ladies!

The male cast didn't slum it either; Scott Glen (doing his best David Carradine impression) and Oscar Isaac (who so nailed his villainous role) were memorable to say the least. With that, this was Emily Browning’s show through and through. Word has it that Amanda Seyfried was initially the first choice for the role and I am so glad that didn’t go down. Browning was entrancing as the main protagonist. Her soulful and expressive eyes spoke volumes and Snyder shot the shit out of her gorgeous and perfectly proportioned angelic features. I dare you not to fall in love with Browning in this film, I double dare ya! As for the story;  I’ll be honest, either this flick was too smart for its own good , or I was too dumb to be able to grasp its inner workings 100%. My bro and I talked about the picture at length afterward (that ending gave us lots to yap about) over some beers and I think we have it figured out now and I wouldn't mind seeing the movie again with this new knowledge in my back-pack. Thou shall be done!

But that didn't change the fact that on this first watch, it felt like chunks were missing from the narrative, hence influencing the flow of its progression.  Upon further research; I found out that musical numbers were shot for the movie. All five of its key female characters had their own sing/dance bits and there was also a big group number shot for the finale. All of those were snipped out of this final cut; so that might have something to do with the somewhat “incomplete vibe” of it all. Another peeve I had was the voice-overs which doubled down on the deep and existential drivel...alas...I didn't grasp half of what that was all about. Lastly the happenings started getting a bit redundant by the time the last action sequence kicked in (we get it, she dances, we go in dream world, rinse and repeat, give me more). No biggie, but it needed to be spat, spat it was.

As the end credits rolled though; I was a happy camper! I had a blast with SUCKER PUNCH and once I got home, the experience still lingered in my noggin. This was definitely a love it or hate it affair; a cinematic experience that will polarize people and then some. If I go by my gut, it maybe won’t make that much dough (damn I hope I am wrong), but in time it will become a Cult Classic. Thank you Mr. Snyder for the imagination laced audio/visual treat that was Sucker Punch! You're the f*cking man! Bring on SUPERMAN MAN OF STEEL!

GORE
Some light blood, bullet damage, ugly monsters and a creature getting its throat slit (dry).
T & A
There were enough skimpy and tight outfits here to please the dudes in the house and make the Lezzies rain. The ladies get Scott Glen... in a hat.
BOTTOM LINE
SUCKER PUNCH so hit the spot! The flick erupted with creativity, its audio/visual prowess's ruined me (in a good way), the fine cast kept me hooked on a human level (with Browning hypnotizing me every time she was on screen), the CGI/production designs were stand out, and the superior action sequences whooped me stupid! Granted, a smoother narrative would have been swell, the voice over didn't do it for me and I kept feeling like pieces were missing from the film (and now I know there were); but straight up; the wild and sexy ride Snyder took me on, so made up for that. If like me you dig on over the top action scenes that feature hot dames in tight and tiny get-ups whooping all kinds of otherworldly ass with guns, their fists and swords... you'll be ALL GOOD! One thing is for sure, I am hoping for a packed disk when this one comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray, with hopefully a director’s cut and a f*ck load of extras. At this point, I am fascinated with SUCKER PUNCH. I want more! ENGAGE!
BULL'S EYE
I'd KILL to actually see Baby Doll's dance :)

The bit in the trailer that sees Baby Doll blow a string of her hair out of her face, was not in the film. Too bad, dug that moment.

The flick had a budget of $85 million clams.

A love scene between Emily Browning and John Hamm was cut out to duck the R rating.

During pre-production of the movie dance choreographer Paul Becker and Marius De Vries (the music director of Moulin Rouge) were hired. Becker had this to say to the press about the (now omitted) musical numbers: “Each female lead in the film has a persona and objective. We meshed the objective and persona of each character to the tone and concept of each dance. Because the film takes place in a brothel it calls for these huge production numbers.”
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+0
12:55PM on 08/05/2012

Perfect Shot

No Arrow, YOU are the man! This is the first review I've read that gets this (sadly unappreciated) film right. It was -and remains - in a whole other league of filmmaking which confounded critics and the public alike. Unlike the action porn of "Transformers" or "The Avengers," the mighty "Suckerpunch" doesn't fake out with McPlot and fries, but just delivers Big Tasty Goods wholesale. This might have been by accident, but essentially it was like Snyder said, "We got girls. We got guns. We got
No Arrow, YOU are the man! This is the first review I've read that gets this (sadly unappreciated) film right. It was -and remains - in a whole other league of filmmaking which confounded critics and the public alike. Unlike the action porn of "Transformers" or "The Avengers," the mighty "Suckerpunch" doesn't fake out with McPlot and fries, but just delivers Big Tasty Goods wholesale. This might have been by accident, but essentially it was like Snyder said, "We got girls. We got guns. We got steampunk WWI zombies in the trench. Now let's go!" And he goes with such precision and beauty that you could hang any frame in an art gallery and pull in mucho dinero. This was more akin to classic Gene Kelly musicals then the by-the-book dramatic narrative folks are used to nowadays. But instead of using film to show off sumptuous song & dance numbers, it was used for sumptuous demon samurais with Gatling guns. So thanks for being the go-to guy when it comes to getting reviews right - again.
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-1
10:15PM on 04/08/2012

Pure Crap,,, and NOT better than Inception

Holy God, this is one of the worst movies of the past decade, let alone last year. The performances, save for Browning and Malone, are awful. The script was nonsensical and pointless. It claims to be a female empowerment movie, yet it's misogynistic as hell and treats the female characters like sex objects. Since all the action scenes are in the lead character's imagination, there's nothing at stake hence there's no tension, they're just CGI lightshows. And to the moron who said this is better
Holy God, this is one of the worst movies of the past decade, let alone last year. The performances, save for Browning and Malone, are awful. The script was nonsensical and pointless. It claims to be a female empowerment movie, yet it's misogynistic as hell and treats the female characters like sex objects. Since all the action scenes are in the lead character's imagination, there's nothing at stake hence there's no tension, they're just CGI lightshows. And to the moron who said this is better than Inception, you are just that, a moron!
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5:25AM on 06/29/2011

Not perfect...

Not perfect but I loved it. Visually amazing, crazy action, and it had me and my buddy talking afterwards. Check out the extended blu-ray cut- musical numbers restored and they add a lil' something-something to the proceedings :)
Not perfect but I loved it. Visually amazing, crazy action, and it had me and my buddy talking afterwards. Check out the extended blu-ray cut- musical numbers restored and they add a lil' something-something to the proceedings :)
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12:29PM on 04/10/2011

Better Than Inception

That's right, I said it. What's more every hater review complaining about a lack of plot don't really understand what plot means and are likely confusing "plot" with the traditional character arc, which is different. It had a very clear and defined plot but few characters had anything resembling the traditional narrative arc.

I don't really have a problem with that though because it wasn't a traditional narrative. Only the very beginning (which was brilliant visual storytelling
That's right, I said it. What's more every hater review complaining about a lack of plot don't really understand what plot means and are likely confusing "plot" with the traditional character arc, which is different. It had a very clear and defined plot but few characters had anything resembling the traditional narrative arc.

I don't really have a problem with that though because it wasn't a traditional narrative. Only the very beginning (which was brilliant visual storytelling introducing Babydoll) and ending were "real" or potentially events existing outside a single, warped POV. The meat of it was like witnessing a schizophrenic's dream. One mind was responsible for all of the characters and their actions and the visual narrative (outside the bookends) was completely consistent with that.

It's a shame so many people associate visual storytelling without exposition explaining every event and how they're supposed to feel and process the movements and motivations of the actors moving between marks but I'm not surprised. They didn't have to really think that hard for either The Matrix or Inception because they had characters explaining and justifying every ridiculous thing throughout the story, hand holding them through the minefield of tackling a character in alternate, non-reality scenarios.
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1:51PM on 04/05/2011

So bad it's bad...

I was always wondering how Ecks v Sever could make a movie where the action scenes became so routine that they were boring, but this movie did it just as well.

A BORING film that was trying REALLY hard to be Inception (and failed on every count), had some interesting action scenes that were only fun the first couple of times (but got routine and boring toward the end). No amount of awesome visuals could save this turd.

And, for the record, I didn't go in with any expectations. I had no
I was always wondering how Ecks v Sever could make a movie where the action scenes became so routine that they were boring, but this movie did it just as well.

A BORING film that was trying REALLY hard to be Inception (and failed on every count), had some interesting action scenes that were only fun the first couple of times (but got routine and boring toward the end). No amount of awesome visuals could save this turd.

And, for the record, I didn't go in with any expectations. I had no real clue what this movie was about walking in -- just that it would have some bad-ass action scenes. It had those -- emphasis on the "bad" after a while.

It was like playing a video game where someone unplugged your controller, and made you sit through a bunch of horrible cut scenes.
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6:45PM on 04/01/2011

not much to this film

This was a pretty weak film. Not happy with it. The costumes were the best part.
This was a pretty weak film. Not happy with it. The costumes were the best part.
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6:08PM on 03/30/2011
I loved the film. I know its getting a lot of hate, and I can see why. It IS a love it or hate it film, but I'm on the love side! The action was AMAZING and the soundtrack was perfection. The visuals and Snyder's eye is perfect. I don't get all the hate this man gets? They treat him like he is Michael Bay...
The acting was great from everyone in the film and I am in love with this film.
It isn't perfect though. Amber and Blondie were WAYYY too underdeveloped for my liking especially
I loved the film. I know its getting a lot of hate, and I can see why. It IS a love it or hate it film, but I'm on the love side! The action was AMAZING and the soundtrack was perfection. The visuals and Snyder's eye is perfect. I don't get all the hate this man gets? They treat him like he is Michael Bay...
The acting was great from everyone in the film and I am in love with this film.
It isn't perfect though. Amber and Blondie were WAYYY too underdeveloped for my liking especially since the other three girls each had a personality and were pretty okay developed. Babydoll is an AMAZING character and I loved her dream world. Another flaw I had was the film felt a bit choppy and I want to see a director's cut and my final flaw is I wish they showed MORE of the mental asylum and what went on in the real world.
But other than that I loved this film to death and that ending killed me...in a good way! I love a movie that can cause debate, and this film did.
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10:32PM on 03/28/2011
I dug it, I don't necessarily think it's the best of the year but it did it's job and entertained the hell out of me throughout! Totally getting the soundtrack too!

And I don't know about you guys but I found Vanessa Hudgens the hottest out of all the girls! Dunno why but my eyes were glued to her the most! I totally forgive her for all the High School Musicals now!
I dug it, I don't necessarily think it's the best of the year but it did it's job and entertained the hell out of me throughout! Totally getting the soundtrack too!

And I don't know about you guys but I found Vanessa Hudgens the hottest out of all the girls! Dunno why but my eyes were glued to her the most! I totally forgive her for all the High School Musicals now!
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11:34PM on 03/27/2011

i loved loved loved loved loved loved loved this movie

the special effects were insane,the girls were gorgeous and even the scenes without action were still entertaining and very very interesting.finally another critic who understands what kind of movie it's suppose to be,the hate it's getting pisses me off,and it sucks that it only made $19 million this week,it should have made more but anyway best movie of 2011 and i too got the awesome soundtrack great songs,snyder's the man to me he's winning
the special effects were insane,the girls were gorgeous and even the scenes without action were still entertaining and very very interesting.finally another critic who understands what kind of movie it's suppose to be,the hate it's getting pisses me off,and it sucks that it only made $19 million this week,it should have made more but anyway best movie of 2011 and i too got the awesome soundtrack great songs,snyder's the man to me he's winning
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+0
8:14PM on 03/27/2011

Loved it!

This movie is good. The movie going audience is starting to worry me.
This movie is good. The movie going audience is starting to worry me.
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5:38PM on 03/27/2011

One Bad-Ass flik!

This movie is one hell of a ride! The review on Joblo was so out of line it totally pissed me off. I went in hoping to have my senses rocked and it blew me away.

Awesome
This movie is one hell of a ride! The review on Joblo was so out of line it totally pissed me off. I went in hoping to have my senses rocked and it blew me away.

Awesome
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5:22PM on 03/27/2011

For more detail...

If you care enough to read a defense of what I just posted, got here:

[link]
If you care enough to read a defense of what I just posted, got here:

[link]
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5:21PM on 03/27/2011

did we all see the same movie?

I really disagree with the narrative complaints. Everything you need to know is there if you take the time to look for it. This easily matches Inception.
I really disagree with the narrative complaints. Everything you need to know is there if you take the time to look for it. This easily matches Inception.
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+0
8:57AM on 03/27/2011
Thank you for a good review finally. The other one they posted was retarded.
Thank you for a good review finally. The other one they posted was retarded.
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+0
3:03AM on 03/27/2011
I went in with low expectations, but apparently not low enough.
I went in with low expectations, but apparently not low enough.
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5:51PM on 03/26/2011

Why so serious

Going to go see it in Imax tomorrow. Popcorn... a great visual treat....things could be worse
Going to go see it in Imax tomorrow. Popcorn... a great visual treat....things could be worse
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2:23PM on 03/26/2011
Enjoyed it a lot. Totally agree with your review but I agree, I hate when people expect you to have the same exact opinion. You always make it very clear in your reviews that it's just your opinion.
Enjoyed it a lot. Totally agree with your review but I agree, I hate when people expect you to have the same exact opinion. You always make it very clear in your reviews that it's just your opinion.
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12:21PM on 03/26/2011
eh......did YOU watch the same movie? Sigh... another one that doesn't get that we're all individuals with our own opinions... I don't expect to hate every flick you hate, why do you on me?
eh......did YOU watch the same movie? Sigh... another one that doesn't get that we're all individuals with our own opinions... I don't expect to hate every flick you hate, why do you on me?
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3:51AM on 03/26/2011
eh......did you watch the same movie???
eh......did you watch the same movie???
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3:43AM on 03/26/2011

HORRID

It was the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen. There are "so bad it's good movies" and then there is this, Sucker Punch, so bad it's awful. I wasn't expecting much going in but fuuuck me it looks like a 5 year old wrote the script than was polished by a 15 year old.
It was the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen. There are "so bad it's good movies" and then there is this, Sucker Punch, so bad it's awful. I wasn't expecting much going in but fuuuck me it looks like a 5 year old wrote the script than was polished by a 15 year old.
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+0
9:24PM on 03/25/2011

Not the Watchmen But ...

SOLID! I am on the love it list and almost gave this a 4 thanks to the douche bag who gave it a 0 without even seeing it.

I went in expecting almost zero narrative and storyline but was pleasantly surprised. I was also not crazy about seeing a non-R Snyder film but the guy gets props for doing it.

The performances were bang-on, I dug the storyline (although I am sure that I am not the only one who saw the ending 10 minutes in or so ... at least for Scott Glenn's first speech), and the
SOLID! I am on the love it list and almost gave this a 4 thanks to the douche bag who gave it a 0 without even seeing it.

I went in expecting almost zero narrative and storyline but was pleasantly surprised. I was also not crazy about seeing a non-R Snyder film but the guy gets props for doing it.

The performances were bang-on, I dug the storyline (although I am sure that I am not the only one who saw the ending 10 minutes in or so ... at least for Scott Glenn's first speech), and the visuals were the highlight!

Bravo Zach! More please.
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4:34PM on 03/25/2011

Agreed

I agree with this review for the most part. I liked Sucker Punch but, would have loved it more with a stronger narrative. The visuals were awesome. The only points I disagree with is that I thought Oscar Isaac was a weak bad guy. He came across like a sleazy douche and not a strong threat inducing villain. That and I thought Abbie Cornish was the real standout. The other girls were fine and looked great but,to me, it was Cornish who added some real fire to her performance. Overall a good flick
I agree with this review for the most part. I liked Sucker Punch but, would have loved it more with a stronger narrative. The visuals were awesome. The only points I disagree with is that I thought Oscar Isaac was a weak bad guy. He came across like a sleazy douche and not a strong threat inducing villain. That and I thought Abbie Cornish was the real standout. The other girls were fine and looked great but,to me, it was Cornish who added some real fire to her performance. Overall a good flick but, would also like to see what a director's cut brings to it.
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1:36PM on 03/25/2011
I will wait for the unrated or director's cut.
I will wait for the unrated or director's cut.
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+0
1:16PM on 03/25/2011
Finally someone who saw the movie can actually admit it was entertaining.

I have actually seen it, and I commend you for telling it like it is.
Finally someone who saw the movie can actually admit it was entertaining.

I have actually seen it, and I commend you for telling it like it is.
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+0
1:15PM on 03/25/2011

Nice

Wow. It's amazing what a a review can sound like when you don't go into a movie without prejudging it just because some ass hats gave the guy behind the camera too much praise early on.

Arrow has judged this movie exactly on the merits that it set out to be judged on and i am in agreement that it delivered in fucking spades.

I also agree with his points on where the movie could have been better. I agree that by the last action sequence the could have found a better way to bring it about.
Wow. It's amazing what a a review can sound like when you don't go into a movie without prejudging it just because some ass hats gave the guy behind the camera too much praise early on.

Arrow has judged this movie exactly on the merits that it set out to be judged on and i am in agreement that it delivered in fucking spades.

I also agree with his points on where the movie could have been better. I agree that by the last action sequence the could have found a better way to bring it about. I had no idea that there was so much cut from the movie either (something that could have been brought up in the review on Joblo but wasn't, surprising?) and can see how that would play havoc with the narrative. I also loved the music and how it was used in each scene. I mean just the opening sequence with Sweet Dreams and not even a spec of dialog made the scene all that more powerful for me.

One other thing i'd like to point out is that not only did the Trailer never come close to giving too much away the movie concluded on a pretty unpredictable note which was nice.
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