A Sharp Eye: SUCKER PUNCH

“And one more thing…”

I felt like getting out of town today, and when I got a screening pass for SUCKER PUNCH, it seemed like a no-brainer to road trip up to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Since the screening was scheduled for ten o’clock, instead of the usual seven-thirty, I wasn’t able to find a plus one among the few folks I know in the Metroplex. Seems like I was the only one who had that problem, though, since the theater at the Cinemark West Plano filled up before the movie began. And I have now been to that theater enough that even the security guards that wave the wands around recognize me.

SUCKER PUNCH has three levels going on. There’s the reality that Baby Doll is in, where her mother has died, her stepfather is a molester who has her committed, and she’s due to get lobotomized after being framed for her own sister’s murder. Then there’s the fantasy that she’s a dancer in a club who organizes the other girls to revolt against the manager and the bouncers. And then there’s the dream-like fantasy where Baby Doll is guided by the Wise Man to find the tools she and the other girls will need to escape.

Out of the three, it’s reality that gets the short straw. And the dance club is more than a little dull. The reason to see the movie is the dream-like reality, which is most heavily featured in the trailers. After taking on over-sized samurai on her own, Baby Doll is joined in her dream by the other girls from the club – star attraction Sweet Pea, Sweet Pea’s sister Rocket, a brunette named Blondie & Amber. Together they fight steampunk zombies, orcs, and robots while also slaying dragons and defusing bombs.

During all this, there is the ticking clock – the doctor that will perform Baby Doll’s lobotomy is due to arrive at the hospital in five days. In the club, he’s referred to as the high roller, and Baby Doll is being “saved” for him. The young girls all look good in their various dance costumes & bustiers, and Carla Gugino does a good job as the house mother in the club, and psychiatrist in the hospital. She still looks good, too, for closin’ in on forty while bein’ surrounded by girls half her age. Oscar Issac as Blue is the main villain – an orderly in the hospital, and the club owner in Baby Doll’s dream. Jon Hamm has a brief role as the high roller.

But my favorite out of all of them is Scott Glenn’s Wise Man. He’s the guiding force within Baby Doll’s fantasy, giving the girls their marching orders, while always adding “one more thing…”

The screening for SUCKER PUNCH wasn’t in IMAX, even though the Cinemark West Plano has an IMAX theater. And some of the quick cuts for the action scenes were hard to follow, and actually hurt my eyes a bit. Maybe it would have been better on a larger screen? Some of the sequences, especially the train fight, seemed designed for 3D, so I may have to pay to see it again. But, if you liked Zack Snyder’s direction of 300 and WATCHMEN, go check this one out, too. Thanks to Mark Walters and BigFanBoy.com for the screening pass and the free mini-poster.

 

Tom Sharp
http://twitter.com/austinpangeeks

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