From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sucker Punch - D

Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language, 109 minutes

Listless but visually stunning "Sucker Punch" a hot mess

The awful new fantasy thriller "Sucker Punch" is not a film to be taken seriously on just about any level. The stunning visuals from the director of the action hit "300" easily become the film's highlight along with a handful of well-staged action set pieces, but that can't overcome its ridiculous, lazy plot and the laughable acting of the young pretty actresses who star in the film. Essentially, the film is a mess from start to finish, but there are enough energetic visuals to keep you awake.

"Sucker Punch" is set in the 1950s and concerns Babydoll (Emily Browning), a lovely young blonde who is sent to a mental institution in Vermont by her wicked stepfather following the death of her mother and sister. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility.

Determined in her fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls-the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung), and the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish)—to band together and try to escape from their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm). Together and with the help of The Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their journey—if they succeed—will set them free.

"Sucker Punch" is an entertaining, hot piece of trash from director and writer Zack Snyder, the guy behind the hit films "300" and "Watchmen." Snyder's unique style and brand of incorporating heavy CG visuals, close-ups and slow-mo action will certainly appeal to the comic con set and likely make the film a hit, but "Sucker Punch" is overall his weakest film, with a slack, confusing story and second-rate acting that hurts the film. Browning, a young British actress and model, seems content with the Milla Jovovich style of acting - poses and pretty looks - that make for a truly bland lead.

Vanessa Hudgins, Jena Malone and Abbie Cornish, all decent, likable actresses in their own right, can't do much with the material they're given, not to mention it wastes fine actors like Carla Gugino and Scott Glenn amidst all the CG-busyness and explosions. There are a few decent action set-pieces, but it all seems a little redundant and confusing as the girls go back and forth between reality and the alternate universe and why exactly they must do all of this nonsense just to escape a mental facility.

In an effort to appeal to the masses, this type of thing usually does well the first week or two and then peters out after bad word of mouth, though Snyder's own "300" and last year's "Alice in Wonderland" certainly proved that point wrong. "Sucker Punch" may do well with some audiences, and it certainly has enough energetic visuals to keep it moving, but it's all still a piece of mindless nonsense. Not worth the time or the money unless you feel like being sucker punched for real.

Wes's Grade: D