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Sucker Punch

Great visuals get KO’ed by an insulting, incoherent script

The world has been hard on 20-year-old Babydoll (Emily Browning: The Uninvited). After being assaulted by her stepfather and accidentally killing her sister, Babydoll is committed to an asylum. In five days, she’s scheduled for a lobotomy.
    Horrified by her predicament, and presumably her name, Babydoll retreats to a fantasy world. In this fantasy — which I remind you is of her creation — Babydoll dreams that she’s been sold to a brothel/cabaret. In five days she’ll be given to a character called the High Roller (John Hamm: The Town).
    She befriends her fellow sex slaves and enlists them to help her escape — to yet another fantasy world where she and her band of under-dressed warriors battle creatures from just about every science fiction film you’ve ever seen.
    The first thing director Zack Snyder needed was a decent script. He himself scribed this chaotic jumble, which offers no background on the characters or motivations for their actions. Snyder gets lost in his own concepts and the movie runs amok like a toddler on a sugar high.
    Too bad there wasn’t an adult around to tell him no.
    Snyder has always been a sure bet when it comes to visuals, and he doesn’t disappoint here.
    The real problem is Snyder’s stance that the movie is a feminist tale. There are women in it, and in major roles. However, just because a girl can execute a flip kick in high heels doesn’t make her a hero in the gender wars. That Snyder angles the camera at Babydoll’s panties for every fight scene doesn’t help his argument. But hey, before they kick butt they suck on lollipops just like the bad little Lolitas they are. That’s empowering?
    The final solution to Babydoll’s freedom is so insulting and horrifying that it will make Gloria Steinem dig a grave to roll over in.
    That’s the tragedy of Sucker Punch. It could have been an interesting feminist fable about women using their sexual power to fight the system. But it got saddled with a director who can’t distinguish action porn from empowerment.

Poor Fantasy • PG-13 • 109 mins.