Sucker Punch (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2011)

Actors: Abbie Cornish, Emily Browning
Director: Zack Snyder
Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: French, Spanish
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011
Run Time: 120 minutes




Is Sucker Punch misogynist or misandrist (hatred of men)?

On the one hand all the female characters in director Zack Snyder’s 2011 special effects epic are subjected to a nonstop barrage of unpleasantness such as violence and rape – both threatened and real. The movie sports a “fight back” feminist message, but it comes across as phony.

After all, this is also a movie in which the supposedly feminist heroines are dressed up as hookers by its director. Actress Emily Browning’s outfit is particularly egregious and almost borderline pedophiliac, much like a lot of those anime drawings of underage girls in scanty outfits that are so disturbing at so many levels for Westerners.

On the other hand, all the male characters – with one notable exception – in Sucker Punch are either sleazeballs and scumbuckets who are all too eager to exploit and degrade women.

So which is it? Does Sucker Punch hate men or women the most? The jury may still be out (although we lean towards the movie being misogynist), but the consensus seems to be that Sucker Punch hates its audience the most.

Although it has become de rigueur to knock director Zack Snyder lately we have never had any particular issue with most of his output, namely the Dawn of the Dead remake, 300, Watchmen and Legends of the Guardians. That is, until now. Based on an “original” story by Snyder himself, Sucker Punch isn’t a remake or based on any book or graphic novel.

With no decent source material to fall back onto, Sucker Punch reveals just how empty and shallow Snyder’s directorial style really is. It is all flash and no substance. The thin storyline is Sucker Punch’s biggest problem. There isn’t much here to wrap a 127 minutes (the extended version) long movie around: a young girl (Browning) inadvertently kills her younger sister whilst trying to protect her from their predatory stepfather. (Barely ten minutes into the movie and we already have our first attempted rape!)

Browning’s character (named Baby Doll!) is carted off to an insane asylum for her efforts. Here she, with her help of some fellow female inmates, tries to escape. Each step in their not-so elaborate escape plan is told via a special effects heavy fantasy sequence set to loud rock music covers of over-familiar songs in which Baby Doll imagines herself to be a machinegun-toting sex object inspired by computer games and anime.

These fantasy sequences, the movie wants us to believe, is Baby Doll’s way of escaping an unpleasant reality. But just whose fantasies are they? The director’s or the character’s? Would a molested woman re-imagine herself as a vacant action heroine from a PSP game, or is it just the director who has to sell movie tickets to a largely male twentysomething audience?

That is the biggest problem with Sucker Punch: it tackles some weighty issues such as the exploitation of women by men, but is simply too lightweight and shallow to properly deal with those issues in any meaningful way. Instead one just feels icky for watching a movie that mixes male masturbatory fantasies with gritty scenes of violence against women . . .

The special effects sequences may have been the ones most used in the marketing material to sell the movie, but they are also the movie’s weakest aspect. Over-stylized and CGI heavy they are devoid of any real thrills and suspense. In fact whatever thrills Sucker Punch may contain are set in the “real” world instead. In the end they just come across as overblown music videos instead of action sequences.

THE DISCS: This set contains three discs: two Blu-rays and one DVD. The original 110 minute theatrical version of the movie is contained on one Blu-ray whilst the extended 127 minutes cut is contained on the other Blu-ray. The DVD only contains the theatrical cut with a digital copy you can watch on iTunes or Windows Media. Sucker Punch is however such a special effects heavy movie that I cannot imagine anyone wanting to watch it on a tiny computer screen.

Special features are particularly sparse and come across as marketing material instead of anything else. There are a few animated shorts and a brief talking heads bit about how swell the soundtrack is. The so-called “maximum movie mode” hyped on the box cover only works with BD-Live and our home entertainment system didn’t have the required specs for it. Would it really have been such a hassle to include it on the discs instead of having it float around on the Internet somewhere?

A note: there was a time when Warner Blu-rays would simply start playing on our somewhat antiquated Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray disc player. Now one spends quite some time looking at startup screens waiting for the Sucker Punch disc to load. The Blu-ray also comes with a “if this disc doesn’t play properly on your player, then it is your own damn fault for having an old machine” warning. It is this arrogance on the part of both the studios and technology companies that sours one on the whole Blu-ray “revolution” along with their insistence on regional coding. So does one have to buy a new Blu-ray player if one were to move to another country? I’m sure Sony would love one to do just that . . .



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).