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Sucker Punch

a film by Zack Snyder

I really wanted to like Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch. I really really did. Between my enjoyment of both the director's Dawn of the Dead remake and his Watchmen adaptation (the noticeable exclusion of his 300 is meant to stand out) and, as the wanton rebel, wishing to be the odd man out amongst my critical compatriots who have come together to (rightfully) pan the film, but alas, this was not to happen. To put it bluntly, this movie is just god-awful. This thing is bad. This thing is M. Night Shyamalan bad - and that is pretty fucking bad.

Even with its somewhat intriguing opening that preyed upon my desires and gave me false hope for this strange and mournful film (to borrow and paraphrase a line from Paul Simon) Snyder's movie collapses, and collapses quick, into a gnarled, over-convoluted mash-up of sci-fi spectacle, martial arts throw down and school girl porno (albeit in the most dickteasingly PG-13 manner). Seemingly tossed together by a bunch of hormone-addled teenage boys after a night of D&D and circle jerks, Sucker Punch may not only be Snyder's worst film yet (whatever its faults, 300 at least seemed to have an end goal in mind - an exit strategy if you will) but also the inevitable evolution of a director more mesmerized by the pixilated hoots and hollers of CGI than either storytelling or filmmaking.

When the ADD-addled auteur gave us his Dawn of the Dead retooling, this already evident signature style of hyperactive audacity worked in the movie's favour, acting as an artistic sideline to the movie itself and allowing a constant fear of attack to hover throughout. Snyder has since progressed deeper and deeper into a style that has nearly forsaken storytelling in favour of slo-mo CGI set pieces and sudden outbursts of maniacal greenscreen action. Granted, Watchmen had a story to tell and Snyder tells it well - even through his warped lens - but with Sucker Punch the idea of story has gone so far out the proverbial window that one can only imagine what the moviemaker was thinking when he came up with and co-penned what may very well be the outright dumbest screenplay since the aforementioned M. Night handed us The Last Airbender.

Sure, perhaps for a certain portion of the audience, there is a bit of titillation in seeing Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone dressed like their boyhood fantasies, dolled up in plaid skirts, knee socks, leather, fishnets and bared midriffs (really, other than for pure wood factor, there is absolutely no sound reason to have these girls dressed the way they are dressed!) and I suppose many of this same said portion (that Ain't-it-Cool crowd) would be inclined to get off watching the other inanities in the movie (a story that contradicts itself over and over again; nonsensical fight scenes that play out in videogame vignettes; ridiculously cliche'd one-liner words of zen-bullshit from war guru Scott Glenn in what very well may be his most ludicrous role ever; giant CGI monsters that look every inch CGI; pedophiliac rape fantasy porn; blatant lesbian-baiting; the most immature ideas of sex and violence), but let's face it people, this is just a god-awful piece of movie making - no matter how you look at it.

But I suppose enough is enough. I am not even going to bother an attempt at explaining what this movie is supposed to be about and what is happening inside of it (to be honest, I am not sure I can) nor am I going to go on bashing a movie that has already bashed itself by merely existing in the state it exists in, but instead, just leave and move onto the next movie down the line. I do hope though (yet fear it may be a lost cause) that Snyder has not become the new M. Night Shyamalan, and thereby having each subsequent release be worse than the last, because that would be just god-awful indeed. [04/04/11]

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