The high budget, special effect-packed film “Sucker Punch” wowed crowds with aesthetics, but confused the audience with a botched story line and lack of character development.
The film centers around a 20-year-old woman who is admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a her mother dies. She accidentally kills her little sister in an attempt to save her from a crazed step-father.
The hospital turns out to be a front for a brothel-like establishment that treats the unfortunate girls like slaves.
The main character, played by Emily Browning, best known for her role as the eldest sister in 2004’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” is a girl named Baby Doll who is forced to dance in order to survive.
The whole premise of the film is difficult to grasp given that adult women are locked away without any paper trail that could trace their whereabouts.
The film never specifies the time period but it appears to be set sometime in the 1950s. This makes the general story line a little easier to believe, but still not entirely plausible.
In any case, the lack of character development makes it hard to identify or even feel anything towards anyone in the movie except for Baby Doll.
Baby Doll, along with a group of four other women dancers, including a character played by Disney darling Vanessa Hudgens, devises a hopeless plan to escape from the establishment.
As a defense mechanism, the clearly traumatized Baby Doll goes into a fantasy world in her head while dancing her heart out for her keeper and her clients.
The fantasies include her and the other girls dressed scantily while toting guns and explosives, defeating whole armies and various villains.
While it could be argued that the film was advocating ‘girl power’ and standing up for freedom, it is pretty clear that “Sucker Punch” is geared towards those who enjoy half naked women in full makeup engaging in high action situations.
“Sucker Punch” doesn’t do much to inspire girls and women of any age to stand up and fight for themselves. Instead, it instills the idea that the less clothes you wear and the better you dance, the more influence you will have over others.
Browning does her best to be the strong-willed type that wouldn’t offend diehard feminists, but the writers and costume designers made it hard for the young actress. Her character almost never changed out of her skimpy sailor outfit.
Though the absence of depth in the characters is a downfall, perhaps the best part of the film was the least explained character.
An older gentleman, who only appears in the fantasies that Baby Doll creates, acts as a sort of protector for the girls, offering advice and well placed one-liners that engage the audience.
Unfortunately, his character is never explained so the enjoyment the audience may receive from him quickly dissipates when the film comes to an end and crowds still have no clue as to who anyone is.
One thing pure action fans can appreciate is that no nudity cheapened the film, but this unfortunately doesn’t help the plotline make any more sense.
The movie’s special effects and colors are consistent throughout the film, casting a dark, depressing shadow over everything—including the few touching moments.
Fight scenes are well choreographed and it shows how hard the actresses worked for their roles.
Though a clear plot was not the writers’ top priority, the cast gave good performances.
Overall, the film is good for those who are into action and aren’t easily offended by scantily clad women. The special effects are visually appealing and entertaining to watch.
But for those who like to leave a movie feeling like they understood anything about the plotline, the characters, or if you like actors to be fully clothed, “Sucker Punch” is not the film for you.
By the end of the film, everything has become so confusing that the point is lost entirely.
And why was the movie named “Sucker Punch” anyway? There was no sucker punching of any kind.
In my own opinion, audiences got sucker punched into thinking this would be a worthwhile film.