Saturday, October 22, 2011

Not Really a Horror Film...

Sucker Punch (2011):  The strangest, baddest, most kick-ass action movie you've never heard of.  The tag line on the poster is not a will be unprepared.  I sure as hell was.  Ever heard of the film 300 or maybe Watchmen?  Yeah, same director (Zack Snyder).  And here's the horror connection...he also directed the remake of Dawn of the Dead.  The title, I think, is an inside joke.  It has nothing to do with the movie itself, rather it has everything to do with describing how it will affect you.  Seriously, you will feel sucker punched. 

What's it all about?  Jeez, I'm not even going to try.  Besides, it would spoil the fun.  Let me put it this way, Sucker Punch is part Girl Interrupted, part Lord of the Rings, part Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, part I, Robot, part Flyboys, and part Charlie's Angels.  Now, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "Self, this guy's full of shit."  Sorry, but I'm not.  Oh, almost forgot...and part Moulin Rouge.  Yep.  This one's trippy, and yet it works so amazingly well.

Well, I guess you need to know a few things.  A young woman, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) tries to save her younger sister and herself from their abusive stepfather, who killed their mom for her money, but it goes horribly wrong.  Baby Doll gets locked up in an insane asylum and the stepfather makes a deal with the head orderly to ensure she never gets out with an unscrambled brain.  After this...all bets are off on what's real, what's not, and what's really not.  You kind of know, but then don't, and eventually you'll say, "I knew it the whole time."  Liar.  Ultimately, it doesn't matter one tiny bit.  What matters are the eye-popping, jaw-dropping, mind-boggling, "how the hell did they do that" action sequences.  They're odd and come out of nowhere, and also have Scott Glenn doing his Charlie thing in all of them.  Glenn is excellent but has too little screen time.  He makes the most of it though as the nameless wise man.  And the music.  Lord, I almost forgot about the music.  Okay...I'll stop gushing now. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  They turned the knob to 11 but didn't stray into camp or ham.  Captivating.  Yes, pun intended.
Story:  Um...the dude must have sprinkled LSD on his corn flakes before sitting down to write this. 
Direction:  See above.  Simply astonishing.
Production Values:  With a budget of $82 million, that's not a worry.  I'd be willing to wager over half of it went to the CGI folks.  Maybe two-thirds...
Gore/FX:  There's some blood but the real story is the special effects.  Best I've ever seen.  And I've seen a lot.  On par with what the WETA people churned out for Lord of the Rings.  No joke.
The Ending:  A surprise that's not really a surprise.  I liked it.

The Verdict:  Should you-  Yes!  Absolutely, yes!  See it!  Ahem.  Um...yeah, I do recommend Sucker Punch.  Just a little.  It's a bizarre, tense, thrilling ride.  And it's the first film I've seen in recent memory where I wanted to watch it again immediately.  So, go.  Enjoy.  Thank me later.  I'll be here.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

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