Dave White
Sucker Punch Review

Dave's Rating:


Don't be suckered.

Who's In It: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn

The Basics: A teenage girl named "Babydoll" (Browning) who finds herself locked in an institution for "the mentally insane" by her evil stepfather--after she retaliates for his attack on her younger sister--is prepped for an involuntary lobotomy. While she waits to be neutralized, she goes on a mystical battle-quest in her mind that mirrors her heroic inmate-liberating actions within the walls of the hospital/jail. But in order to get there, she also has to straddle a middle layer of unreality, one where she's part of a team of burlesque show/brothel babes (all sporting pole-dancer names like Sweet Pea, Rocket and Amber) who're plotting their own escape from sexual slavery. Think Scott Pilgrim vs. the World plus push-up bras and minus the wit.

What's The Deal: A long time ago Jean Luc Godard said that all you needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun. And what this film proves is that it would help your cause if your project also happened to be directed by the 1962 version of Luc Godard. Because there's no recent example of an action/adventure/thriller that came along noisily trumpeting its shiny features any louder than this one is doing with so little to show for it. On paper it's all win-win-win: girls, guns, knives, robots, dragons, zombies, zeppelins, swords, fighter planes, monks, giants, roller-coastery space-trains, fire, kicking, Pixies and Stooges songs, PVC bustiers, sky-high hair and every other conceivable item of foxy chick-centric fetish gear any self-pleasuring anime-obsessed fanboy could ask for. It's as loud as you want it to be and as hyperactively digital as anything else in 2011, but director/writer Snyder has turned his supervixen heroine into a blank-faced sex doll. In fact, it seems like he intentionally gave star Emily Browning no emotional direction to turn, confining her in a cell that's colder than the computers they used to make everything you see on screen.

Devil's Advocate Time: Let's say that Zack Snyder intended something more than what wound up in the final product. Maybe he intended for X to equal something greater than X, that the film is meant to be read as being about the caging of young women rather than simply exploiting that cage to better show off their boobs. But if that's the case, then why must the main character retreat into a passive state of imaginary cosplay to get the job done? Why is her real world action invisible to the viewer? Why do none of these women have any personality outside of whatever associations their cute stripper names happen to invoke? Why does it seem like the women in 1939's The Women have more actual power by association?

The Context(s) In Which It Will Do The Most Good In The World: When a) it eventually becomes the video game it was always intended to be and b) when it's used in some future college film class as an example of why it's ultimately unwise to get too riled up about fantasy exploitation when fake-real-life garbage like any Katherine Heigl-starring romantic comedy is much more insidious and toxic.

Finally, What's Not Horrible: That big laundry list of goofy fun stuff I mentioned earlier really does look pretty cool. And if you're not in the mood to think past the movie's offer of nonstop empty sensation, you could wind up enjoying the visual assault.


Comments (42)

Hamza - 3-24-2011 6:26 PM
Flag This Comment

I'm disappointed, this showed promise, mainly because of Zack Snyder.

Jonathon - 3-24-2011 6:47 PM
Flag This Comment

I am so utterlly baffled about whether or not to see this movie. I had no hopes the story would be great or the characters memorable. I thought maybe by some stroke of luck, or if some amazing team worked on the film, then yes those things could be true. But I want to see Sucker Punch for the visuals, for the action. You seem to mention that it is visually somewhat impressive at least, but is it worth the price of admission if I had no expectation of thoughtful storytelling?

Ghoullio - 3-24-2011 7:28 PM
Flag This Comment

I dunno. It's getting rotten reviews. I got suckered by Battle: Los Angeles. I was hoping for something more seeing how it's Zack Snyder AND I've been waiting for over a year to see it...I'm hoping the reviewers are just snobs coming off the Academy Award season. Is it Kings Speech? no. Is it Black Swan? No. I'm just hoping their wrong. I also want to know if any nudity/swearing is in it. I'm considering taking my kids but it all depends on the content...

common sense - 3-24-2011 10:19 PM
Flag This Comment

if ghoulio chooses to let his kids watch it then fine. what diff does it make to u? i wonder why ur giving any amount of s**t ab wha some random persons kids watch, let alone type a paragraph ab it..go preach somewhere else.

No Name - 3-25-2011 12:29 AM
Flag This Comment

Meh I'll still watch it anyway and end up enjoying it in the end.

announcer - 3-25-2011 6:55 AM
Flag This Comment


Jaces - 3-25-2011 9:01 AM
Flag This Comment

Of Snyders 3 movies he's made none of them have had great reviews, Watchmen averaging 56 and 300 51 on metacritic. So far Sucker Punch has averaged a 31 which is indeed lower but I'd hope that most people who saw the trailer where going crazy for the visuals and action and not really expecting an award winning story to go with it. Very rarely does that happen. I'm going to see this movie for everything but a story and character development, does that make my choice of movies poor? Nope, only shows that I'm like any other person out there who enjoys those movies that are made for nothing but pure entertainment and this looks to get the job done 5 times over.

trey - 3-25-2011 9:26 AM
Flag This Comment

I agree.. Snyder's movies don't seem to be reviewed well, but I've enjoyed all of them.. When I saw the trailer for this movie I didn't say to myself, "wow what an engaging story." I said, "looks like I'll get my 10 bucks worth in action." I really wish the studio hadn't come down on him and made him make it pg-13 though

nIgel Octavious - 3-25-2011 11:33 AM
Flag This Comment

@Ghoullio. I'm totally with common sense here. This movie just looks like a big pack of stupid loud violent mindless action with no real plot purpose. It would be a waste of time for you and a nightmare for your kids.

Neo2627 - 3-25-2011 11:57 AM
Flag This Comment

Quit reading so much into 'one' review! Go to this film with a open mind.Get a coke, a bucket of pop-corn, and enjoy!

boo - 3-25-2011 12:09 PM
Flag This Comment


Greg - 3-25-2011 12:24 PM
Flag This Comment

@Neo2627. I like your style and attitude. As far as Snyder's movies go, I hated 300 and never watched it again. Watchmen was different though, I didn't care for it too much, but then I watched it again a few years later and enjoyed it thoroughly. I have learned not to let movie critics influence my opinion. If I want to see a movie, I will go see it because I want to. Some of the poorest reviewed movies are some of the best movies in my opinion. Let's just hope Snyder doesn't butcher the Superman reboot.

brydup - 3-25-2011 2:41 PM
Flag This Comment

If you expect anything other than really awesome video-game, manga, Matrix style graphics and action (and they were REALLY awesome) you're kidding yourself. I knew what I was getting into and thoroughly enjoyed it. Let's not pretend Snyder put this out as an Oscar vehicle.

Matthew Vinson - 3-25-2011 3:03 PM
Flag This Comment

Damn. I had high hopes for this one. Looks like it is another piece of not-so-delicious candy coated crap.

MEEfO - 3-25-2011 4:20 PM
Flag This Comment

Do yourself a favor, skip this and see Park Chan-Wook's I'm a Cyborg and That's OK. Also about a girl in an asylum straddling reality/ unreality while fighting to escape. It's visually more gorgeous than this digital nightmare and actually directed and performed with a soul and emotional core, not to mention a biting satiric wit. IF you've seen Oldboy you know this director's aesthetic.

Jaime - 3-25-2011 5:21 PM
Flag This Comment

If you're undecided whether to watch the movie or not...just go watch it. It's only ten dollars or twenty depending if you take a date or not.

luke - 3-25-2011 8:46 PM
Flag This Comment

I agree, I see this film being much of what a lot of today's flicks are, a visual feast with no dialog or quality acting. Just like the new Clash of the Titans redo. I think Hollywood makes money with all the CGI and hype than they do focusing on the script and acting. The draw us in with the visual affects and leave us blue bawled.

Dave White Buster - 3-26-2011 8:52 AM
Flag This Comment

...own. The great story-telling element that Dave White finds missing is one he cannot see in his dim-wittedness. It is Sweet Pea's alternate-reality that we are watching unfold on the screen from the point where she locks eyes with BabyDoll in the hospital theater. We see her version of BabyDoll's escape attempt and the characters in her head are larger-than-life people she has met in reality in the hospital. It is as BabyDoll mutters in the final dream sequence after they both "escape" from the hospital: "It's not about me". Replay the movie in your head and you will see it's story-telling greatness. Almost Inception-like but less confusing. Don't be suckered by these snobbish reviews.

jono - 3-26-2011 12:25 PM
Flag This Comment

I thought this movie could not fail. Guns, girls swords etc. This review nailed it on the head. I usually give bad movies the benefit of the doubt, and usually think about something good about it. I left the theater with a piece of my soul missing.

Oh so many words in my name why oh why oh why - 3-26-2011 12:41 PM
Flag This Comment

Wow this looks awesome! I can't wait till this comes out... that is until I read the reviews and comments. Mob mentality's got me suckered in again.(Sigh) I'm just one of those people who change my appearance depending on how others judge me.(Cry) I have no opinion!!!(Cry more) -Not Haha!- I've watched it and if you truly are one of those people that don't have an opinion of your own, than just wait for the DVD. Have fun watching :D

chumpypimpjoint - 3-26-2011 1:26 PM
Flag This Comment

I saw this yesterday, most overhyped, boring, idiotic piece of shit ive seen since the blair witch project. do yourself a favor and avoid this abortion.

Mike H - 3-26-2011 3:01 PM
Flag This Comment

I just got back from this movie and am wondering what in the world this critic was thinking when he gave it anything less than 4 stars. If you enjoy stylized action like 300 or Sin City, and have a functioning imagination, you'll thoroughly enjoy this movie.

Marty - 3-26-2011 5:15 PM
Flag This Comment

What difference have awards ever made to the quality of a picture? Here's advice: never, ever use the phrase "well it's not going to be an award winning picture" ever again; please. Anyways, I've yet to see a Snyder that was actually quality. Watchmen was a faithful adaptation minus all of the themes that made the graphic novel so intense; 300 might be his best, but Jesus is it full of self-pleasantry; Dawn of the Dead is a zombie movie, but nothing beyond that. All of his movies are visually sound, everything looks really good. If that actually mattered whether the movie was good or not, then Snyder would be tops. Yet, none of his pictures have any depth whatsoever, the characters are bland, and the movie isn't really about anything.

Conman63 - 3-26-2011 5:51 PM
Flag This Comment

If you go in knowing what it is..summer popcorn movie with some schoolgirl outfit honeys kicking ass...you won't be disappointed!! Saw it today...enjoyed it!! Its like the rest of his films...visually stunning, action packed and not much more!!!

Chase - 3-27-2011 12:27 AM
Flag This Comment

DO NOT see Sucker Punch unless you are purely interested in seeing overly explosive CG with horrible plot and a nonsensical ending that only confirms the awful directing. If you wish to see every fantasy movie rolled up and butchered into a dreamland of idiocy be my guest. Personally, go and watch inception again as this movie is a failed version of it with a lot of boob action.

henry betances - 3-27-2011 9:53 AM
Flag This Comment

I somewhat agree with this review. However, this movie is pure AWSOME ! Trust me, you will enjoy this movie soooo much, until the end. after the movie is over, you will realize that it made NO sense at all. If dont pay attention to the plot, you will enjoy it. Its like, COD:mw2 mixed with Killzone 3 and dead or alive. crazy action, fun movie. watch it high :)

A.J. - 3-27-2011 7:07 PM
Flag This Comment

dont listen to this review if you won't a good action movie (however over the top it might seem) and something with an actually decent story go see this...my gf and i went to see it and she loved as did i!!

Stone22 - 3-28-2011 6:54 AM
Flag This Comment

Awesome fight scenes!! Sick animation!!

MarkA - 3-28-2011 8:58 AM
Flag This Comment

I saw it. Wait for DVD. Despite the awesome action sequences the movie was boring and had zero thrills. "Hokey" comes to mind. And I like Zack Snyder, especially for his great work on the Dawn of the Dead remake.

Yesenia Lopez - 3-28-2011 11:53 AM
Flag This Comment

I saw this movie on Saturday night, despite the awful reviews. I am so glad I saw it!!!! I thinkt his movie is great!!!

Parker - 3-28-2011 7:43 PM
Flag This Comment

I'm sorry, I'm still laughing at Dave White being called "Snobbish." He only like when "stuff is all blowed up" ARTFULLY.

Nadia - 3-29-2011 1:37 AM
Flag This Comment

This movie was like whatever.

MarkA - 3-29-2011 10:08 AM
Flag This Comment

You'll like it if you liked "Transformers 2". That doesn't mean it is a good movie and it says something about your maturity level. 'Nuff said.

underdog15 - 3-29-2011 1:44 PM
Flag This Comment

for those of you who are agreeing with the critics, you're completely missing the purpose of this movie. this movie was made for the sole purpose of the visual effects, action, violence, etc... anyone who expects a decent storyline or character development was completely way off base. i like a good storyline and character development too, but with some movies i go just for the action or effects or as with some horror movies just for the blood and gore.

J.J. McCullen - 3-29-2011 3:48 PM
Flag This Comment

You know I've read a lot of this guys reviews and my take is he needs to be fired because every movie he criticizes I end up liking LOL! This movie or director, for that matter, are not getting the credit they deserve.

Bull - 3-30-2011 12:33 AM
Flag This Comment

Idiots ill love this movie. @ JJ McCullen - you are one of them. Go back my groceries.

Ashley Frederick - 3-30-2011 8:54 AM
Flag This Comment

I love this movie! It was amazing! I don't understand why people are giving it bad reviews. Anyone who has suffered a great tragedy or experienced a traumatic event can understand the idea of escaping to the recesses of your mind. The movie is about finding inner strength in moments that seem hopeless, but most of all it about unexpected heroes in your life that make you realize your own strength. Zack Snyder uses visually stunning fantasy sequences to show audiences what emotional realization of strength might look like, if it was something physical and tangible. I want to say, thank you Mr. Snyder for creating this truly amazing film and I wish you luck in your future projects.

Sam Panico - 3-31-2011 2:24 PM
Flag This Comment

If you like watching someone else play video games and not getting a chance to play, go see this. If you like female empowerment movies where all the females are empowered by becoming sex workers and soldiers in a war without reason alternatively, then are all either raped, shot in the back of the head, stabbed or lobotomized, by all means, go see this movie. If you ever wanted to see a lobotomy scene punctualized with a goth cover of Where Is My Mind in the most ham-fisted manner possible, go see this movie. If you want to see the dumbest, most over-the-top Wizard of Oz reference ever, go see it. If you think platitudes like "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," presented as revelations and not cliches, go see it.

Andrew - 4-01-2011 2:17 PM
Flag This Comment

@Bull if he is suppose to go back your groceries perhaps you need to go bag to school amirite?

TonLoc - 4-02-2011 7:41 PM
Flag This Comment

This movie could have been excellent, all they needed was to remove the dialogue.

Someone who actually knows what a movie is. - 4-18-2011 7:26 PM
Flag This Comment

You guys are all idiots. Not only have half of you not even seen this movie, let alone enough to make proper judgement of it, but to go and say this movie has no story is to say you missed the story entirely. Let me put this out there, this movie had an AMAZING story, BEAUTIFULLY told and in all honesty the masterful cinematography is really just a bonus. This movie as a whole is simply a work of art, and if you're too closed-minded to think for yourself and ignore the bullshit reviews then that's your own fault. And let me say, the visuals are ASTOUNDING. Really, if this movie didn't have a story at all, it would still be incredible. But the fact of the matter is, it does. You're all just too ignorant to appreciate true art when you see it

*sigh* - 4-21-2011 2:35 PM
Flag This Comment

I was talked into seeing this on the spur of the moment with some girlfriends and, for what it's worth, this piece is pretty good at being what it's supposed to be: a lot of shiny, pretty graphics and loud action, with some shock value thrown in. My biggest qualm, far more than the lack of real story, was that I'm really starting to feel that they need trigger warnings for movies like this... I've been sexually assualted before, and I nearly had several full-blown panic attacks over the course of this movie, something that had been hugely improving beforehand. And, now, I've regressed a bit with my recovery. If I had known of *that* type of violent conduct, I would have talked my friends out if seeing it.

Leave a Comment


Dave's recent reviews

All Dave White's Movie Reviews