Grae Drake
Sucker Punch Review

Grae's Rating:


Too big for its own bedazzled britches.

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

The Basics: Let's see…how to explain this movie? Baby Doll (Browning) gets thrown in a mental institution by her horrible, abusive stepfather. Then what happens after that is anyone's guess. I think she is so distraught at being locked up unjustly that she retreats into some kind of fantasy world where girls only wear really awesome bustiers and thigh-highs and fly through the air with machine guns. It's layers upon layers upon layers of not story, but...what's the word? Oh right. Production design.

What's The Deal: This movie is very stylistic and well-designed. It's dark, grungy, and even the girls running around in sparkly panties look tired and dusty. Everyone's eyeliner is smeared, and the chaise lounges sag and beg to be reupholstered. The computer-generated images in the film are pretty spectacular, ranging from robots to dragons to samurai, and there's lots of fire and flying kicks. If that's all you want in your films, you will be in fishnet and garter heaven (aka Courtney Love Heaven). However, if you need any inkling of motivated behavior or a plot point that makes sense, skip this film, because there are very few to be found. The film is like if you asked your hippest aunt to make you a quilt of cool things like fantasy fighting, half-naked girls, and covers of good songs, but she got distracted by her unemployed drummer boyfriend asking for cigarette money and the cat barfing up her hemp necklace, so it just turned out to be a poncho of sadness that your friends didn't even bother making fun of you for wearing.

Where Do I Begin? The movie is filled with points that you have to double suspend your already-suspended disbelief for, making it a really difficult to appreciate anything in it--especially because the movie repeats the same pattern at every beat. Once Baby Doll has a vision of what five items she needs to find in order to escape her captors, it goes like this: She stares vacantly into space, swaying like you would on a boat in rough seas. A creepy cover of a song I like begins to play really loudly. Then, without us seeing her "amazing dancing" that is distracting everyone so much from noticing the thieving hookers rifling through their pockets, she and her girlfriends destroy (insert name of fantastical nemesis here). They return to the real world and celebrate in a subdued, broken-down-orphan kind of way, and then the whole process starts over. No time was spent telling a story that engaged me emotionally. It doesn't have to be Paddy Chayefsky--but to give us nothing? I was almost insulted. And then someone's thigh-highs twinkled and I forgot how outraged I was for another three minutes.

What Does It All Mean? I found myself wondering why this movie is called Sucker Punch. Is it because when you pay for a ticket, this movie assaults you before you even have a chance to finish your first mouthful of popcorn? Or possibly because we owe screenwriters Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya a punch in the gut for giving studios an argument against making movies from completely original material?


Comments (17)

jb - 3-25-2011 5:35 PM
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Great review- I especially like What's The Deal. You're a great addition to the team!

Dennis - 3-26-2011 12:59 AM
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As hard as it is to believe, I think they've finally found a movie critic that equals and sometimes betters Dave White in entertainment. Great job so far, I love reading your reviews. Despite reading these reviews for about 6 years or so this is the first time I've been compelled to post and that was to compliment you on the job you're doing. Bravo and please keep it up.

Unknown - 3-26-2011 12:07 PM
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Review Buster, it would be great to comment on the movie without telling all the key points, in case some people haven't seen the movie that just came out the day before. Seriously.

Rodd - 3-26-2011 3:37 PM
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Sombody needs to rate you two!!!! F

MizFit29 - 3-26-2011 6:01 PM
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I actually went and saw this movie and i thought the movie was absolutley awesome. I think that people forget that when you go to the movies you dont want to think you want to enjoy yourself. So therefore I RECOMMEND this movie to anyone who is looking for a good time.

chase - 3-27-2011 12:29 AM
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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.

Hammerhead - 3-27-2011 12:13 PM
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It's called Sucker Punch because Snyder thought it sounded cool. Just like everything else in the movie (from dragons to burlesques) - it has nothing to do with nothing, and is there just because. Kill Bill + Cabaret x tons of geek sh*t - a story = Sucker Punch.

tasha - 3-27-2011 3:49 PM
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If you pay attention to the story! Awesome movie! Never let a cirtics opinion, decide what you watch!

Russ - 3-27-2011 5:09 PM
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I'm honestly stumped at people complaining about their being no story in this movie. It's tempting to say they weren't paying attention but just had a preconceived notion of the movie going it. There is absolutely a story, you just have to look for it a little. Granted it's not Grapes of Wrath, but it was lots more fun.

Maddog - 3-28-2011 12:31 PM
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It was a fun film, pure & simple. There was a story there, too bad people have to have everything spoonfeed to them.

ha - 3-28-2011 11:59 PM
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if it was a R rated film it would have been better. This movie was somewhat good but somewhat horrible. Plot was awesome but needs to be better directed with mindblowing concepts therefore it was dull

Norbury Garage - 6-17-2011 10:46 AM
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Yeh..there IS a's just soooo utterly lame.

jaime - 6-24-2011 9:49 PM
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This movie could have been so much better. It had all the right elements for a great movie, but what they did with those elements failed. If it would have been directed differently, perhaps it would have had a better story.

Robert Paulsen - 6-28-2011 2:03 PM
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I like your review on Sucker Punch but I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I can’t wait to see this movie again because I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. Personally I think that Sucker Punch is one of the best fantasy/action movies that have come out lately. If you haven’t seen it you definitely should. One way you can see it is by using Blockbuster Online. As a DISH Network customer and employee I can tell you that right now if you switch to DISH Network you can get Blockbuster Online FREE for 3 months! There are over 100,000 titles to choose from like Sucker Punch, TV shows and games you can get through the mail. Plus you can get 5 in-store exchanges per month with no due dates or late fees. More info online at

trout - 6-28-2011 11:14 PM
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Dumb dumb dumb. Remember, this is the guy who changed the ending of Watchmen because he didn't understand it.

Jenn - 8-01-2013 2:06 AM
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I remember seeing this movie, and being horrified at the child prostitution aspect. I suggest you re-watch this film and pay attention , because it goes way deeper and an ugly kind of darker than what you propose to be the plot. It does start out partly with her abusive uncle trying to get Browning's character thrown into the psych ward( also run by a very crooked friend of the uncle's) but part of the reason she retreats inside her own head has to do with her guilty feelings about her sister's death, and her impending lobotomy, all to keep secret what happened. We actually don't see her again in the real world until just a few seconds before the ice pick hits home; all of the rest of the movie are various levels of mental escape, the deep

Jenn - 8-01-2013 2:17 AM
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(Continued from previous post) The deepest level also being the coolest-looking. HOW you could not feel for Browning's character is the real issue; she has to retreat so far back into her own imagination that the viewer even forgets for a time that she's actually about to be lobotomized for knowing what she does, and there's no one left to defend her. Everything beyond that fact is an incredible mental escape. Like I mentioned in the first part it made me sick that even in her imagined escape she is being threatened with rape. As far as not seeing her dance, I assumed it would be much like the fighting moves she uses in those vivid fantasies.

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