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Laramie Movie Scope:
Sucker Punch

Scantily-clad babes with guns

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 26, 2011 -- This is a somewhat disappointing film from one of Hollywood's leading geeks, Zach Snyder, director of “Dawn of the Dead,” “300” and “Watchmen.” His latest film, “Sucker Punch,” produces a level of excitement along the lines of his previous film, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.” Despite a lot of action and scantily-clad hot young women, it lacks a compelling story. It is a simplistic shoot-em-up revenge fantasy that is somewhat slow-moving and is a lot skimpier on actual revenge than it is on women's clothing.

The main characters in this movie are all good-looking women who are dressed like hookers in drag, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) Rocket (Jena Malone) Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) Amber (Jamie Chung) and the insane asylum Doctor, Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino). Despite all the gun-toting fantasies involved in this film, and there are plenty of those, these women are all relentlessly abused, physically and mentally, by the male staff of the insane asylum where they are being housed. The story unfolds on both fantasy and reality levels, and the two levels merge at times.

Baby Doll, who witnesses the murder of her younger sister at the hands of her abusive father, is put in an insane asylum by her father where the corrupt staff agree to lobotomize her for a fee. The asylum also utilizes the patients for purposes of prostitution and strip shows, unless that is also a fantasy. It is pretty obvious that Baby Doll is worth a lot more money as a non-lobotomized dancer and prostitute, but this movie is not about reality. It is more of a teen masochistic wet dream. Baby Doll needs to escape the asylum before her scheduled lobotomy. She devises a plan with the aid of a mysterious wise man (played by veteran actor Scott Glenn of “Secretariat”) who exists both in the dream state and in real life. The escape is dependent on Baby Doll and her companions completing a quest to find four objects, a map, a knife, a cigarette lighter, a key and a mysterious fifth item.

The acquisition of each of these items is accomplished simultaneously in the real world, and in a fantasy world where each object is acquired in a military-style commando mission with the girls are armed with guns and swords. Their costumes are the bare minimum for hot weather. The fantasy sequences are impressive, with soldiers, robots, monsters and dragons. None of these foes has any personality whatever. The main characters also don't have much depth. Every character is a throwaway part in this story. Since there isn't any substantial attempt the lay the groundwork for emotional investment in any of these characters, it is a pretty empty film. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2011 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)