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:: Sucker Punch

After a violent dust-up with her greedy stepfather, kindly ingénue Babydoll (Emily Browning) is wrongly sent to a mental institution, where she falls under the watch of a sadistic warden. There, she concocts fantastical scenarios in her head that transport her from a medieval castle to a galactic metropolis to an ancient Japanese temple, all in a quest to escape her captors.

The captured young woman is in this so-called institution - a strip club-brothel and front for illegal activities. Girls dance for the patrons and then give extra service in the back rooms. Blue (Oscar Isaac) is their manager/owner/capturer and he runs the place with an iron fist. When Baby Doll first has to dance, we are again transported into another world. In this version of reality she is a fierce warrior. Guided by a mystic (Scott Glenn), Baby Doll is told that to vanquish her foes she must find five different elements. Those relics are a map, fire, knife, key and a mystery piece. In order to achieve freedom she must form a team. She's joined by four fellow inmates (played by Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung), who help her track down these relics.

The film is style over substance, all crazy and big without any meat. Most of the time, the female cast is dressed as if they were rejects from FHM magazine – in short skirts, high hose and lingerie. All the puffy hair and silly costumes are in tangent to the world of drag queens. The actual production is impressive with a world that is never set in any solid decade. Parts are from the 1950’s while we get battles from both world wars. The mishmash of styles gives Sucker Punch a unique look that never quite finds a base.

The actresses in Sucker Punch are more pawns, meaning just about any actress in Hollywood could have been placed in this CGI world. They all are just background for all the fancy kung-fu and electronic effects. This film is more of a ride and solid acting is not required. More like a video game, the best parts are the mayhem and destruction. It is like cotton candy – a big fluffy confection that eventually dissolves into a small slimy mess.

It almost goes without saying that the visuals are impacting. I don’t know if there’s a film director working now who can combine live action chaos and computer generated mayhem as well and as seamlessly as Zack Snyder can. The movie looks great, but this is something one could have predicted. One can sum up “Sucker Punch” by saying that the film is a collection of spectacular action set pieces and violence featuring scantily clad young women wrapped around it. Therefore, Snyder has connected fully with the teenage boy bracket who will “get” the story more than adults might.