March 25, 2011 in Features

‘Sucker Punch’ barely leaves an impression

Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel
 

Emily Browning portrays Baby Doll, left, and Oscar Isaac plays Blue Jones in a scene from “Sucker Punch.”
(Full-size photo)

Ever since “300,” Zack Snyder has been the darling of the Warner Bros. lot, left to try his hand at the most famous graphic novel adaptation of all (“Watchmen”) and anointed the savior of the “Superman” franchise.

But with “Sucker Punch,” Warner gave him not just free rein, but his own petard. And he hoists himself by it.

An unerotic, unthrilling erotic thriller in the video-game mold, “Sucker Punch” is “The Last Airbender” with bustiers. Snyder rounded up five of the most buxom young actresses in the biz, who give five of the flattest performances ever in a humorless quest fantasy about inmates trying to escape from an insane asylum.

I’d quote a witty line or two, if the script (co-written by Snyder) had any. I’d mention the emotional peaks if the movie managed one.

“Sucker Punch” is a flatly played, flat-looking exercise in green-screen filmmaking, “Sin City” without the sin.

Emily Browning plays a young heiress committed to Lennox House by a hateful, nameless guardian who framed her for the murder of her sister. There, she takes the (striptease) dancing cure of a Polish psychotherapist (Carla Gugino) and joins four other young women in an escape that they plan to carry out in an alternate reality.

Scott Glenn is the “Wise Man” who gives “Baby Doll” – as Browning’s character is known – the marching orders for her quest. She must obtain five talismans to escape, and has five days to get out before a lobotomy is administered (by Jon Hamm of TV’s “Mad Men”).

So she enlists Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and Amber (Jamie Chung), her fellow dancer/hooker/inmates, to join her.

Every time Baby Doll “dances” her super erotic bump and grind for the paying customers, the five of them turn up in a different battle zone of their imaginations – a World War I battlefield with steam-powered German zombies, zeppelins and a battle machine straight out of “Robocop”; a medieval fortress siege with dragons; and an oddly configured WWII bomber.

They pull out their samurai swords and Navy SEALs machine guns and mow down whoever is in the way of their map, their key, what have you.

These furies in fishnet stockings are neither convincing substitutes for Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill” (plainly an inspiration) nor involving characters. At times, their digitally enhanced battles look like state of the art (circa 2005) video game graphics.

Scantily attired, they still aren’t sexy. In mortal danger, they still aren’t sympathetic.

The only “Sucker Punch” here is to your wallet, if you pay non-matinee prices for this. Just be grateful it wasn’t in 3-D.


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