Friday, November 05, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Sucker Punch"

This goes out to anyone who caught the Sucker Punch trailer and anyone who cares about women as action heroes. Which, as you know, The Film Experience does. Unfortunately caring about something and enjoying it in practice are two different things. In practice there are so many things that can go wrong...

The trailer begins with an abused girl fights back set-up (a blouse ripped off and a  button flying in slo-mo. Suggested rape as your opening gambit? Distasteful). Emily Browning is playing the lead role of "Baby Doll" and reading the summaries, I see something about a lobotomy? Is that why the performance looks so sleepy/blank? Not promising. But soon enough Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone appear and seem to be channeling the kind of badass bitch energy that films like this need as life blood. They're both good actresses and I'm especially curious to see Abbie let loose given that I've mostly seen her in heavy dramas, corseted or otherwise.

There's some sort of Matrix like plot where reality is not reality... but we're in Baby Doll's imagination instead which, as it turns out, is like a parodic version of the imagination of a teenage boy: in her alternate reality, she's a master swordswoman / hooker who fights giant samurais, robots, zombies, aircraft, and dragons. She's backed up by a whole army of interchangeable blonde sex workers with machine guns.

Who knew that hookers were criminally insane, that their imaginations were so similar to teen boys, or that their favorite movies were Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Beowulf and 300?

On the other hand...


You wants us to watch the über watchable CARLA GUGINO doing a funky accent while ruling over a posse of criminally insane burlesque backup dancers? I mean... hells yeah. Count me in... as long as the movie is so bad it's good and knows how absolutely stoopid it is. (Past history suggests, unfortunately, that Zach Snyder is way too earnest a filmmaker to do justice to the ridiculous content of his movies. And Dawn of the Dead showed such promise, damnit.)

Summaries of Sucker Punch's confusing "girl retreats into imaginary universe to escape her wicked father" storyline, suggest that Carla is one of the villains. But in the trailer, she seems to be playing Laurence Fishburne's "Morpheus"" to Browning's idiot cousin version of "Neo." I have a loftier film icon in mind for Carla's gifts: Can't someone give her her own Cristal (Showgirls) level "Goddess" role soon. Time is running out.  'She's gettin a little old for that whorey look.'

Are you a yes, no or maybe so? 

I'm leaning hell no unless I hear that the lively cast of supporting actresses are fun enough to redeem the non-entity central role -- if this trailer is indication (let's hope it's not) Browning has only three expressions in her arsenal: scared, constipated, braindead. Can the fun cast make any kind of impression amongst the visual chaos/violent excess of Zach Snyder's sexual fantasies Baby Doll's imagination?

Related articles: Watchmen review
Action Heroine blog-a-thon
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20 comments:

Alex D said...

Ughh, I was willing to overlook the vague, ridiculous plot from the first trailer because I'm a sucker for Snyder's brand of hyper-stylism (?). But I'm very disheartened after this second trailer and more detailed synopsis.

eduardo said...

even with that cast is a no. Maybe when it comes out on dvd and there's nothing else to watch (but i really doubt it)

Volvagia said...

I'll wait for the reviews.

hollywoodyaan said...

It's a nice trailer and the film will rocks

Dimitra said...

Yes. Looks fun to me.

Deborah said...

I'm leaning Hell No. There's a Jon Hamm involvement, but Zack Snyder is a ponderous hack, and this movie seems far more interested in false eyelashes and fake CGI than anything worth sinking your teeth into.

thehumansaredead said...

It looks pretty bad. Will I watch it?...probably. Gugino can get me to watch pretty much anything but I'll probably wait for the dvd.

JA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JA said...

I actually like all of Snyder's films so far - yes even Watchmen, for the most part - and was excited about this movie in theory way back when... course way back when it was rumored to star Amanda Seyfried and Emma Stone. But something about the trailers is leaving me really cold and I can't really figure out what it is. It might be what you pin-pointed Nat, that being Bronwing's lifeless Barbie attitude. Hopefully we'll see more life from her in the movie. But in the end there's no doubt in my mind that I will see this in the theater, to me it's one of those ones that demands that. But as of this point it's because of a sense of (ridiculous, by the way) duty, and not enthusiasm. Although it is still FIVE MONTHS until this movie comes out so who knows by then.

vatz said...

Zack Snyder + a cast of females = An Actressexual's nightmare.

No thanks.

Robert said...

A few years back I probably would have grumbled about this film having something to do with fanboy tastes and the decline of art.

But I think I've lightened up. Of course I'd like to see a movie where scantily clad babes fight monsters.

The problem lies in Snyder, and Nathaniel your assessment was spot-on. Such a movie should be fun. If I had any hope that this film would be fun, I might look forward to it as a guilty pleasure. But it won't be. Meh.

Mierzwiak said...

After first trailer I was YES, after the second I'm maybe so/no.

Erich Kuersten said...

I LOVE the Dawn of the Dead remake, Zach Watchmen Snyder did that? Who'd of thought the guy who did the most tasteful zombie birth scene EVER was such a stealth misogynist?

Of course even I got called a misogynist when I accused WATCHMEN's lesbian double homicide "Times they are changing" opening of unconsciously endorsing that what it consciously seeks to decry.

From the sound of it, this seems like BITCH-SLAP divided by Dollhouse and Matrix 4

Mirko said...

Like Gina, Carla won't never be too old for that whorey look ;-)
but I agree that she deserves THE ROLE of her career
maybe a DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS new version, since Gugino was acclaimed as the leading lady whe she played it on stage

Volvagia said...

Also: Yes, the degree to which this is the director's sex fantasy is ridiculous. But I'll say this: His film is a segment of what could be an unusually strong Q1 2011.

Henry said...

I liked the trailer. I'm a cautious Yes.

pomme said...

YES for the female casting
NO for the director
but i say YES because i love badass girls

Mysjkin said...

After seeing the first trailer I was a cautious Yes, loving the asylum setting and the promise of a kick-ass female cast. Now that I've seen the second trailer, I'm more of a Maybe so. There seem to be too many elements here; the harsh reality vs the sword-wielding fantasy escape I get (however teenboy gameish the latter may look), but where does the burlesque fit in? It's, as always, great to see Carla Gugino, but what is she doing there? Surely Scott Glenn is the Morpheus (or Bill?) of this movie? Ah, I am fast talking myself in to a No here!

BBats said...

SCOTT GLENN!!!!

SillySarah said...

I think this film is going to be one of those films which is so bad it's good!! The over the top make-up is kinda weird/distracting!