Sucker Punch, Emily Browning

Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Scott Glenn.

From the director of 300 and Watchmen you have a movie about moderately psycho women (they’d have to be) trying to escape a mental institution while simultaneously coping with its insanities by escaping to alternate realities. You’ll either love it or hate it.

First let me tell you that you need to watch this film in IMAX to fully appreciate it. Warner Bros didn’t bother to arrange an IMAX screening of this film for us in Bombay maybe because they thought it was going to get bad reviews anyway, but they should realise that how you view the film is integral to the experience. Just like watching Tron Legacy at the IMAX theatre was a totally out-of-world experience as opposed to watching it in say Metro Big Cinema, watching Sucker Punch in a regular multiplex won’t do it justice. Especially if you’re a fan of this sort of thing.

Babydoll (Browning) is committed against her will by her evil father to a mental institution of questionable credentials. There she meets Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) and formulates a plan to escape their wicked ward supervisor Blue (Oscar Isaac). In the girls’ heads though, to cope with the situation, they view the institution like a strip club cum brothel (probably because they’re being lobotomised and sexually molested by the ward boys). But Babydoll has a secret power. When she dances for her jailors they all get transported into another dream state. And this one is where all the violence, hard core CGI and brain thumping music will make you gape in awe or simply wonder: what the hell is going on here?

Snyder has given the alternate dream state (Inception anyone?) a video game-like visual treatment with giant samurai soldiers battling the tiny, katana sword-wielding Babydoll. There are robot Nazi troopers, dragons and orcs (a la JRR Tolkien) as well as iRobot-like droids fighting the fab five in what is a metaphor for their escape. Aiding them in their journey is the Wise Man played by Kill Bill’s Scott Glenn doling out little nuggets of philosophy as the girls in leather boots and mini-skirts fire artillery at Nazi zeppelins!

The acting isn’t great but that’s okay, this isn’t that sort of film. Like a friend of mine said, ‘it’s trippy’, which it is. But even if you’re into the offbeat and ‘trippy’ sort of film, you’ll find something missing here. The action is great but not brilliant, the music is loud but not stirring and the alternate universes though visually stunning aren’t unique in any way. But hey, if you like hot chicks in tights and leather boots with bazookas flying around in the air whooping some evil ass, then you may just get a kick out of Sucker Punch.

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