The Critics Get Sucker Punched

“Sucker Punch,” opening today in IMAX and conventional theaters, has yielded some of the most amusing reviews seen in quite a while.  Here are snippets from some of the Kinotech Blog’s favorites:

  • Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “In a film whose all approach must be justified in psychological terms, there are nagging imprecisions. Whose fantasies are these? What are the parallels, either factual or emotional, between the actions in one world and the next? In a sense, these are the little things Snyder needed to work out meticulously, if only for the sake of letting his imagination run free within these wide constraints. Instead, we get the opposite, an imagination cramped by too unsure a grasp of what will fit and what won’t. In the end, Snyder confuses going ugly for getting serious, and he destroys his movie completely.”
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: “The music screeches, the actors vamp, the knives and weapons and bombs and fireballs fly around the screen. Meanwhile, the well-prepared moviegoer slips into her or his own private fantasy of a world in which movie effects are themselves locked away in an institution for the criminally insane until such time as those effects are really, truly necessary for the story.”
  • Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: “Director Zack Snyder’s dispensing with any explanatory exposition—hence the blindsiding implicit in the title—makes this King Ludwig–size extravagance marginally less dreary than Inception. But his mash-up set pieces (“Call of Duty” meets “Castlevania,” etc.) blend into so-awesome-they’re-awful slo-mo monotony, and the awful sisterhood stuff in between makes you anticipate the action as though waiting for the bus.”
  • Peter Debruge, Variety: “The French call it “homage,” but Zack Snyder prefers the term “mash-up,” which is no doubt a more appropriate way to describe the cacophonous, half-digested mass of pop-culture influences that make up “Sucker Punch,” a crass women’s penitentiary picture reconceived for today’s manga- and vidgame-savvy crowd. Misleadingly positioned as female empowerment despite clearly having been hatched as fantasy fodder for 13-year-old guys, this sensory-overload exercise tarts up six actresses in service of various “Heavy Metal”-style scenarios — a setup likely to sucker fanboys while leaving those who crave humanity and good old-fashioned storytelling feeling like cavemen who’ve stumbled into Times Square.”
  • Ethan Alter, Film Journal International: “The success of their plot—and I’m not kidding about this—rests on Babydoll’s wicked dance moves. See, she’s such an incredible dancer that men are literally hypnotized watching her, thus allowing her cohorts to take what they need without being noticed. But we in the audience never actually see her perform; instead, every time Babydoll strikes a pose, we’re transported to a world where she and her friends are warriors fighting their way through several videogame-like landscapes, from a World War I battlefront (complete with trenches and zeppelins) to a goblin-filled castle straight out of The Lord of the Rings. (Some of these action sequences go on for quite some time, leading one to wonder exactly how long Babydoll is dancing in the other reality. Wouldn’t all those wild gyrations exhaust her after five minutes?)”
  • Josh Tyler, Cinemablend: “the three completely different movies going on here have so little connection to each other that it’s basically a big waste of time. Sucker Punch was written without a story to tell or without a single idea in its head beyond the poster they’d use to advertise it. It’s kind of incredible that a script this bad got this far, if indeed there was a script, it’s hard to believe that anyone involved with this production could have actually sat back, watched this disaster, and then thought they might want to let other people take a look at it. In their place, I’d be too embarrassed.”
  • Leonard Maltin, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy: “Throughout this sensory assault I kept asking myself the same question: what’s the point? And that’s the problem: I’m not sure there is one. Sucker Punch seems to offer a wish-fulfillment brand of empowerment to abused or troubled adolescent girls. Not being one, I can’t judge its effectiveness. I can only tell you that I derived nothing from the picture…except when my eye was drawn to a collage of old, tattered Warner Bros. movie posters on the wall of the girls’ dressing room. That I was so easily distracted from the drama in the foreground says it all.”
  • Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: “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 even given a kids’ movie about talking warrior owls from Australia. And they’ve anointed him the savior of the “Superman” franchise.  But with “Sucker Punch” Warners gave him enough rope to hang himself with. This is the most epic miscalculation since the Golden Summer of M. Night Shyamalan. An unerotic unthrilling erotic thriller in the video game/comic book crossover vein, “Sucker Punch” is “Last Airbender” with bustiers.”
  • Chris Knight, National Post: “If you only see one movie this year, but want to feel like you’ve seen seven or eight, Sucker Punch is for you. The latest from Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Legend of the Guardians) is sexy, noisy and almost unwatchable, but never, ever is it boring. It’s Alice in Wonderland if Lewis Carroll had gone on an opium-and-absinthe bender before sitting down to write.”
  • A.O. Scott, New York Times: “You could go to see “Sucker Punch” this weekend — a lot of people probably will, and a few may even admit as much back at the office on Monday — or you could try to make it yourself, which might be more fun, though not necessarily cheaper. Here’s what you will need: a bunch of video-game platforms; DVDs of “Shutter Island,” “Kill Bill,” “Burlesque” and “Shrek”; some back issues of Maxim; a large bag of crystal meth; and around $100 million. Your imagination will take care of the rest.”
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