SUCKER PUNCH Wednesday 21 December, 2011

Zack Snyder. The one man answer to cerebral cinema.

You watched 300. You loved it. We’re not friends.

The man behind that awful cack is back with more shit. This time he’s dealing with the heady issues of child abuse, mental health, forced prostitution and the lobotomy in the most superficial and flippant way. High five for Z(c)ack then.

As a foreboding sign of the pallid, tepid shite that’s about to be flung in your face the opening five minutes of the film is like an Evanescence video. What I mean to say is that it is lots of weighty emotional tragedy set to very bad music. The bad music in question here is a terrible cover of The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams. This is the first in a long line of terrible cover versions and repeated plays of Bjork’s Army of Me.

Zack Snyder seems to have a thing about taking widely loved pieces of music and slathering them all over his shitty films…whether they fit or not (see All Along The Watchtower in Watchmen. Then see any piece of music in any film). As each successively terrible cover version started up I found myself feeling more and more despair for the art of film making. Somebody needs to make Zack Snyder watch DRIVE and then listen to the soundtrack until he learns how to make a cool film with cool music properly.

Anyway, back to the aforementioned shit pile. Emily Browning plays Babydoll. Really? Babydoll? Sheesh. In the interminable Evanescence  sequence we see her mother dying (sad face) and leaving Babydoll and her sister left to her evil stepfather (angry face) in her mother’s will. Stepfather then leers wolfishly at Babydoll (sad and angry face). She fights him off so he goes and molests baby sister (very sad and very angry face). There’s a fight or something and baby sister gets stabbed (sad sad sad face) and Babydoll claws at his face and shoots him (angry angry sad face) or something.

These are terrible events but the way they are treated by this film renders them to be almost trivial. All of these atrocities occur during the music video style opening montage (“sweet dreams are made of this”? Oh Zack, you are one ironic chap…grrrrrr) which doesn’t really allow for the full weight of the horror to settle. What Mr Snyder has essentially created is MTV Child Abuse. Clap……clap……clap….clap….idiot.

Anyway putting those trivial horrors behind us Babydoll gets sectioned by the wicked stepfather. It’s implied that she’s going to be forced into some kind of prostitution by one of the asylum’s staff. She also finds out that in five days she’ll be lobotomised. We know that all of this is bad because for the first 25 minutes of the film Emily Browning has the same expression on her face. She looks like she’s really unhappy about just how constipated she is. If only she could…just…push it out…nghhhh…nope…(sadness).

The main focus of that evil in the Asylum is Blue Jones, played by Oscar Isaac. Some of you may recognise him as the jailbird boyfriend in this years coolest film DRIVE. He’s pretty good there. Unfortunately in this film he’s been directed to channel Freddie Mercury playing nasty. Pretty embarrassing at times although I’m not going to blame him. I think he struggles manfully with the totally insane directions that must have been flying his way.

For some reason which is never really explained Babydoll disappears into some other level of reality. Let’s call this level the middle level. In this level she and the other very insane but, coincidentally, very  beautiful girls are forced to dance for Blue’s customers. It’s like a cross between Black Swan and Inception. Which was not great for me because I pretty much hated both of those films. Let’s just call it an even more shit version of Black Swan and Inception.

Anyway, digging further into the bat-shit mess of this idiotic film when Babydoll dances she and the girls go into another level of reality. It’s a load of bollocks to be honest. She meets this guy who’s like David Carradine in Kung-Fu only it’s actually Scott Glenn pretending to be David Carradine. Which is quite weird because I always used to get Scott Glenn and David Carradine confused. Maybe I’m not the only one then.

He advises her to pick up the items and battle the enemies and she’ll be able to break free of the asylum. There’s some other mystical fucktardery thrown in for good measure but I won’t sully your consciousnesses by repeating it.

If you’re sitting there thinking “that sounds just like a computer game I once played” then you’re not alone. I found myself wondering if the entire purpose of the film was to sell some poxy film licence computer game. There are four dance/fight sequences in the film.

In sequence one she is on her own fighting three massive chinese spirits who look like the three dudes from Big Trouble In Little China if they’d spent the time since the production of that film necking copious amounts of illegal steroids. Sequence two is trench warfare against some evil nazis. As an excuse for the upcoming violence we are reminded that they are “only being kept alive by clockwork and steam” and that “they are already dead so you don’t have to worry about killing them”…groan. Sequence three is a sub LOTR sequence with a big dragon and sequence four is some shoddy shite about robots on a train with a bomb.

The only redeeming feature of this film is that it looks great. I found myself thinking that Zack Snyder needs to work with another director who understands story and music. If he was only responsible for the visual side of things then we might get a decent film although he still needs to learn some restraint. He’s a bit like Guy ‘knees up muvver brahn’ Ritch in the subtlety stakes.

This film is a massive waste of time and money for all concerned including the audience. It feels like a very long advert for a very bad computer game or a calling card for a visual effects company. What it does not feel like is fun. The way it trivialises rape, forced prostitution, child abuse, murder is pretty unforgivable.  Then to make matters worse it does terrible things with songs that really don’t deserve that kind of treatment. All of the women in this film are made to look like idiotic victims which is also pretty unpleasant.

I’m left assuming that the sucker punch is what the audience feel when they realised that they had to earn the money they wasted on this utterly horse-shit, bollocks of a film.

 

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