After the death of her mother, Baby Doll and her sister are almost killed by their stepfather in his attempt to claim their inheritance for himself. Baby Doll gets her stepfather’s gun and tries to kill him — but kills her sister instead. This gives her stepfather the perfect reason to claim that Baby Doll is insane, and has her committed to a mental asylum where she will undergo a lobotomy in five days time. She retreats into her mind and imagines she and the other girls are dancers. She decides, with four others, to break out, but before that they have to retrieve five items from various fantastical environments deep inside their minds, which can be reached whenever Baby Doll dances……..
The trailer for Sucker Punch promises a rather dark, menacing opening section followed by an hour and a half or so of women looking cool kicking arse in fantastical surroundings, and that’s pretty much what the movie delivers. Despite being mostly set inside the main character’s head, and featuring two levels of dream state, it’s no Inception [though it did remind me of Brazil in parts] and isn’t really any more sophisticated than a Resident Evil or a Charlie’s Angels movie. The action, with the girls battling anything from zombie Nazis to demon Samurai, has a relentless quality which is pretty thrilling, but it is sometimes undone by bad CGI. Two segments-a WW1 battle with zeppelins and planes, and a fight with robots on a train, have such inept CGI that the film looks like a cartoon….which would have been okay if Sucker Punch was supposed to be a cartoon. Nonetheless Snyder is brave enough to finish the film with a downbeat ending and a low key wind up of the story rather than a spectacular climax. I will say I was appalled at the film’s ‘12’ certificate-the amount of violence against women, both mental and physical, is very strong, and the whole film does have a sleazy feel which I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been given a higher rating. Overall Sucker Punch is, for much of its running time, a load of fun, and has a great soundtrack with surprisingly good cover versions of tracks by Annie Lennox, Bjork, Jefferson Aeroplane and others. Snyder’s become one of the few directors today who uses pop music well in films-I loved the way each dream segments have an individual song which serves as each section’s theme.