Friday, November 5, 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 ├╝ber 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?

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