Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Sucker Punch (Extended Cut) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Emily Browning as Babydoll
Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea
Jena Malone as Rocket
Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie
Jamie Chung as Amber
Carla Gugino as Dr. Vera Gorski
Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones
Jon Hamm as High Roller / Doctor
Scott Glenn as Wise Man
Richard Cetrone as CJ
Gerard Plunkett as Stepfather
Malcolm Scott as The Cook
Ron Selmour as Danforth
Alan C. Peterson as Mayor

Directed by Zack Snyder

Special Features:
Theatrical Feature Film and Extended Cut

Maximum Movie Mode: Exploring the Fantasy World: An immersive movie
exploration with host Zack Snyder featuring Picture-in-Picture, Director Walk-Ons, and much more (Runtime: Feature Length)

Animated Shorts: "Sucker Punch" Prequel Stories (Runtime: 11 mins)
o Feudal Warriors
o The Trenches
o Dragon
o Distant Planet

"Sucker Punch" Behind the Soundtrack (Runtime: 3 mins)

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French, Spanish, and Portuguese Languages
French, Spanish, and Portuguese Subtitles
Running Time: 120 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Born from the creative vision of filmmaker Zack Snyder ('Watchmen,' '300'), this epic action fantasy launches from the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Locked away against her will, Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four fellow captives outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung) and reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) to band together and try to escape their terrible fate at the hands of their captors Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorki (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm)."

"Sucker Punch" is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving sexuality, violence and combat sequences, and for language.

Mini-Review:
The best way I can describe "Sucker Punch" is to call it a 'visual effects orgy.' This movie embodies everything that phrase might imply. It is one massive special effects extravaganza held together loosely by a little bit of plot.

The movie is about a young woman nicknamed Babydoll. After she is thrown in an insane asylum for a crime she didn't commit, she has five days the escape before she's scheduled to be lobotomized. She retreats into a fantasy world where she and the other girls in the asylum are prostitutes in a brothel. During this fantasy, she discovers she is able to retreat into yet another level of fantasy where she and the other girls are superpowered warriors doing battle in order to retrieve the items they need to escape the brothel/asylum. It's within this second layer of fantasy that you get the big, spectacular action sequences.

These action sequences are like something out of a teenage boy's ultimate fantasy. These beautiful girls are running around in heels and skimpy outfits doing battle with machine guns, pistols, and samurai swords. We see them in one environment doing battle with giant samurai monsters wielding swords and guns. We see them in another WWI environment doing battle with zombie Germans while robotic suits fight in the sky with zeppelins and biplanes. Then there's another action sequence where they fight orcs and a dragon in a castle as a WWII bomber buzzes overhead. Just when you think they've thrown every cool element in the book in this movie, they throw in a battle on a train with robots on an alien planet. (This is what 20-year-old girls fantasize about? Who knew?) If all this sounds cool... well, it is. The action scenes are well choreographed, the environments are well designed, and the effects are jaw-dropping. If you gave any teenage comic fan an unlimited effects budget and a green light to make a movie, I have no doubt that this is the movie you would get. It has sex (albeit PG-13 sex), violence, and rock and roll.

The cast is also quite good (although I realized I've been watching these women in movies since they were young girls, and it made me feel really old). You have Emily Browning as Babydoll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket, Jamie Chung as Amber, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie (who's not blonde... go figure). All of them handle the action quite well. Snyder makes them all look good. Carla Gugino isn't given quite as much to do as Dr. Vera Gorski while Scott Glenn acts as their Obi-Wan and pops in on occasion.

Cast and visual effects aside, the core plot of "Sucker Punch" isn't all that interesting. Since 95% of the movie takes place in a fantasy world made up by Babydoll, you pretty much discount most of what's happening as 'not real.' Your mind intentionally or unintentionally doesn't care because you've been told it's all not really happening. Ultimately the only real question is whether or not the girls will escape. When that is finally revealed, it's a tad unsatisfying. I won't spoil it here, but I'm not sure the destination was worth the ride.

If you're only watching "Sucker Punch" to see fight scenes and cool visual effects, then I think you'll be quite happy with it. But if you're wanting something a bit more than eye candy seemingly dreamed up by teenage boys, then you'll be quite disappointed by it. Having seen what Zack Snyder did with "300," "Watchmen" and "Sucker Punch," I'm certainly curious and slightly scared about where he's taking the new Superman movie.

"Sucker Punch" comes in an Extended Cut Blu-ray. It features 17 minutes of extra footage. One of the most notable additions is an entire musical number featuring all of the girls, Carla Gugino, and Oscar Isaac. It's an elaborate, fast paced musical number that looks like it could have come from "Moulin Rogue." If the rest of the film was a demo reel to show Snyder could make sci-fi, fantasy, or war movies, then this is his demo for doing a musical. But it was wise to cut it from the theatrical version for pacing purposes. The rest of the bonus features are in the "Maximum Movie Mode." When this is activated, the movie is interrupted with a split screen showing Zack Snyder talking you through a scene while behind the scenes footage plays. Various other cast and crew members provide commentary along the way, too. It's interesting and informative, but I like being able to watch my bonus features separate from the movie. Rounding out the bonus features is a very brief video on the soundtrack and four animated shorts set in Babydoll's fantasy world. I believe these were already shown online, but if you haven't seen them, they're new to you. They feature the origin of the samurai, the origin of the zombie Germans, the origin of the dragon, and more. One additional note, in the Blu-ray case there were three discs. One was the digital copy while the other two were the theatrical version of the movie and the Extended Cut. It took a bit of paying attention to tell them apart. I realized that I was watching the theatrical version pretty late into the film, then had to switch discs to see the Extended Cut. The bonus features are also split between the discs. So if you buy it, examine them before popping them in the player.

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