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March 7, 2013

Movie Review: SuckerPunch (2011)

by Peggy Christie

SuckerPunch is the story of Babydoll , an unfortunate young woman whose stepfather tries to rape her after her mother’s death. But because she puts up too much of a fight, he goes for her younger sister. Babydoll don’t brook that BS so she takes a gun to him, accidentally killing her sister instead. Hence, he tosses her into a mental institution.

The stepdad pays off an orderly to get a special doctor into the asylum in five days to lobotomize our poor nubile young lady so she can’t tell the real truth to the cops. Bastard.

Babydoll has just these five days to plan her escape. She creates a fantasy world in her mind to help her cope with the hell in which she now lives so she can survive long enough to get free. The other inmates of the institution become a part of this delusion and are key players in the success or failure of the plan.

 She and the others are bought girls (read: sex slaves) and must dance to get a client’s attention and thereby get business, making money for the boss, Blue. Babydoll must learn to shake her money maker and when she does, it’s raw, sexual, and can garner the attention of every man in existence, distracting them so the girls can steal the five items they need to break free.

 But even within this delusion, she creates another fantasy. We don’t see Babydoll dance. We see her and the other girls fight, like a military unit. That’s the dance we are allowed to watch.

It’s a fantasy, wrapped in a delusion, wrapped in a dream. Or more like a nightmare.

Do these delusions really help Babydoll? Or do they just make her sink deeper into a hellish world from which she can’t escape?

This movie was kinda fun. I wasn’t sure what to expect. A bunch of strong, sexy young women, jumping around and kicking major ass? Yeah, and I got that. Scott Glenn to be a Mister Miyagi clone? No, didn’t see that coming (but it was bitchin’). An actual story? No, didn’t expect that either but it did exist, predictable as it was.

I thought it was about a young girl in an orphanage that created an alternate world to help her cope. A mental institution was better and a countdown to a lobotomy helped build some tension. Gave me a reason to root for these girls, annoying as they were.

Babydoll didn’t do much for me. I imagined her more like one of those Real Dolls: she looks like a real woman but she just kinda lies there, if you know what I mean. Amber whined; Blondie was wallpaper; Rocket and Sweet Pea were more likeable as they were sisters and has some implied back story that gave them a little more depth. But any other actresses could have been in there just as easily.

The fight scenes were pretty awesome. Lots of automatic weaponry, swords and slashing knives, dragons, zombie soldiers, and tons of explosions.

And extra nice? A cameo by Jon Hamm. Hello, yummy-buns…

Not a great movie for its historical staying power but a lot of fun.

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