SUCKER Punch is the latest vision from the mind of director Zack Snyder.
It stars Emily Browning (Baby Doll) as a girl institutionalised by her abusive stepfather.
Along with fellow inmates Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung), she retreats to an alternative reality and plans her escape.
Sucker Punch is certainly an original concept that makes for a film which is completely random and more than a little insane.
Rather harshly, Snyder has been accused of being a bit style over substance but 300 and, particularly, Watchmen were quality movies that made the director one to watch with ever-building interest.
With Sucker Punch, however, story goes out the window and what we’re left with is a series of vast CGI landscapes and video game-like visuals and action sequences.
Snyder’s also on writing duties so the blame for the virtually non-existent plot lies firmly at his door.
Several of the director’s hallmarks are on show with his latest effort.
There’s a lot of slo-mo shots, desaturated colours and a heavy reliance on music.
Some of the songs he uses work, cast member Browning’s cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), and some don’t, White Rabbit by Emiliana Torrini.
The characters aren’t fleshed out particularly well, which means the cast don’t get much of a chance to impress.
Browning, Cornish and Donnie Darko’s Malone at least get some storyline arcs but Chung and Hudgens are pretty redundant.
Browning stands out most, with particular focus paid to her eyes, and Cornish’s moody and pessimistic character brings some dissension to the group.
Like Snyder’s Watchmen, the powerful opening sequence is terrific and perfectly sets-up Browning as a put-upon victim.
From there, though, things get a bit too chaotic. Baby Doll’s ‘dances’ foreshadow a series of battle scenes that throw in just about every adversary you could think of.
Giant Samurai, zombie Nazis, dragons, robots and a psychotic chef (yes, you read all that right) are among the antagonists to leave you breathless.
The best sequence is a frenetic trench fight with the Nazis and the whole film breezes along at a furious pace, so you’re rarely bored.
Some have commented on Snyder’s poor representation of women in this movie.
Yes, they parade around in skimpy outfits but it’s worth noting that they are Lara Croft-like feisty and strong and, with one exception, the males in the film are all nasty, sleazy, characters.
So, Sucker Punch isn’t just ‘one for the boys’ but certainly won’t suit all tastes.
It dazzles the senses but a lack of plot and characterisation mean this group of girls don’t test your brain or pull your heart-strings.
Rating - 6 out of 10.