Monday, March 28, 2011

The only thing being Sucker Punched is your wallet...

I like a good action flick as much as the next girl and as I consider myself a modern feminist, I was willing to entertain the notion that females in garters and heels can be kick ass.  I saw Chicago.  She may have been desperate but go ahead and try to tell me Velma Kelly wasn't a strong female.  Dita Von Teese may strip down to her bare essentials but there is no doubt who's holding all the cards in that room.  Bottom line is: the idea of women taking back their sexuality is not new, so even though the reviews were horrid, I was willing to entertain the idea that the reviewers were having a knee-jerk reaction.  I went into the film what I thought were low expectations and an open mind.

Sadness.

Not only is the "storyline" thin at best, the film can't even deliver the element on which it hinges.  The visuals!  At least with films like 300 and Watchmen, Snyder managed to support the crushing weight of the fan expectations for his adaptations with the visuals.  "Well, it's nothing like the best comic book ever written but gosh darn it if it ain't pretty to look at."  Here we see Snyder's over use of slo-mo as his actresses flail about with their sexy weapons, instead of speeding up the action and allowing that momentum to carry us through the immense action sequences (truly, they last forever).  While highly stylized and laden with violence and attractive women, the film simply can't deliver.  The reality is that even if the plot was absolute garbage (which frankly it is) the film could be carried through by it's action.  If the dancing in those Step Up movies manages to sell at all, a film with half naked women holding machine guns should be able to deliver the goods.  Sadly no.  With the thumping music and all the slow motion punching and very strangely placed comedy moments, it plays like a music video for an all girl pop group with poor choice in concepts.

Most horrifying, however, is not the bad plot, or the slow motion blunders.  Is is the ongoing sleaziness of every situation in which these seemingly young and defenseless girls are placed.  With all the overt sexuality in the film, whenever a character is placed in danger it is not simply life threatening, it is sexual in nature.  Presumably there to titillate, the situations play like a sixteen-year-old boy's darkly disturbing wet dream.  Sexual abuse, rape, beatings, coercion to name a few.  These punishments are doled out on the unsuspecting victims of this film: the actresses.  Because while they may all have their guns and garters, not a one of them comes out on top.

While the females we see in the posters and the trailers are strong and confident fighters, the reality of the plot is that this is a fantasy designed to help the main character survive inside the asylum to which she has been committed.  She is neither strong, nor confident in this creation and even this is an additional cushion for her real life in which the reality is simply too painful to acknowledge.  Ultimately the film could have done with a good story editor since its attempts to anchor its fantasy sequences in another reality, only succeed in confusing the point.  And it is clear from the last monologue that the point Snyder and writing partner Steve Shubuyra wanted to make was that women can kick ass and be strong female leads.  What they ended up with was a visual mess that can't decide whether it wants to be manga, a music video or a kink film and can't deliver the action it promises with its trailer.

My rating: 1 out of 4 stars

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