As per the request of a hitman…Sucker Punch.

I’m not the type of girl who loves action movies. I find the explosions and gung-ho bullshit are generally meant to divert one from the pathetic plot. However, throw in some stereotypically hot girls in bustiers and fishnets, and suddenly I’m interested again. (Few things are as irksome to me as the Action Hero… “Kum wiz mee iff yoo wunt too liff”.) Sucker Punch is, first and foremost, a visual feast. This is not meant to deconstruct Foucault’s idea that society is maintained through power and knowledge, it’s meant to show you a handful of gutsy chicks with great T&A, busting up some clockwork-operated Nazis, giant robots and orcs.

The Ladies of Sucker Punch.

Accusations of misogyny are so predictable that they are boring. Revealing the female form has been the pastime of artists since 350 BC when Praxiteles created “The Aphrodite of Cnidus (Knidos)” – the first monumental female nude in classical sculpture. Let’s be honest with ourselves, female nudes have been around a lot longer than that. Some might argue it’s not the breasts or legs that are offensive in themselves, but the clothes with simultaneously reveal and conceal, that wonderful age-old trick of seduction. But hark…the Venus de Milo was carved around 100 BC. She is revealing her breasts, and concealing her lady garden. Can we deal with the skandaal? Even Aphrodite looks like she’s about to do a little erotic dance using that handy piece of fabric.

Oh, the exploitation...

Was the Venus de Milo a slut? Look at that carefully placed piece of cloth... (Alexandros from Antioch, c. 100 BC)

Basically, what I’m suggesting is that the celebration of the female form is a constant in any facet of the art world, and that the depiction thereof has to evolve with the evolution of any art medium. Fortuitously blown-about pieces of cloth in 100 BC, fishnets and corsets in 2011. If you can’t handle it, get thee to a nunnery.

...not this one, obviously. (Clovis Trouille, Religieuse Italienne Fumant la Cigarette, 1944)

What I liked about this film is the idea that a bunch of girls can kick ass in all kinds of ways (samurai swords, knives, martial arts) without looking silly and needing some dude to be their mentor (though what was up with Army Gramps? This isn’t fucking ‘Nam). However, I find this acknowledgement of feminine physical ability to be overshadowed by the very obvious lack of trust in female psychological resilience. SO, hot chick runs around in pyjamas, then gets taken to a mental institution, but pretends that the mean orderly is really a pimp and that she’s a dancer in a brothel/burlesque club, but then she’s going on missions where she has to kill all the aforementioned beasts in order to escape from the brothel/mental institution. Ouch, my brain is fried. Why can’t she just be hot and resilient (mentally and physically) and kick ass in one world? Is this the Inception of escape films? Or is it more like Pimp My Ride? “I had to imagine I was escaping so that I could escape in my imagination and then escape”.

I get that the alternate universe was meant to be a coping mechanism, but it is precisely the invention of not one but two universes that irks me. How hard is it to cope, ladies? There were too few links between the brothel and the institution to satisfy my film critic leanings, although I feel that the battle scenes as euphemisms for escape tasks worked well. Overall, I loved Sucker Punch. It was over the top, sexy, extravagant and entertaining. It fulfilled all the requirements of a great action movie that doesn’t piss someone with brains off, because it was incredibly aesthetically beautiful. The cinematography and colour palette are what stick in my mind the most, but details like make-up and costumes were also on point.

After all that, I think it only fair to say that I dislike the ending without any kind of substantiation. Babydoll was a typical ingenue, Rocket was ballsy, Blondie was dramatic and Amber was just Harajuku-cute. I didn’t like Sweetpea, I found her annoying and vague, and I think there are several other characters who would have done a lot more outside of the institution/brothel than look pathetic.

Nice dress, though.


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