Baby Doll kills her sister by accident while trying to defend her from their abusive (step)father and gets sent to an asylum. She wants to escape before the High Roller arrives, and every time she dances, she slips off into a fantasy world where she and her fellow inmates are collecting various items they need.
In the first battle, she fights samurai demons; in the second, they battle zombie German soldiers on a World War I battlefield; in the third, they have to contend with dragon; and in the fourth, they have to recover a bomb from a train.
But it all goes horribly wrong when Rocket is killed by the cook and then the manager of the asylum kills Amber and Blondie. Somehow, Baby Doll realises that she’s not meant to escape but, rather, help Sweetpea escape.
The film cuts back to reality with Baby Doll utterly catatonic and the police bursting in to arrest the manager of the asylum.
Sucker Punch is very much the film of the video game (is it a video game? I have no idea) with the hunt for various quest items and the battle against boss monsters. I was expecting it to be horribly bad because that seemed to be the reaction to it. No, it’s not a great film; or a good one. It’s a film which will probably only have a deep appeal to teenage boys with a thing for neo post-adolescent girls dressed up for a 40s burlesque show. That seemed to be one part which had the critics foaming at the mouth, but anyone who thinks the rather staid style is sexy or provocative needs to get out more.
There’s not really that much to the film either. The battles for the quest items are just battles with next to no interaction with the opposition. Sucker Punch seems to be trying to be a little clever with its Brazil-like ending, although it seems that there really was an escape and Baby Doll did stab the manager.
I did like the visual style of the film with its 40s look and muted colours. All a bit graphic novel or, indeed, video game, which is probably why the storyline didn’t quite have the depth and engagement to raise Sucker Punch above the level of arty emptiness.