Zack Snyder, fan-boy without a budget, shows us what his (wet) dreams look like. What ensues is the slaughter of Nazi-zombies by scantily clad ‘chicks’ on a road-trip through a mental asylum/dance-club/apocalyptic game wasteland.
You might think that sounds great and you would be quite right, but as somebody famous no doubt said, theory is different to practice.
Snyder has made quite a name for himself in refashioning everyone’s favourite cultural products of yesteryear; Watchmen, 300, Dawn of the Dead, and his visual style has never been short of stunning. With this, his first original offering, he lets his imagination run away with himself like a feral child. It looks sharp, snazzy, and satisfyingly cool, but then it always would have, what Snyder lacks is depth. Dialogue here is scarce, as are characters that anyone would give two hoots about, and not to mention the distinct lack of anything resembling a plot, but then it does have smoking-hot empowered female leads right? For reasons not quite clear yet everyone expected this to be the case and thus critics the world over have cyber-bitched about the inherent misogyny of a sexualized female cast. I’m not sure if anyone saw 300, but it’s full of men wearing skimpy clothing and nobody cared about that, this really isn’t that bad. Snyder has bastardised himself a bit here by showing too little and leaving the audiences mind to create whatever bizarre sexual fantasy they want. If we had seen Babydoll do a nice little dance a-la Britney nobody would be complaining, instead we’re left to our own sick desensitized imaginations. Sadly it’s a bit ambitious to think the director was trying to confront societies menace.
While the women of the film are busy moaning, groaning, and grunting (mostly in slow motion), the men are getting some half-decent roles. With a quick appearance by John Hamm, Don Draper to you and me, the only interesting and developed character in this graphical showcase is Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones. In each layer of the film, let the Inception comparisons begin, he plays a sadistic ‘manager’ in a constantly emasculating power-struggle with ‘his girls’, a great new talent from the Eli Roth school of evil, Isaac could easily adapt to the scenery of a Tarantino type film. These layers which the film relies so heavily on are presented simply as performances, the film starts with a red curtain, each ‘act’ of the play starts with a mission and a dance, when the music stops so does the un-reality, it’s an interesting technique and the asylum as a club worked beautifully, but go a bit a deeper and the emptiness takes hold. Utterly un-cohesive is the only way to describe the events that take place within this multi-faceted world.
Snyder’s aim here seems to be nothing more than creating a two-hour show reel of music videos. He’s good at that and he used music beautifully in Watchmen, here he drowned in the dreaded remix-album. Any fight scene that includes an industrial remix of a Bjork song is designed only for a game and all scenes in this Nazi/dragon/robot infested world looked and sounded like cut-scenes. If they don’t develop a videogame from this then somebody somewhere should be sacked.
Zack Snyder isn’t a bad film maker; possibly, he’s just not a very good creator. Oozing through Sucker Punch’s every pore is Snyder’s influences from anime, TV, games, films, music, and anything else he may have encountered in his life. As a film maker fully stocked up on Ritalin he tries to show us everything and in doing so shows us little of anything. Just calm down Zack and go back to remaking and remodelling.