Zack Snyder’s totally bonkers new action movie resembles a live-action anime brought to vibrant but largely incoherent life. Committed to a maximum-security asylum where she’s scheduled to receive a lobotomy in five days, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) unleashes her inner fantasy life. Her prison morphs into a tony brothel, where a thickly accented Polish madam (an amusing Carla Gugino) pimps out her young charges, and Babydoll does battle with Nazi zombies, fiery dragons, and other beasties in eye-popping video-game-style conflagrations.
This is Synder’s first movie based on original material, and it looks a lot like the graphic novels that sourced his earlier and better flicks 300 and Watchmen.
It’s hard to take Snyder on his word that he intends Sucker Punch as some kind of female empowerment yarn, especially since the nubile cuties are outfitted in either dominatrix garb or Japanese schoolgirl uniforms most of the time. The CGI effects are as impressively state-of-the-art as the imagination fueling this overheated genre mash-up is malnourished. Maybe the unrated director’s cut will be more satisfying. --Milan Paurich