Sucker Punch

SUCKER PUNCH A layer-cake trip with a touch of "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Sucker Punch begins, after a murky prologue, with Baby Doll (Emily Browning, a peroxided kewpie) being dragged into a home for the “mentally insane” by her wicked stepdad. Our heroine in a no-exit corner, we shift abruptly into what is presumably Baby Doll’s psychogenic fugue state, in which she imagines herself among a stable of alt-porn-y chicks imprisoned in a bordello by some guys dressed as lounge singers. When forced to dance for her captors, Baby Doll escapes still deeper into “empowering” non sequitur action-combat stages, her fantasies looking remarkably like the daydreams of an adolescent GamePro reader. The video-game frame of reference is confirmed when Scott Glenn pops up at the beginning of each level to deliver nostrums and mission objectives, sending the girls after “a map, fire, a knife, and a key” (all that’s missing is an inventory menu). Director Zack Snyder’s dispensing with any explanatory exposition—hence the blindsiding implicit in the title—makes this King Ludwig–size extravagance marginally less dreary than Inception. But his mash-up set pieces ("Call of Duty" meets "Castlevania," etc.) blend into so-awesome-they’re-awful slo-mo monotony, and the awful sisterhood stuff in between makes you anticipate the action as though waiting for the bus. (Nick Pinkerton) (Opens Friday, Citywide)

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