Back when the movie was released back in March, I wrote a review of the original film for my own website. My review can be read here, but I will sum it up here. The eye candy (CGI or otherwise) was among the best I’d ever seen, especially the fantasy sequences. However, the story made little sense, and seemed to jump around a bit, and many scenes looked edited (I would later learn it was cut by the studio to get a PG13 rating) and it really hurt the film, especially the ending, which hit like the titular sucker punch. The result was a film that, despite its great visuals and great promise, it was robbed of its full potential by executive meddling and . Though not a bad film, I could not bring myself to say it was a good film, and so far, no film this year has disappointed me more than Sucker Punch.
So when a buddy of mine told me about the Extended Cut, which has eighteen minutes added to the film, and told me it made for a far better film, my curiosity was piqued. Remembering the same sense of excitement I felt when I saw the very promising trailers for the film, I borrowed the BluRay from my friend and got ready to give Sucker Punch a second chance.
So did the movie redeem itself, or did I just get sucker punched twice? Read on and find out dear readers!
For the sake of brevity, I will avoid reiterating everything about the story, acting and special effects, having already done that before in my first review of the film. To sum it up though, it was about what you would expect from a movie where the poster has women in schoolgirl uniforms wielding swords and machine guns. Gave the crowds plenty of drool-worthy action scenes with drool-worthy women, held back by a weak story, and kneecapped (neutered might be a more fitting word) by the PG13 rating. As much as I wanted to like it for the former, the latter really kept what could have been an enjoyable escape back to Earth.
To my great delight, both of the major flaws, the non-sensical story and obvious attempt to water down the subject matter, are for the most part fixed by the additional content. A great deal of the added scenes add detail to the characters or story, adding some much-needed meat to the bones of both. Another big way it helped was supplementing the films admittedly fantastical battle scenes, specifically the Steampunk WWI and the Castle siege sequences. In addition, two entire scenes were added, both of which really helped the movie. The first was a musical number called ‘Love is the Drug’, which I will admit, proved to be quite impressive, and the tune itself was very catchy. While not necessary to the plot, I enjoyed it greatly. The second added scene was far more important, as it was crucial to both the ending of the film and it revealed the film’s big plot twist, and in the process, made sense of a great deal of the plot. While I will not reveal it for spoilers sake, I will say having seen it, the movie makes a great deal more sense, and indeed, easily made seeing the extended cut worth it.
I gotta admit, I usually am not big on giving a movie a second chance, but Sucker Punch really made the most of it and it still surprises me just what a difference the Extended Cut made. It took a weak film with some superb eye candy, and elevated it to a strange hybrid of Shutter Island and Inception, with a dash of Chicago tossed in for good measure, and the end result, while far from perfect, it made a very enjoyable film that had more than just very nice eye candy. I am convinced that had this been the version of the film to hit theaters back in March, Sucker Punch could have been one of the years first big hits. In lieu of that, perhaps this version of the film can make the rounds and make the film a cult classic, one with some marketing potential at that (Just imagine MacFarlene Toys making a line of figures based of the leading ladies and count the money). Regardless, while it may not be for everybody, and it is still no masterpiece, Sucker Punch might just end up as one of the years underrated films if this is the version that becomes known to posterity.
I don’t say it often folks, but this is a movie that deserves a second chance. If you were curious about the film before, the Extended Cut is the version you want to see. If you saw it before, watch this again, believe me when I say it will change the way you look at the movie. In either case, while Sucker Punch is not a perfect film, the extended cut certainly is a joy to watch. Pop in the DVD and give the film a chance, it will set you free.