Sucker Punch: Extended Cut Blu-ray Review

There are quite a few words that come to mind when trying to describe Zack Snyder’s fifth film, Sucker Punch, and of those the one that comes to mind the most is “mess.” For this film, Snyder stepped away from developing a comic book or licensed story for the big screen and made a film based on his own material, and you can’t help but feel that that’s the primary problem. There’s an overabundance of style with nothing to fuel it. With little to no substance to any of the characters in the film, it’s hard to care for anyone. Plus, any sort of high stakes that may exist for said characters are rendered completely null and void by the narrative itself which unfortunately leads the viewer to ask, “What’s the point?”

The film follows a young girl (Emily Browning) who is being committed to a mental institution by her seemingly abusive stepfather after she attempts to kill him and accidentally kills her sister. The stepfather bribes an orderly (Oscar Issac) to have her lobotomized, which the orderly assures him will take place in five days. This asylum, with all of its grime and underlying awfulness, is the only piece of reality the film is allowed and should really be allowed to breathe a little, but the time spent here is, sadly, rather fleeting.

A mere moment before the Doctor (Mad Men’s Jon Hamm) is about to complete the lobotomy, we are whisked away to a variation of the asylum that is now a brothel where our female lead, dubbed “Babydoll,” is a new performer/prostitute. Instead of the lobotomy she was seconds away from in the real world, she will now be sold to the High Roller in five days. Fearing what lies ahead for her, Babydoll devises a plan to retrieve four items (a map, fire, a knife and a key) that she needs in order to escape and enlists the help of her fellow prostitue friends; Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung).

To enact the plan, Babydoll uses her “dancing” to distract the men that run the brothel while at the same time transporting herself and the other girls into various fantasy realms, each time with the purpose of retrieving one of the needed objects. With battles involving giant samurai, a dragon, and steampunk Nazi zombies, all of these realms are visually stunning (especially the train section) and hint at a better movie that could have been, save the fortune cookie-esque one-liners delivered by the Wise Man (Scott Glenn) that are not only groan-worthy, but also have absolutely no bearing on the situation at hand. These scenes do also tend to be rather video-gamey.

The worst part about these various realms, and for that matter the near entirety of the movie, is that none of it actually happens.

There’s an episode of the original Twilight Zone where a man, just as he is being hung, finds himself freed from the noose and escapes to his wife. As soon as he finds her and is about to make contact, it is revealed that he never actually escaped and was successfully hung. What the viewer had been seeing the whole time was merely a dream; a fantasy the man created between the moments of losing his footing and the noose snapping his neck. This is basically Sucker Punch’s entire premise. Only instead of imagining herself instantly free, Babydoll imprisons herself within a whorehouse which, of all the places and things she imagines, it is by far the most absurd aspect of the entire film.

When Sucker Punch begins, it is strongly implied that Babydoll is the victim of sexual abuse from her stepfather and, via the “dancing” scenes, further abuse while in the asylum. Knowing this, she seems like the last person that would fashion themselves a prostitute working in a brothel. This sort of fantasy would seem to, in a sense, validate the abuse, which kind of makes the whole premise even worse, each “dance” scene a little harder to watch and it definitely leaves a scummy taste in one’s mouth.

Taking all of this in, it’s easy to find one’s self a bit confused or at the very least frustrated. The film now has two fantasy worlds that it is hopping back and forth between, neither of which have real consequences since they don’t exist. We also have nothing invested in the real world of the asylum that we were introduced to at the very beginning of the film since we don’t revisit it until the very end with what feels like a tacked-on recap that comes off as clever, but really just falls flat.

Some, but not all, of these shortcomings can be put on the lead actresses. While not completely wooden performances, they definitely leave much to be desired. Of course, this could be as much them as the writing, although Oscar Issac’s orderly really stands out with what he’s given and makes a great loathsome bad guy. Gugino and Hamm are good with what they have, but it’s criminally not much.

From a filmmaking standpoint, Sucker Punch is assuredly a Zack Snyder film. He has taken all of his traits, good and bad, and cranked them up beyond anything else he’s made.

Sucker Punch is shot beautifully and features giant action sequences that are choreographed and executed quite well. Many recent action films tend to opt for up close shots or shaky-cam, hiding more of the scene than it shows and I applaud Snyder for embracing his sequences, albeit many of them via CGI. Still, it’s refreshing to see.

Snyder is also, for the most part, quite good at editing, putting scenes together and is a marvel at pacing. However, he does find himself over-indulging in his trademark slo-mo, something that he’s been criticized for in several of his films and this one being the most heinous example.

Throw in a soundtrack that, while containing some decent songs (some of which feature star Emily Browning’s singing) is really overbearing within the film and often contains lyrics that are a bit on the nose in relation to what is happening on-screen, and it becomes all to evident why people make the remark that Sucker Punch is just one long music video, because it does, at times, assuredly feel that way.

For this review I did watch the extended edition, and while it would take almost a whole movie to right many of the wrong moves Sucker Punch makes, these differences do add to the movie as a whole. They include some minor changes in dialogue, some violent scenes go on a bit longer, the fantasy realms all get some extending and the musical number that if glimpsed briefly in the end credits is completely restored. The best of these additions, though, is a scene involving the High Roller and Babydoll that at least attempts to seal up the story in a much better way than the theatrical version. All in all, it’s 18 minutes longer and gives the film the R rating it probably should have embraced to begin with.

High-Def Presentation

Despite it’s many plot and character flaws, Sucker Punch, being the visually extravagant film that it is, is made for Blu-ray. While it does have a mild amount of grain on the picture to give it more of “film” feel (it was filmed in HD), Sucker Punch is truly a sight to see. Every tiny detail is on full display, from dragon scales to bullet holes to random strands of hair, the picture couldn’t look better. Colors shine against the muted environments and, even if they have no bearing on the story, the fantasy realms are new showcase material.

As good as the visuals are, the sound is even better. Packing a 5.1 DTS-HD track, you can hear literally everything going on in this movie. No matter whats going on on-screen, the mix nearly always has a good, balanced mix. The only exceptions are when songs come into play. When Sucker Punch was released theatrically, I was able to see it in an IMAX and as loud as the movie got, the music was always that much louder. On the Blu-ray, it’s no different, which is fine for a few of the selections but sometimes it just took me out of the movie.

Beyond the Feature

The extended edition of Sucker Punch is a 3-disc set. Disc one contains the 109 minute PG-13 Theatrical cut while disc two contains the 127 minute R-rated extended cut. The third disc contains the theatrical cut on DVD, as well as serves as a digital copy. Special features are sadly sparse on this set, but one of them more than makes up for it.

Sucker Punch: Animated Shorts ( 10 min, 1080p, disc one): Compiled here are four short motion comics (“Fuedal Warriors,” “The Dragon,” “The Trenches” and “Distant Planet”) that are handled quite awesomely, even if their sole purpose was merely to be ads for the film. They offer some background to each of the fantasy realms in the film which is nice to have, but sadly pointless and a bit frustrating seeing as they only exist in Babydoll’s mind to begin with.

Behind The Soundtrack (3 min, 1080p, disc one): Zack Snyder takes a short trip through the creation of the soundtrack, including interviews with the film’s music composers Tyler Bates and Marius De Vries. It also goes a bit into how they got Emily Browning to sing a few of the songs.

Maximum Movie Mode: Extended Cut (128 min, 1080p, disc two): This special feature right here takes the cake and more than makes up for the lack of other features. This is Snyder’s third Maximum Movie Mode (having also done them for 300 and Watchmen) and it does not disappoint. More than just a random PiP track tacked on, it almost feels like Snyder is involved with your watching experience. The presentation is handled excellently, flowing seamlessly from the film back out to Snyder as he examines and describes many aspects of the film. For those that did find themselves confused with the movie as a whole, this will definitely help and even those that came away not enjoying the movie, I’d suggest giving this a shot as it doesn’t make the movie necessarily better, but it is incredibly entertaining at the same time as shedding some light on various aspects of the creation of the film. This feature is worth the price of the blu alone and remains one of the best uses of the technology that I’ve yet come across.

Digital Copy (110 min, SD, disc three): As mentioned earlier, the DVD disc also serves as a digital copy, allowing the film to be added to your computer or mobile device. It should be noted that the DVD and digital copy are of the shorter, PG-13 theatrical cut.

All in all, Sucker Punch really doesn’t have much going for it. It is a tour de force of visual effects and sound, but remains a convoluted mess that passes itself off as having a deeper meaning when it couldn’t be more shallow. Even with all of it’s flaws, it is surprisingly watchable, and with its incredible PQ/AQ I would be so bold as to say that it should be a staple of any Blu-ray fan’s library that loves to show off what their system can really do. Throw in the Maximum Movie Mode feature, and you might could sell the toughest of critics on this.

– Matt Hardeman

Shop for Sucker Punch: Extended Cut on Blu-ray for a discounted price at

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.