Coolest extra: “Animated Shorts: Sucker Punch Prequel Stories” (DVD); Extended cut featuring an extra 18 minutes (Blu-ray)
Complex says: For all intents and purposes, Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch was a failure. Critics roasted the script’s incoherence, the mindless exposition repeatedly interrupted by overly stylized video game violence, and Snyder’s unsubtle framing of the five leading ladies in revealing outfits; it’s a feminist’s nightmare come to vivid, chicks-banged-by-a-camera life. After remaking a horror classic (Dawn Of The Dead) and adapting two celebrated graphic novels (300 and Watchmen), Snyder took a chance with an original project, yet all he accomplished was a confirmation of something we already knew: He’s a geekier version of Michael Bay, only without the box office numbers to back up his shallow tendencies.
But here’s the crazy part: Having said all of that, we’re still here to recommend Sucker Punch, not further beat down its lifeless corpse. Taken as nothing but visual stimulation, Snyder’s ridiculous tale about a sexy young mental patient (Emily Browning) who fights giant, Gatling gun-armed samurais, Nazi zombies, and fire-breathing dragons inside fantastical dream worlds, with four of her fellow looney tunes (Abbie Cornish, Complex cover girl Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens)—and, yes, they’re all hot, as well.
Sucker Punch completely lacks in logic, making little sense throughout and then introducing a minor twist that drains whatever smidge of a tangible plot was even there in the first place. But, fuck, is it a glorious mess to watch, beaming with pristine effects, beautiful chicks with swords and gats, and admirably on-point and straight-faced performances from its unfortunate cast. If a filmmaker is going to fail, he or she might as well do it in this grand of a way; we can’t disagree with all of Sucker Punch’s impassioned haters, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to re-watch the hell out of this extravagant disaster.
Buy it now: Sucker Punch
Season Of The Witch
Coolest extra: Alternate ending (DVD/Blu-ray)
Complex says: Even the biggest Sucker Punch attackers have to admit one thing: Snyder’s misfire is infinitely better than Season Of The Witch, the latest, and arguably most shameful, stain on one-time Academy Award champ Nicolas Cage’s sullied career. Repeatedly delayed, this shoddy action-adventure flick—about a washed-up crusader (Cage) and his merry men transporting a supposed demon woman to a secluded monastery—should have gone straight to DVD, perhaps only on the SyFy channel’s schedule.
A theater full of hard-working moviegoers is no place for an unintentionally hilarious climax in which a shameless Cage goes toe-to-CGI with a supernatural creature that looks like a level boss from Castlevania, circa 1987. The film’s director, Dominic Sena (who’s also to blame for the unbelievably bad 2009 graphic novel adaptation Whiteout), must have thought he was shooting The Lord Of The Rings, when he should have approached the ambitious yet silly material with a Monty Python And The Holy Grail-like playfulness; Season Of The Witch is self-serious to the point of self-parody.
Cage doesn’t even comprehend the utter bile he’s a part of; rather than go overboard with his manic gifts, like Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans or Kick-Ass, the fallen star portrays his generic hero with forced gravitas—William Shatner would be proud. As for anyone else, though, Season Of The Witch will most likely signal a shift in Cage’s public perception. Not too long ago, it was fun to clown his poor career choices; now, it’s just sad.
Buy it now: Season Of The Witch
The Warrior’s Way
Coolest extra: Deleted scenes (DVD/Blu-ray)
Complex says: How bad has Nicolas Cage’s reputation become? Watching The Warrior’s Way, it’s tough not to picture Cage in Geoffrey Rush’s (Slumming it, much?) role, that of a sniveling alcoholic who helps a warrior (Jang Dong Gun) protect a baby from evil goons. With his long, mangy hair, Rush has the look that Cage has adopted in so many of his crap-fests (such as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and the movie itself, an overcooked mish-mash of every samurai and martial arts movie trope ever put to screen, is in the same unintentionally funny category as Season Of The Witch, though The Warrior’s Way is certainly better.
At least director Sngmoo Lee’s fantasy adventure pic is fully aware of its silliness. Gun, looking like he was dropped in from an old Akira Kurosawa movie, slices through an array of villains, from ninjas to, yes, a clown; when Gun’s not kicking ass with the charisma of Stephen Chow on Quaaludes, he’s romancing the totally miscast Kate Bosworth, who, like Rush, must have lost a bet with her agent.
An altogether harmless action flick, The Warrior’s Way is worth a look if you’re into bad movies, the kinds of creative hatchet jobs that star otherwise respectable actors and inspire the question, “What the hell were they thinking?” The only participant who walks away from this forgettable romp is Lee, whose visual style is admittedly impressive, coating the film in a palette that's not unlike Sucker Punch and makes for some wonderful cinematography. We’ll take what we can get.