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Featured DVD Review: Sucker Punch

October 16th, 2011

Sucker Punch - Buy from Amazon

Sucker Punch was produced and opened in its native U.K. in 2008, and is only now being released direct-to-DVD this week. That does not raise one's hopes. Maybe the film is an undiscovered gem. Or at least maybe it is a better than the average low budget action flick.

The Movie

Gordon Alexander stars as Charles Buchinsky, a drifter and a hitter. (A hitter is someone who fights in underground, bare-knuckle, no holds bared fights.) He got beat really bad six years ago, and it has scarred him to this day. He goes to an underground fight run by a man named Vic Maitland (Ian Freeman) and quickly proves himself. He's able to easily handle Maitland's fighter, much to the delight of Ray "Harley" Davidson, a local hustler whose looking for a new fighter to promote. Harley and Weeds (Jimmy Kent), Harley's cutman, take Charles to dinner and fast talk him into becoming partners. Harley's obviously looking for a way to earn money for some of the normal reasons, his girlfriend, Mandy (Kara Scott), is very pregnant. However, he's more interested in getting revenge on Maitland, who is equally interested in busting Harley. The two clearly have a history, beyond simple gambling loses. Charles is Harley's best chance to getting back at Maitland, but he's had his chance before and lost it all.

In the making of featurette, the film is described as "No Budget" by the producer, Joe Long. And it definitely looks like a low budget affair. At one point in the making of featurette, they use packing tape to secure a camera to the side of Gordon Alexander's head to get a first person view of a fight scene. On the one hand, I'm impressed they were able to make the movie. On the other hand, there are a lot of flaws found in the final product. Outside of Danny John-Jules, I recognized no one in the movie. Tom Hardy is in the film, apparently, but I don't remember seeing him. (After doing a little research, he played the mechanic where Harley tried to sell his car.) Many of the lead actors are inexperienced and wooden. Danny John-Jules is one of the few actors in the film with any life to his performance. Jimmy Kent is good as Weeds, but the character is, as Harley describes him, "chemically propelled", so he's not that energetic. Kara Scott's main previous acting experience was as hosts for various poker / Backgammon shows (Backgammon? On TV?) but she handles herself as Harley's girlfriend.

The movie is an action film, so acting is secondary to the fight scenes. Unfortunately, while there are a few fights that are quite entertaining, the budget limitations come into effect here as well. Some of the action scenes are poorly staged, the fights can't be too elaborate, etc. It's not as bad as some other low budget action films I've reviewed, but that's not an enthusiastic recommendation either.

The Extras

There is a 25-minute long making of featurette that is more in-depth than I was expecting.

The Verdict

If the makers of Sucker Punch had a bigger budget, maybe they could have created something worth recommending. There were hints here and there of a good movie, but not enough shined through. It's better than a lot of other low budget action films I've seen and the making of featurette on the DVD is better than expected, but there is simply too much competition in this genre.

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