"Sucker Punch" is a sexy burlesque about drugs, dragons, and mobile suit armor

Our first glimpse of Sucker Punch, from Watchmen director Zack Snyder, was a psychotic visual explosion that seemed to collapse every science fiction, fantasy, and action genre into one. No wonder: It's set in an insane asylum.

Yesterday the trailer for Sucker Punch hit the web, but we saw a lot more of the movie in the sizzle reel that debuted at Comic-Con.

My immediate impression on watching the sizzle footage of Sucker Punch - which included a lot more characters and scenes in the "real world" - was that it was basically a mashup of every single genre I love. Plus, it moved and felt like the world's most visually arresting videogame. It's the story of several women locked in an insane asylum, and their heroic quest to escape. Or are they really escaping? We open with a scene of lead Emily Browning being brought to the asylum in a car, dragged bodily inside by two men. "Open your mind," says a voice. "You'll find your paradise." Suddenly, once she's entered the asylum, the world explodes into color. The same voice says, "You control this world. Relax and let go." She's entered the realm of fantasy.


And what a fantasy it is. Samurais battle dragons, which turn into massive steampunk airships, which morph into rows of glittering burlesque dancers, which whirl apart and reveal another planet where Saturn hovers in the distance and giant mobile armor suits fight each other in the upper atmosphere. And then we see David Carradine, with a samurai sword, saying, "You fight for survival. It will set you free." It just doesn't get any better than that. Dragons, dancing girls, airships, mecha fights, AND David Carradine? Let's just hope that we spend most of Sucker Punch in the fantasy world, instead of the real world of the asylum, which looks like a gray schoolroom where a creepy-looking Don Draper shoots the girls up with drugs and says, "I bring you freedom from pain."

Snyder said the movie would likely be PG-13, because all the death and destruction happens to the monsters rather than the humans. "It's like Lord of the Rings, where they got a PG-13 because they cut the heads off Orcs instead of humans," he quipped. So what's our assessment? If the movie lives up to the footage, it will be mindblowing and fun. But given Snyder's track record with FX-heavy stories that sometimes add up to nothing, we're restraining ourselves from whooping for joy - despite the fact that the dragon war scenes were freakin awesome.

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Please please please don't be 15 mins of awesome fantasy sequences in a 2 hour film about mental instability. I submit Evidence A: "Gothika" (very disappointing) and B:"Franklyn" (shiver, so cold, so very cold).

But man, if I put my fears aside this thing looks 7 shades of awesome.