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Lust, Caution

Sucker Punch


  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Cut
Release: Jun 29, 2011 - Author: Jason - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
The Movie

After comic adaptions like 300, Watchmen and further movies also based on already excisting standards like the Dawn of the Dead Remake or the kid's book filmization Legend of the Guardians, the movie title "Sucker Punch" was supposed to be the plot of Zack Snyder's latest motion picture. This was also the very first time that Snyder was involved as screenplay writer of a stand-alone story.

Several trailers promoted the movie as meaningless every man's fantasy with scantily dressed young chicks fighting obscure fictional creatures like giant samurais, zombie soldiers, orcs, dragons & terminator-esque robots/cyborgs (whatever) with plenty of gunpower & cutting tools in video game-esque action sequences on the big screen - always with a lascivious smile on their faces, graceful posing and standardized slow motion sequences. Parties with the buddies, lots of beer and wild bawling are obvious.
The movie itself hit the audience and critics even-handedly: with lots of room for interpretation (director Snyder still refuses to come up with an explanation of any kind), Sucker Punch sends five institutionalized young chicks to experience adventures on three different reality levels to escape from gloomy reality. Even the meta level, which is considered to be reality, is being introduced in the form of a stage play at the very beginning of the story.

With its attempt of matching the single levels by the different characters and colors including interpretating the difficult connections correctly, the movie splits the audience thoroughly. Some consider the movie sexistic entertainment with style over substance en masse without any logic, others have seen ANYTHING in it (or at least they claim they have): from a differentiated, very ironic comment about the unsubstantial action, fantasy and sci-fi movies those days, a war zone allegory of the US in the first two thirds of the 20th century right up to the exposure of the alleged completed emancipation & strengthening of the woman in society as pool of silly fictions respective flattering synonyms for a lasting sacrifice of any personal liberties. Actually, Sucker Punch is all and none of that at the same time. A pretty smart listing and combining of any necessary clichés with a story and production to give any viewer whatever he wants. Big action sequences with heavy arms and chicks with less clothes as possible for the males among the viewers, style icons exploited by life and men but stil fighting back bravely for the girls, several somehow connected reality levels plus some twists for the (wannabe) movie buffs. And all of them can point with the finger at the others and claim they were stupid because they'd seen things that didn't exist - without even one of them knowing the truth about the movie. And behind the scenes, director & screenplay writer Snyder is watching it with pleasure.

The Versions

Dealing with the MPAA must have been a cause of concern for Zack Snyder. Despite earlier announcements, it became clear pretty soon that the movie was going to be shot with a PG-13 rating in mind but the director, who usually shoots movies for an R, wasn't really aware of the requirements for PG-13 which is why he had to give it to the MPAA five times to get the intended PG-13 rating. With a look at the Theatrical Version, the reason becomes obvious: the fundamental tone is still pretty sinister, the cathouse topic with the permanent danger of being sexually humiliated or simply molested (there are three more or less intensive attempts of raping one of the "inmates") and the use of all the weapons. Not even the soulless non-human enemies in the action sequences can help here. Even a movie on the level of the PG-13 version of Sucker Punch gets sometimes a (soft) R so that the production team can't complain about the MPAA here. Taking a detailed look at the Extended Cut, whose R is absolutely justified btw, it's really interesting to see how naive the team must have been if they really thought they got a PG-13 for movie theaters without making any alterations.
Amongst other things, the Extended Cut contains the already-mentioned sexual harassment scenes (including attempted rape) ans those much are much harder here which the effect of emphasizing the permanent crudeness to the womankind in the cathouse. Furthermore the representation of action and violence has been destinctly increased by adding a lot of fooatage, massive use of weapons included. Besides the "typical MPAA cuts" with a length of a couple of frames / seconds, longer sequences needed to be removed as well because the MPAA considered scenes that contain not only massive use of force but also a tremendous amount of fallen enemies too critical for a PG-13. As a result of that, the beginning of the second quest in the medieval castle contains an entirely new battle sequence with many many orcs and lots of (green CG) blood due to the excessive use of firearms and cutting tools.
What's really distorting the meaning: the Theatrical Version lacks Baby Doll's virginity being sold to "High Roller". In the sex trade, her imminent deflowering symbolizes the imminent lobotomy into the "real world". At least it does in the Extended Cut. Due to the lower rating, this aspect was almost removed to imply that her destiny is going to be equal in the "real world" and the "fantasy world": her lobotomy. Of course, it doesn't make any sense in the context of the cathouse topic but that's secondary.
Apart from that, some plot elements and one of the originally five musical numbers are back in the movie - at least the extended scenes in the cathouse could have been removed to ensure a PG-13 because they illustrate the topic (the same could be assumed about the musical number). Some frame cuts in either of the versions, mainly in the first and second quest, may be a result of the different editing processes of these scenes (written in smaller letters in the following comparison).

The bottom line is that the Extended Cut is the better version and should be prefered. In the US, the rental version of Sucker Punch was released on 06-28-2011 and the retail version is going to be released on 08-05-2011.

The Extended Cut is 17 min 45 sec longer than the Theatrical Version.

78 differences in total
In particular:

- 32 cuts for censoring
- 13 cuts to tighten the plot
- 5 alternate shots
- 3 alternate order of the scenes
- 2 censored dialogs
- 19 frame cuts (Theatrical Version)
- 4 frame cuts (Extended Cut)
Baby Doll shoots at her rattled stepfather a second time; this time she hits his left arm - you see a bloody bullet wound. The stepfather holds his wounded arm.
5.5 sec.

Alternative Order of the Scenes(Extension in the Extended Cut)
Theatrical Version: Sweet Pea calmly says that the priest probably brought Baby Doll there from the orphanage. Blue laughs and says that it's true. Then he adds that the "High Roller" will arrive in 5 days to "pick the little flower". Sweet Pea looks a litte gloomy. (14 sec.)

Extended Cut: Sweet Pea calmly says that the priest probably brought her there from an orphanage so that she loses her virginity. Then she corrects her statement by saying that Baby Doll is able to SELL her virginity. Sweet Pea grins and says "How original." Blue then says that the "High Roller" will arrive in 5 days to "pick the little flower"; he will pay a huge amount of money for it. Sweet Pea says that Baby Doll is quite lucky. (26 sec.)

The rest of the conversation also offers slightly different takes in both versions. However, the content stays exactly the same (despite an additional "Please." by Sweet Pea in the theatrical version when she says that Bluse should already know the show and that she doesn't have any time for it).

The tour through the nightclub continues: Rocket shows Baby Doll the backstage area and explains that it is meant for the girls only and that they should not take any customers back there. Then she shows Baby Doll the storeroom and explains that all the new girls have to do some cleaning; additionally, Rocket says that they will lock the girls in there if they refuse to do what they're told until they are a little more "cooperative" again. When the door is closed Rocket adds that Baby Doll will probably not have to face this problem.
They walk into the kitchen. Rocket looks through the porthole-like window and disgustedly explains that they all have to work in there. The cook (who's extremely busy) shortly looks at them, twists his mouth to suggest a kiss and then grins raunchily. Subsequently you hear a loud bell and the two of them look around. Rocket says that it's time for her lesson and they walk on.
51 sec.

Just before the lesson ends, Rocken in the theatrical version says that this is why they're dancing while in the extended cut he says that she will see it tonight. In the latter version you then see the musical number Love is a Drug sung by Blue & Vera; there are a lot of dancers involved and the scene looks quite extravagant. During this performance you again and again see scenes of the everyday work in the nightclub; every now and again we see Baby Doll (sometimes she looks like she's keen on what she's seeing, other times she looks rather depressed) doing what she was told to do.
After the musical number we see Sweet pea lying in her bed; this scene begins earlier in the extended cut and from outside the room you hear the guests cheering a little longer.
265 sec.

The cook besets Rocket a little longer and then throws her on the ground.
In the theatrical version we see him throwing her on the ground after a short cut to Baby Doll.
3.5 sec.

Alternative Order of the Scenes(Extension in the Extended Cut)
In the theatrical version the cook slowly wrestles with Rocket and then already pushes her hands on the ground. (5 sec.)
In the extended cut Rocket tries to fight back a little longer. Additionally the cook lays down on top of her after he pushed her hands down on the ground. Then he closes her mouth and tells her to be quiet by hissing. (11 sec.)

Images originate from the extended cut:

Censored Dialogue
In the theatrical version we don't hear the cook adding that they only wanted to have a little fun. Instead we just hear him laughing.
No difference in time.

The scene in the backstage area begins earlier: Vera writes the dancers' names on the little board; Sweet Pea is going to be tonights big star and has to dance first. The other girls are parially relieved and paritally gleeful. Vera says that the rehearsal begins in a couple of minutes and cheerily puts her hand on Sweet Pea's shoulder. Rocket and her bigger sister sit down while one of the girls clears Sweet Pea's seat. Rocket contentedly and dreamily looks through the room. Sweet Pea then says that she won't help Baby Doll.
Rocket then asks what if her (Baby Doll) plan is good - while in the theatrical version this question can be heard during the previous shot of baby Doll sitting around, you see it onscreen in the extended cut (during the conversation betwen Rocket and her sister).
44 sec.

"Wise Man" briefs the girls a little longer: the map includes sites of troups as well as blueprints of trenches; the map is supposed to be brought to Germany this day by a courier using a zeppelin.
8.5 sec.

"Wise Man" adds that it's supposed to give them a little backup.
2 sec.

"Wise Man" asks Amber what she thinks of the combat robot and she says that she likes it. The following shot (Amber climbs up the ladder) begins a little earlier.
8.5 sec.

The doors that lead to the inside of the robot close a few frames earlier.
A few frames.

Amber is shown a few fames longer inside the combat robot.
A few frames.

There's a slow-mo shot of the girls coming out of the wads of smoke and onto the battlefield. Ambers follows the others inside the robot.
15 sec.

The German soldiers storm out of the trenches in an additional shot and start to fire their guns.
0.5 sec.

There are 2 additional back views of the girls moving forward.
3 sec.

With a few precision shots Amber is able to shoot the three German fighter aircrafts that fly above her; then we see a shot of Blondie looking up.
8 sec.

Blondie runs up a hill and fires at the enemy attackers with a huge gun - they drop like flies. Blondie empties the whole magazine and then lowers the gun. Then follows a shot of the battlefield that is crowded with the corpses of German soldiers. Blondie throws the gun away.
22.5 sec.

Blondie downs 2 additional attackers by kicking them.
4 sec.

The shot of the soldier with the hatchet in his chest is shown for a few more frames and teh following shot begins a few frames earlier.
A few frames.

Blondie goes to the soldier with the hatchet in his chest and pulls it back out; steam comes out of his suit. The camera pans bottom-up and the other girls run towards her a little earlier.
8.5 sec.

The shot is a little longer and a few soldiers pass the girls and walk along a hallway.
2 sec.

The back view of Sweet Pea starts a little earlier.
A few frames.

Rocket throws a knife at an attacker and kills him; another soldier brisks up to her a little earlier.
2 sec.

Rocket artistically stabs to more soldiers.
4 sec.

Sweet Pea ducks down and dodges a blow by an enemy; then she hits another soldier with the stock of her gun; after that, she throws him against the wall of the trench.
5.5 sec.

Sweet Pea runs towards the door which just closed a little earlier.
1.5 sec.

The courier hangs on the wall of the bunker a little longer - he's held by the knife which someone threw at his shoulder.
A few more frames.

Baby Doll shortly duels the enemy unit's leader with a sword; at first she's defeated and he hits her against the head and throws her to the ground.
10.5 sec.

Baby Doll follows teh courier a little longer and shoots several soldiers in the process.
One of these sequences (where Baby Doll kills one of the attackers with a sword thrust) is shown in the theatrical version a little later.
11.5 sec.

The shot of the courier lying on the ground starts slightly earlier.
A few frames.

So does the following close-up shot of him.
A few frames.

The close-up shot of the enemy unit's leader starts earlier, too.
A few frames.

A new scene inside the backstage area: Vera tries to cheer Baby Doll up by quoting Mark Twain. Then she says that she will be able to do it, grooms herself a little and then leaves the room while saying "It's showtime." Baby Doll gazes after her and then looks at Amber who turns the board around and optimistically crosses the word "fire" out.
34.5 sec.

The closer shot of Baby Doll dancing starts slightly earlier.
A few frames.

The shot of Amber starts slightly earlier.
A few frames.

After landing in the castle the girls face quite a big crowd of orcs. At first they decimate the enemies (happens mostly off-screen) with firepower as well as a few commands ("Go!"; "Up!"; "Go!"); additionally they jump over the others' heads. Then the girls pull out their swords and stand around in a stylish pose before they start fighting; they push forward through the inner courtyard, killing several orcs and causing loots of (green) blood to splatter all over the place. In the end, the trio is able to walk up the steps to the entrance door; upstairs, Baby Doll decapitates one of the orcs. In front of the door the girls put silencers on their guns.
Meanwhile the orcs fire a burning rock (sic) towards the plane that circles above the castle - you see an explision. Amber is jarred but she still has everything under control.
The theatrical version at this point shows a plane approaching the upper rampart; Amber fires at the orcs and kills some of them while their leader angrily notices this. In the extended cut this follows a little later.
119 sec.

At this point the theatrical version's sequence (the orcs climbing in the catapult) begins a little earlier as an exception.
A few frames.

The scene of the orcs being fired at from the helicopter is slightly longer.
A few frames.

The shot of Baby Doll and Rocket begins slightly earlier - they nod to each other.
1 sec.

The shot of the baby dragon is slightly longer.
A few frames.

The shot of Sweet Pea begins slightly earlier.
A few frames.

The shot of Baby Doll & Rocket begins slightly earlier.
1 sec.

Baby Doll walks towards the edge of the bridge a little longer.
1.5 sec.

Alternative Take
The shot of the girls walking down the steps towards the courtyard begins slightly earlier in the theatrical cut; in return, it is a little longer in the extended cut.
No difference in time.

A few orcs are standing in front of the castle's gate holding their bows; outside you cann see the knights trying to open it with a tree trunk.
3.5 sec.

Alternative Order of the Scenes(Extension in the Extended Cut)
Theatrical version: The knights ram the gate open and storm into the castle. The dragon spreads out its wings, spits fire and screams. The girls turn towards the tower while the knights blankly look around. The dragon looks down to the courtyard and then we see a close-up shot of his right eye. (12.5 sec.)
Extended Cut: The girls turn to the tower wave of fire comes out of it. The orcs in front of the gate get scared and flee. The dragon slowly comes out of the tower and then follows a close-up shot of his left eye. Now we see a rapid tracking shot towards fraught-looking Baby Doll; then the dragon spreads out its wings, spits fire and screams. The knights ram the gate open and the girls turn to the attackers storming in.The knights blankly look around and the dragon looks down to the courtyard. (26.5 sec.)

Pictures originate from the extended cut:

The shot of Amber inside the plane is slightly longer.
A few frames.

The shot of the plane following the dragon begins slightly earlier.
A few frames.

Blondie shouts at the dragon and fires at it a little earlier with the aircraft cannon; there's a slow-mo shot of the capsules falling to the ground.
7 sec.

Sweet Pea and Rocket fire at the knights who are storming through the gate; accordingly, the knights fall to the ground.
5 sec.

The plane turns a little longer.
A few frames.

In the theatrical version Blondie looks for the dragon a little longer.
A few frames.

The back view of the battle starts slightly earlier.
A few frames.

The dragon follows the plane a little longer.
0.5 sec.

Blue says to Baby Doll that she wants to take her smile out of her face by shooting it.
In the theatrical version the last part can be heard during the back view of Blue; however, she doesn't finish the sentence but "falters".
5.5 sec.

The shot begins a few frames earlier; you see the tip of the cook's knife sticking in Rocket's torso while he pulls it out.
A few frames.

Censored Dialogue
A part of Blue's sentence is different in both versions. In the theatrical version she refers to him as "friend" and "protector" while in the extended cut she refers to him as "father" and "lover".
No difference in time.

After saying that they try to take her most precious possession, Blue adds that it's them.
1.5 sec.

(Teilw.) Alternative Take
The shot of Blue (where Vera says that this little dream of freedom is everything they have) for one thing is slightly different, for another thing it's shortened in the theatrical version: You see the strike with the gun in Vera's face a little longer, resp. there's an additional shot of her falling to the ground.
1 sec. (Extended Cut longer)

In the theatrical version, Vera says that there's nothing he could do that he didn't already do to her (the sentence written in italic is not included in the theatrical version).
1.5 sec.

Alternative Take
During Amber's headshot you in the theatrical version see a glass that reflects the muzzle flash; the content of the glass creates a stir due to the jar of the shot. In the extended cut we instead see the weapon being fired by Blue.
No difference in time.

Theatrical Version:Extended Cut:

Blue shoots at Blondie again who's lying on the floor (the corpse lies around off-screen).
2 sec.

Blue additionally says that they should carry that body away while Vera is pulled away a little longer.
0.5 sec.

(Teilw.) Alternative Take
Blue adds that he's thinking about the High Roller's hands sliding all over her body. He says that she thinks about all the men who will look at her and want her. When he says that she might think that this is fun for him, this in the theatrical version is spoken off-screen while you see a shot of Baby Doll; in the extended cut he says it onscreen.
12 sec.

Theatrical Version:Extended Cut:

Baby Doll slaps Blue in the face and the latter reacts by saying that this is good.
2.5 sec.

After Blue threw Baby Doll on the table the shot goes on for a few more frames (he calls her a slut).
A few frames.

Baby Doll tries to grab the knife in an earlier shot while Blue edges her a little longer.
2 sec.

Blue thrills baby Doll a little longer to moderate her.
4 sec.

The back view of Blue where Baby Doll gets a hold of the handle of the knife that's sticking in his shoulder starts slightly earlier.
0.5 sec.

In the theatrical version Goon (who was moments ago kicked in the nuts) stands up a little longer.
A few frames.

The shot of Baby Doll is slightly logner in the theatrical version.
A few frames.

After Baby Doll was kocked out we see a short black screen and then we see Sweet pea on the run who steals a white dress from the clothesline behind the house.

Cut to Baby Doll who's unconsciously lying on a huge bed; a few hands stroke her body/take off her fishnet stockings. Baby Doll slowly wakes up and sits up; the girls who just looked after her step aside.
The "High Roller" is sitting around in the background and tells her that they're going to have sex. However he doesn't just want the "physiological thing" but something that even he (a wealthy man) can't buy. Baby Doll thinks that he's talking about love but the "High Roller" says that he wants a moment of truth. While he gets up and slowly walks towards the bed (2 women take off his jacket) he says that he can only have such a moment from a person who doesn't fake it. Baby Doll still doesn't know what he's talking about. The "High Roller" sits down next to her and adds that he spent a fortune to get her in this room and now would be able to have her body but he wouldn't really know who she is, which actually is what he wants. After all, he wants her to have sex with him of her own free will.
Baby Doll slowly unbends, gets a little closer to him and says that she's sorry and that he really seems to be a nice guy. Then she asks him if she really shouldn't just lie to him. The "High Roller" says no and whispers that he only wants this moment where he doesn't force her to have sex but where she really wants it; Baby is really keen on his engaging manner. He then explains that he will give her something back. While he explains all the liberties she will be granted, Baby Doll (obviously aroused) slowly takes the "High Roller's" clothes off. When he goes on about her liberties we soon find out that he doesn't want to give her freedom but rather wants to free/redeem her from everything. The two of them fall on the bad and start to kiss. The "High Roller" asks her not to close her eyes and then moves forward again to kiss her passionately.

Then the extended cut also shows the lobotomy. Needles to say, the penetration with the long hot needle as well as the doctor's explanations that she looked at him as if she WANTED him to to it have a completely different touch than in the theatrical version, now that they follow right after Baby Doll's final figment of her imagination.
331 sec.

Blue grabs Baby Doll's neck a little longer.
0.5 sec.

(Teilw.) Alternative Take
Blue grabs Baby Doll's (who's completely defenseless) neck a little more, kisses her longer and then shouts that he told her not to leave. The following sentence (he tells her to come to him) is included in both versions; however, in the theatrical version he says it onscreen after the movie cut to him a little earlier. In the extended cut he instead chokes her a little heavier.
11 sec.