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'Hanna' packs punch

November 30, 2011 - Meg Alexander
I rented a movie recently that I've been talking about nonstop since the credits started rolling. "Hanna," simply said, kicks a**, grinding its competition — "Sucker Punch" — into the ground.

"Hanna" is a modern-day fairy tale of sorts, but this is a gritty tale with an edge, from its action sequences to the AWESOME soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers.

Hanna is a teenage girl raised in the wilderness in Finland by her father, who has trained her to be an assassin. When she goes out into the world for the first time, Hanna's mission takes on her a dangerous journey across Europe, with an evil CIA "witch" and her creepy little henchman constantly on the teen's trail. The suspense was great, and the fighting shows off the athleticism of the main character, somehow coming across as realistic despite the odds of a young girl against multiple full-grown men.

The acting was really wonderful, especially considering the complexity of the characters. Saoirse Ronan plays a convincing little assassin, suitably shell-shocked by her new surroundings and sweetly naive, despite her extensive training and killer instincts. Eric Bana is rustic, rugged and ... really sexy, an aloof yet protective father figure, and Cate Blanchett is superb as his nemesis.

"Sucker Punch" was ... none of the above. The acting was blah and the soundtrack painfully bad, with the exception of Bjork's "Army of Me" and "White Rabbit" by Emiliana Torrini.

Much of the movie takes place in the mind of the main character, played by Emily Browning, who fantasizes about working in a jail-like strip club/brothel rather than face the reality of the mental institution her stepfather placed her in. And when things get too tense in stripperland — when she has to actually dance — she then fantasizes about killing bad guys with her fellow inmate hotties. Ridiculous!

I was so bored with the "action-packed" fantasies within her fantasies and was more interested in what was actually taking place in her real life. But of course, that wouldn't allow for the twist at the end. Sigh.

I won't say more, and my apologies if I've spoiled anything for anyone who wants to see "Sucker Punch," but I would seriously recommend skipping the latter and watching "Hanna" instead if you're in the mood to see a truly adventurous, kick-a** film.


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