It took long enough – about nine years – but finally Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez take us back to the pulp, noir, hard-boiled realm of Sin City. It’s a cool place to visit, but as it turns out, it’s not a place I want to live, and it seems the general movie-going audience feels the same way.
Based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is a revisit to the characters of the first Sin City film (and original comic). Oh, there are a a couple new faces, but it’s more of the same, really. I love these stories and the comics. They were so origianl and unique at the time. And I just love the style – the stark black and white. And the first Sin City film was such a great visualization of the comic. Sometimes it was literally a comic book on film, frame for frame. It was so amazing to see it translated to the big screen because nothing had been seen like it before in comics, so of course it was ground-breaking for film, too.
And perhaps that is why this second installment doesn’t really have the same impact as the first. A Dame To Kill For isn’t bad, it just doesn’t have the benefit of being new or unique anymore. And the stories, as good as they are, just don’t seem to not have the same sense of engagement. You now how you just feel like something is missing but you can’t put your finger on it? Yeah, that. I know, I’m so articulate.
It’s a bit perplexing, because the cast is great across the board. Mickey Rourke returns as Marv, Jessica Alba as Nancy, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Booth, and Jamie King, all back in their original roles. Josh Brolin fills in here as Dwight, played before by Clive Owen. And for the new stories, Eva Green stars as Ava, the Dame To Kill For, strangely getting a lower billing than Alba, even though Green is more prominent here, but whatever. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as Johnny. Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Christopher Lloyd, Juno Temple, and Dennis Haysbert (filling in for the late Michael Clarke Duncan) round out the cast. I know, it’s star-studded! Oh, it should be noted that Josh Brolin makes a GREAT noir/hard-boiled character.
The film itself looks great. Perhaps because of advances in technology everything looks crisper, more vivid. But at the same time, it seems to have less moments of pure graphic black and white, and more scenes of regular black and white with shades of gray. And frankly, the prosthetics for Mickey Rourke’s chin and jaw look particularly unnatural and overly large this time around. It’s like he’s got severe acromegaly or something. He’s looking a bit like Eric Stoltz in Mask. It took me out of the film fairly often.
However, despite those things, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is still entertaining stuff. If you like the first one, surely you will enjoy this. The Dame To Kill For story is great, and I love me some Eva Green. And lets face it, these are stories all from the mind of Frank Miller, so that’s good source material any way you look at it. And it’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen, so there’s that.
Not quite as good as the first Sin City, but still a good three and a half kittenhands, which is way better than most.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, kind of surprised this is tanking so hard in the theater.