If you watched the original Sin City, you probably remember it well – the stark monochromatic visuals, the hard boiled characters, the ultra violence – it was as if the adventures of Marv, Dwight, and Hartigan had been ripped directly out of the pages of Frank Miller’s gritty neo-noir comic series. It wasn’t incredible, but it was different enough to get comics fans and general audiences alike talking about it, and talk they did, begging directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller for a sequel. Even though Rodriguez had been teasing audiences about the so called production, it took 9 years for the sequel to hit theatres.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill for takes the phrase sloppy seconds to an all new level – just as fan desire for a sequel diminished since 2005, the filmmakers seemingly also had the mickey taken out of them. Whatever passion we witnessed before has clearly disappeared as Rodriguez and Miller make a lazy cash in on fan service, and while still very watchable, feels empty by comparison with the original film.
If you aren’t familiar with the preview film, A Dame to Kill For is divided into three separate stories the take place in the fictional location of Ba”Sin” City, where everyone is dirty, but some dirtier than others. The first story is a prequel, where Dwight (Josh Brolin) must save his reluctant love interest but finds out that she isn’t what she seems, The second story follows Jonny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man with nothing who is great at gambling and tries to use his skills to get close to Senator Rourke, and finally the written-for-film story of Nancy (Jessica Alba) who seeks revenge for the death of John Hartigan but must fight her personal demons before she can obtain the courage to do it.
For Sin City fans and audiences that enjoy their movies on visually creative side
The Bottom Line
Watching Sin City today, it’s easy to pick up on the dated visuals, and the over-the-top narration isn’t digested quite as easily. But what makes Sin City so good is the inter-connected nature of the individual story-arcs and the near-perfect casting.
The stories aren’t as complex nor as visually exciting as the previously selected stories and it shows. The music is even more stock than it was before and characterises how uninspired this movie is – it’s like Robert Rodriguez is director in name alone because A Dame to Kill For smells like Frank Miller.
Mickey Rourke and the majority of the sin city veterans have returned for another curtain call, but new to the film is Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, and Eva Green’s rack – but even her ample bosom isn’t enough to forgive the overall sin from Sin City 2.
So with all this negative sentiment, Is Sin City: A Dame To Kill For worth watching? Yes and no. Forgiving fans and initiates will get the most out of this film, but for many of us, Sin City has been done better in the past – better stories, better visual design, better everything. The Nancy story arch doesn’t even make sense. But at the same time, as much as it cannot measure up to the impossible standards of the original film, there is still value in seeing the sequel. It’s still a franchise that deliberately bucks the realism trend and everything about it is completely contrary to that we’ve received in comic book adaptations recently.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For isn’t awful, it’s just several years too late to the party. Sensibilities have changed in 9 years, tastes have evolved, trends have progressed, and it feel like this franchise is a relic of a time long gone. To be honest, I think the creators and actors feel the same way – the film is confused and devoid of clear direction; ultimately, the biggest sin is that there is no love, and its hard to sell something like Sin City without love for what it stands for.
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