SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 3, 2014
A decade ago, films like “Sin City” and “300” were revolutionary, delivering cinematic sequences straight from the pages of graphic novels with a style over substance monicker that made them thrilling to watch. Fast-forward ten years and those stylistic choices have been heavily explored, especially by “300” director Zack Snyder, whose films “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch” both pushed some visual boundaries. So when “300: Rise Of An Empire” and “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” were released this year, many people thought, “too little, too late,” as in, unless these films had a comprehensive revamping, displaying not just eye-popping imagery but high-end performances and richer, deeper narratives, who is still going to be anticipating these sequels. And with that, both of those films ended up being slightly watered down versions of their former selves. For the most part, the same creative people were involved, as Snyder executive produced “300: Rise Of An Empire” and Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller both returned to direct “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” and yet nothing new and exciting was produced, proving to be more of a lateral move rather than any forward momentum. There is nothing wrong with lateral moves, especially in the serial sense, but in an industry where audiences are constantly waiting for the bar to be raised, anything that stays the same feels redundant and misguided.
“Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” did benefit from having some extremely talented actors and actresses jump aboard, including Josh Brolin, who took over Clive Owen’s role, Dwight, from the original, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who garners his very own solo story, and, exactly like “300: Rise Of An Empire,” Eva Green graces us with her presence, turning even the worst written lines into a siren song of seduction, as I could watch her in just about anything. Not to mention small standout cameos by Christopher Lloyd and Juno Temple, among others. Beefing up their roles this time around, the returning cast is made up of Rosario Dawnson, whose S&M clad Gail pairs once again with Dwight, Mickey Rourke as Marv, the thick-skulled maniac who weaves his way into everyone’s story, and Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba continue their storyline from the original, this time with Alba taking on the more highlighted role. One has to wonder, however, if this film were made, say, five years ago, if people like Clive Owen or even Michael Clarke Duncan (may he rest in peace) would have reprised their roles rather than being recast. Regardless, the impressive cast in place does nail their exotic roles, fitting into this dark, monotone world quite nicely.
Brimming with fighting and sex, “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” embraces its R-Rating, at least pushing those boundaries by displaying enough nudity and violence to ride the line between blockbuster and pornography. Eva Green is naked more than she is clothed and even Jessica Alba enhances her seductive stage dancing this time around. All of these elements fit wonderfully into the world of noir, where the characters talk to the audience, telling their stories as they puff on their cigarettes or chug their alcohol. Sadly, those stories are no more creative then the last batch. This time around they are slightly more confusing, with certain deaths and entrances messing with the timeline set in place during the events of “Sin City”. Somehow none of this seems to matter, as “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” feels more like “the next chapter” rather than the complete revamp. Offering just enough new colors in a palate of black and grey to force some entertainment, had Rodriguez and Miller not stepped up their game in any regards, there really would have been zero reason to produce this sequel.
August 22, 2014
“Sin City” & “A Dame To Kill For”
by Frank Miller
(for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use)