By Marcus Flewellen and Ray Allen
Chief Film Critics
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
Rated R, 1 hr. 42 min.
Cast: Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Juno Temple, Dennis Haysbert, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Eva Green
Written by Frank Miller (based on his comic)
Written and Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
Marcus: 2 out of 5 stars
Ray: 2 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is the long-awaited sequel to the 2005 megahit “Sin City”. Much like the original “Sin City”, “A Dame to Kill For” is an ultraviolent and ultra-stylized film noir set in a fictional metropolis. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an incredibly lucky gambler facing off against an incredibly powerful and corrupt senator (Powers Boothe). Josh Brolin plays Dwight McCarthy, a tortured private-eye who’s tempted by the return of his duplicitous ex-girlfriend Ava Lord (Eva Green). Jessica Alba plays Nancy, a stripper still tormented by the death of her lover John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) in the first “Sin City” and seeks revenge against the man who killed him.
Marcus: I haven’t seen the first “Sin City”, but I got from this film exactly what I expected from a film called “Sin City”: an incredibly violent, bloody and gratuitous piece of pulp fiction. If you have no interest in seeing an hour and forty five minutes of sex, nudity, stabbings, shootings and decapitations (not necessarily in that order) then this movie is definitely not for you.
I enjoyed the visual look of the film. Co-directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, as well the cinematographers and the visual effects and production design teams clearly had a great time. No other film looks like “A Dame to Kill For” (other than the original “Sin City” of course).
But about an hour into the movie, I was no longer impressed or entertained by the visual look of the film, and the film became incredibly boring instantly. This film would be fantastic as a contained 30-minute short film. As it is – and like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen the first film – it’s about forty minutes too long.
I accept “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” for what it is – a stupid movie that knows it a stupid movie. I enjoyed the first hour or so. After a while, though, it’s just no longer fun. The worst thing pulp fiction can be is boring, and for at least half its runtime, “A Dame to Kill For” is exactly that.
Ray: Like its 2005 predecessor, the black and white pages of Miller’s magnum opus play like a comic book, but roll like a developing film reel. Then panels now are once again given motional without losing the identity of its paper-bound counterpart. An almost beautiful visual corrupted by its own reflection. “Sin City: A Dame To Kill” For has the grittiness of the neo noire genre, but the hyper-masculine content of Spike T.V program. Countless acts of violence consisting of but not limited to: decapitations, organ mutilations and gun shots damper the film’s quality from a masterpiece to a gore fest. Though sans color (with the exception of some characters), the blood may be white, but it appears that is not the only opaque fluid being shed.
Multiple scenes containing nudity and overall sexual intercourse earn the film’s R rating by itself. In conjunction with the strong acts of violence, this results in flat-out film overkill.
“Sin City: A Dame To Kill” For is not much of a true sequel than it is just a part two to the original story line. Acting in the same matter of Miller’s comic, the film is told in small connecting vignettes called yarns. The problem is the stories lack a true structure of time. Yarns connect, but our memories forget. People who were established earlier in are forgotten then brought back leaving the patron to wonder “Where did you come from again?” Mistakes like these result in a rather uninteresting climax. Cue credits and disappointment.
With “Sin City” being Miller’s own source material, it is nearly impossible to blame the film’s success on poor direction. Then again with Spy Kids director and Tarantino enthusiast Robert Rodriguez working along aside him, it is no surprise that the noir drama runs like it’s been hit with an adrenaline shot.
Marcus Flewellen and Ray Allen review films and cultural trends for Capstone News Now. Their views do not necessarily reflect the views of WVUA-FM.