Boobs, Blood & Brutalities in Black and White and Red All Over Again
Thanks to Icon Films we had the chance to see ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
Nine years after the original Sin City became one of the biggest surprises of 2005, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller finally deliver the long-awaited follow-up. The good news is that ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ once again brings back the gritty atmosphere of the beloved original, the bad news is that this much anticipated sequel just does not live up to the high expectations. Whereas the original Sin City provided an impressive overview of Basin City and all its sinister inhabitants with shocking stories of violence, abuse and corruption, the stories in ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ are much more straightforward, which makes this sequel feel like more of an epilogue than a full-fledged follow-up.
This is partially due to the source material: the 2005 movie was based on three of the four original Sin City comic book series: ‘The Hard Goodbye’, ‘The Big Fat Kill’ and ‘That Yellow Bastard’. This sequel is mostly based on ‘A Dame To Kill For’, the only one of the four original Sin City-stories that did not make it into the first film. The adaptation of ‘A Dame To Kill For’ is the centerpiece of the film, sandwiched between three short stories that make less of an impact. ‘Just Another Saturday Night’ featuring Mickey Rourke’s Marv is basically just as a prologue, while two other shorts have been written just for the movie; the first one, ‘The Long Bad Night’, involves Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an unfortunate gambler, while ‘Nancy’s Last Dance’ is an epilogue where Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callahan wants to take revenge on Senator Roarke (Powers Boothe) for the death of her protector Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Strangely enough she receives aid from Marv, which basically means that this final story is set in between the events of the first film.
While the Australian distributor seems to have chosen to build the marketing campaign for the film mainly around Jessica Alba, she is actually not the Dame To Kill For; that is Eva Green. It’s the second time this year that Green stars in a Frank Miller comic book-adaptation, and just as in ‘300: Rise Of an Empire’ she is the highlight of the film. Once again she plays a sexy villain, but where she went gloriously over the top in ‘300’ Green goes for a more menacing performance this time around as she portrays Ava Lord as a manipulative, seductive, deceitful and deadly femme fatale. Just as in ‘300’ Green has no issues with nudity, on the contrary; the Dame To Kill For appears onscreen naked most of the time.
Another positive thing about this follow-up is that the stories are not as twisted and sick as in the first film. Sure enough the violence is ridiculous, but the absence of characters like the Yellow Bastard or Elijah Wood’s cannibalistic serial killer Kevin, who gave the first movie such a nasty aftertaste, is quite welcome.
Once again Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have rounded up an impressive cast: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Powers Boothe all resume their roles from the first film, and Jaime King pops up again in a little cameo. Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are worthwhile new additions, and Ray Liotta and Lady Gaga also pop up in small roles. But what’s particularly bizarre about this sequel is the amount of roles that have been re-cast; Obviously the late Michael Clarke Duncan had to be replaced and 24’s Dennis Haysbert takes his spot as the invincible brute Manute. Clive Owen’s Dwight is played by Josh Brolin, which can also be explained since the character has had plastic surgery, which was mentioned in the first film. But in addition to that Asian assassin Miho is now portrayed by Jamie Chung since Devon Aoki was not available due to pregnancy, and Jeremy Piven has taken over the role of Michael Madsen’s corrupt cop Bob – sure enough Michael Madsen would have been available??
While the Sin City-series won’t get any new followers with ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’, fans of the original will be glad to be back in Basin City, even if it is only for 100 minutes.
‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ – In Cinemas September 18