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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Once again we visit the dark and rain slick streets of Frank Miller’s Sin City and along for the ride is our old pal Robert Rodriguez, so “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.
If you’ve seen the first movie you know what you are in for and if you haven’t basically Frank Miller tries to outdo Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler in a very stylized graphic way. Based on several stories from the Miller’s graphic novels, as well as two written for this movie, we get an interesting anthology mix of timelines as this movie is both a sequel to the 2005 movie as well as a prequel. If someone was to try and cut these two films into some kind of sequential continuity they’d probably develop an aneurism. Godfather II this is not.

“I’ve got a condition.”

Marv (Mickey Rourke) is back and laying waste to near do wells in his usual brutal fashion, he’s still in love with Nancy (Jessica Alba) but in a rather platonic way. It’s fun to see this gladiatorial monster tear through all opponents, but after a while even that can grow tiresome. Nancy is still the most famous stripper who never takes off her clothes, but now she’s getting drunk and taking target practice to get revenge against Roark (Powers Boothe) who is the man responsible for the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) who now watches Nancy from beyond the grave.

“I see dead people.”

Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a cocky gambler that claims “I never lose” but when he goes up against Senator Roark in a backroom card game he finds out that the cards on the table aren’t the only things in play.  Sadly this story goes nowhere, returns to add no further information, and then abruptly ends without a point.

Dead man’s plot.

Dwight (Now being played by Josh Brolin) has tried to leave Old Town but a call from old flame Ava (Eva Green) drags him back to the bad ole days. She is the titular “A Dame to Kill For” and because she is being played by Eva Green we completely buy that. Ava claims that she is trapped in a horrifying marriage by her abusive billionaire husband. Does she truly love Dwight or is there a darker play at hand?
“I loved you in Goonies.”

Ava is the quintessential Frank Miller character as she is cold heartless bitch from which there is no escape. The amount of times women in these films are called either a whore or a bitch certainly lends one to believe Mister Miller may have issues with women. This is Eva Greens second outing in Frank Miller adaptation, she played the chief villainous in the abysmal 300: Rise of an Empire, but this time out her character is slightly more interesting though even more underdressed. Seriously, she is naked a lot in this movie


This film is also littered with an excellent selection of character actors with the likes of Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Stacy Keach, and Christopher Lloyd filling out the cast, and for the most part they were entertaining if not a little wasted. Rosario Dawson is back as the dominatrix hung up on Dwight, and Jamie Chung has replaced Devon Aoki as the Old Town’s resident ninja. Dennis Haysbert steps in as Manute the evil chauffeur previously played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, now as much as I like Haysbert as an actor he doesn’t have the same physical presence that Michael Clarke Duncan possessed and that is greatly missed here.

“I may have lost a little weight…and an eye.”

The cast performances vary from decent to phoning it in, but given that many of the performances are buried under the incessant Mickey Spillane narration that goes on for bloody ever that is to be expected. The acting is not the real problem here but the pacing is, though with only a running time of 102 minutes it felt like I was in the theatre for over two hours.

Eva Green and Stacy Keach are Beauty and the Beast.

Visually the film does pop, like it or hate it the digital back lot provides unique visual tools in bringing a graphic novel to life. Now in the 3D it even works better, but what was interesting to me was the fact that the 3D segments that used actually comic panels worked even better. This leads one to believe a Sin City movie may have always been meant to be animated. Though I’m guessing Hollywood is currently not up to bank rolling adult animated features.


If you enjoyed the first Sin City movie you more than likely will enjoy this outing and if you didn’t then there is nothing here to change your mind.

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