Director: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
Starring: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Dennis Haysbert, Bruce Willis, and Christopher Lloyd
From Miramax Films
By Monte Yazzie (www.thecodafilms.com)
In 2005 director Robert Rodriquez transformed author Frank Miller’s neo-noir graphic novel “Sin City” into a stunning, cutting-edge film. Rodriguez, adoringly making a living comic book, utilized a groundbreaking mix of digital style and animated renderings. “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” is a continuing story involving old and new characters. Miller, who also co-directed, utilizes an established story as inspiration but also includes two new tales. The narrative, somewhat fragmented, is again a gritty crime noir piece with intensified aesthetics of violence, sex, and revenge. Rodriguez and Miller keep everything relatively familiar, though “Dame” wields uncompromising style into every scene it doesn’t demand much more.
No one is innocent in Sin City. Some familiar faces still dodging their demise, but also a few new ones looking for trouble, journey about Sin City’s desperate streets. Nancy (Jessica Alba) hasn’t been the same since the suicide of her protector in the first film, a cop named Hartigan (Bruce Willis). An early image of a lost Nancy, scantily clad with a bottle of hard liquor and a handgun, is the descriptive sum of themes for the film. Her plight of desperation and revenge is one echoed throughout the mirage of extravagant visual style and outlandish violence. Nancy’s entrancing dance has a purposeful aggression this time around; her vengeful sights are squarely set on the powerfully corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Willis makes a welcome cameo as a ghostlike guardian of sorts, while Boothe shines in an unpleasant role within two of the stories. The narrative struggles with keeping the shifting stories interesting. Especially Nancy’s story which unfortunately gets lost amongst the others but displayed potential of being the most interesting because of the characters extensive arc within the world.
Just like the first incarnation, “Dame” weaves storylines throughout each other with Nancy’s dive bar workplace playing the community intersection for the stories. Marv (Mickey Rourke) a bruising and bruised staple in the degenerate packed tavern watches over Nancy, but visitors are always welcome. This includes a cocky gambler named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is playing a dangerous hand during a card game with Senator Roark. While Dwight (Josh Brolin replacing Clive Owen), a returning character from the first film, seeks retribution after deadly dealings with a femme fatale (Eva Green). The cast, even some unmentioned here, are exceptional throughout. Rourke in full comic makeup seems tailored to play Marv’s brawly presence. Gordon-Levitt is also good, squaring off against Boothe in a flow of tough guy sentiments and power gestures that are heightened in the realm of a poker game. Brolin, always interesting to watch, seems somewhat overshadowed playing opposite the best performance in the film by Eva Green. Green’s hyper sexualized performance as Ava seems to share all the best attributes of villainous women all wrapped into her character. Vulnerability and voluptuous beauty utilized to make men into her controlled marionettes.
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” continues its seedy sex and violence fueled tale with the same unique visual style established in the original nearly ten years ago. While the style and story are not entirely fresh, Frank Miller’s knack for constructing interesting characters and Rodriguez’s capable skill as a director keeps a relatively average sequel entertaining enough for those ready for another trip to Sin City.
3.50 out of 5.00