Movie Reviews

Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 6 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Mickey Rourke as Marv
Jessica Alba as Nancy
Josh Brolin as Dwight
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny
Rosario Dawson as Gail
Bruce Willis as Hartigan
Eva Green as Ava
Powers Boothe as Senator Roark
Dennis Haysbert as Manute
Ray Liotta as Joey
Christopher Meloni as Mort
Jeremy Piven as Bob
Christopher Lloyd as Kroenig
Jaime King as Goldie / Wendy
Juno Temple as Sally
Stacy Keach as Wallenquist
Marton Csokas as Damien Lord
Jude Ciccolella as Lt. Liebowitz
Jamie Chung as Miho
Julia Garner as Marcie
Lady Gaga as Bertha

Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez

Summary:
"Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" features the same violence and visual effects that made the first film interesting, but it ultimately feels like a retread of familiar territory rather than a groundbreaking sequel.

Story:
This film is the sequel to 2005's "Sin City" and is based on Frank Miller's popular, violent and sexy comic series.

"Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" features four short stories lightly interwoven together. The first features Marv punishing a group of frat boys for killing homeless people.

The second short story features Johnny, a cocky young gambler who comes to Sin City to win it big and make a name for himself, but when he brashly beats Senator Roark in a poker game, he gets more than he bargained for.

The third short story introduces Dwight, a private investigator with a dark past that he continues to run from. But when his lost love Ava seeks his help, he finds himself equally repelled and attracted to her. Against his better judgment, Dwight attempts to find out who is manipulating Ava, but he quickly discovers that the answer may cost his life.

The final short story features Nancy, who has been haunted by the death of her love Hartigan. Spiraling further into alcohol, rage and depression, she focuses all of her emotions on Senator Roark. She becomes determined to kill the most powerful man in the state, but she's going to need the help of Marv to do it.

"Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is rated R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use.

What Worked:
If you saw the first "Sin City," then you know exactly what to expect in this sequel. You have the highly-stylized filming that comes straight from Frank Miller's comic. You have the comically over-the-top violence. You have multiple short stories featuring cheesy narration. It's all here. So if you’re a big fan of the first film or the comics, then you'll probably enjoy "Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For."

The visual effects are undoubtedly the highlight of this film and they are enhanced by viewing it in 3D. Fists and arrows fly out of the screen. Snow and flying shards of glass give an amazing sense of depth. You get the idea. If you're really up for seeing this film, the 3D is worth the extra money.

CG effects and 3D aside, the actors do a good job with what they have to work with. Josh Brolin stands out as Dwight. His surly performance and square jaw fit right into Frank Miller's world. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also likable as Johnny. He has the right mix of youthful arrogance and toughness to sell the character. Eva Green, however, definitely steals the spotlight as Ava, Sin City's femme fatale. She's an odd character in odd situations, but Green throws everything she's got into the performance (more on that later). Among the supporting cast, standouts include Christopher Lloyd as the back alley doctor Kroenig, Jeremy Piven as the cop Bob, Julia Garner as lady luck Marcie, and Dennis Haysbert as the imposing Manute. While Mickey Rourke was the standout as Marv in the previous film, he's not given as much to do this time around. Still, he makes the most of the little screentime he has.

What Didn't Work:
The biggest problem with this sequel is that it feels like we've seen it all before. We've seen the striking visual effects ripped straight from the comics. We've seen the over-the-top violence. We've seen Marv and the other heroes and villains that live in this world. Nothing about this film feels fresh or new. Matters aren't helped by the fact that both Dwight and Nancy's stories feel very similar at least in the fact that they both climax with the lead character and Marv raiding a mansion and killing dozens of goons along the way. Nothing is taken to the next level. It's just a rehash of what we've seen before.

One thing you can say about "Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is that it is definitely by Frank Miller. And, unfortunately, his dialogue is as over-the-top as the sex and violence in his comics. And when the actors deliver his dialogue with utter seriousness, it's really hard to tell if Miller wrote it tongue in cheek or if he was trying to be dramatic. Throughout the film, characters would say lines of dialogue and the theater audience at my screening would laugh, but I couldn't tell if Miller intended there to be a laugh or not. It just made everything feel a bit hokey.

I also love Eva Green and think she's a great actress, but this film misuses her in a big way. It seems like well over half of her performance is topless. If she's standing there having a conversation, she's totally nude. If she's talking on the phone, it's naked in the bathtub. It's so gratuitous that you start feeling sorry for her. It's like Miller and Rodriguez were making up for the fact that Jessica Alba's stripper character never actually strips, so they had Eva Green go for it instead.

The Bottom Line:
If you liked the first "Sin City," then you're a prime candidate to enjoy this sequel, but even with that being said, you might find this to just be a retread of the previous film like I did.



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