Reviews, Thriller

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

A Dame to Kill For

Copyright © 2014 by Dimension Films

Adapted to the big screen from Frank Miller’s series of graphic novels, the latest acts as a prequel and sequel for the events which took place in the original. Marv (Mickey Rourke) is recruited by Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) whose ex-lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green) has him believe she is physically abused by her husband, Damian (Marton Csokas) and they storm into the heavily guarded residence for a daring rescue. Marv’s skill set is also sought after by Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) to avenge John Hartigan’s death (Bruce Willis), perpetrated by Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). In his regular backroom poker game with his cronies, the senator is confronted by Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young gambler who harbours a family secret and intends to use it against the political figure in the high-stakes game.

I must say, the release of ‘Sin City’ back in 2005 was nothing short of a visual splendour; the mostly black and white picture was perfect for its depiction of a decadent city populated by corrupt politicians and dirty cops who patrol the streets. The inclusion of certain ‘coloured’ characters and objects only added to the dimensionality of the many colourful personalities that light up the screen. Noirer than noir, it remained a unique achievement until, well, number two came along.

After nine years in the making, is it worth the wait? Not as much as you might like to. Clearly, much care has gone into the production and everyone who is onboard knows the importance for it remaining relevant in a field where an overcrowded crop of action thrillers look to strip it off from the minds of young men. To no avail, the grosses from the first week of release are disappointingly low and it does not appear possible to fare any better in international waters as well.

What went wrong? Guess you cannot catch lightning twice in a bottle. While the use of colour layered with shades of grey is still a unique blend for a moody and detach feel, it brings nothing new content wise. Sure, there are a couple of surprises (which you can see a mile away anyway) and the resolutions are closures to certain demises in part one yet it will not leave you wanting more. Much like ‘300’, the tale would have been better off a proud loner than a tiresome twosome.

A real pity though as the lineup is populated by some of the finest in Tinseltown. They are all let down by an undercooked script that is forgetting an important ingredient; character development. Many returning and new members come and go, barely registering an ounce of individuality. A big relief in fact when they are bumped off one by one; fewer superfluous additions to care about for a more blood-splattering, gun-toting, sword-wielding good time.

Leading the diverse but indifferent cast is Green as the manipulative and deceptive dame in question. She is wickedly funny, dangerously seductive and helplessly gorgeous – traits missing in many of the other monotonous performances. Preserving the zeal, Dennis Haysbert who takes over from the irreplaceable Michael Clarke Duncan is a towering and imposing figure of authority while Boothe’s expanded hold on the city comes as a quivering reminder for those who dare to challenge the system.

Where do the good guys stand? The shadow of villainy is set to prevail over whatever good is left (a literal used for a tasteful showcase on Green’s ‘assets’ is both beautiful and bewitching) but originally created for the second installment, Gordon-Levitt breathes fresh life as a confident and brash gambler who has a score to settle with the foul senator. If only the rest of the crusade could have kept up, this would be a killing I do not mind sinning for.

Entirety: B
Acting: B
Plot: B-

Rated R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use


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