Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
UK Release: 25/08/2014
Directed by: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green
It’s finally time to head back to Basin City – a mere 10 years after Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller brought Sin City to our screens. And it looks as though not much has changed in the sprawling dark of our favourite comic-noir gangland.
Jumping straight back into the twisted tales of Dwight and Marv, fans of the original Sin City will feel right at home. Mickey Rourke is back on form as the dangerous and probably psychotic Marv. And this time, he’s teaming up with anyone and everyone for a bit of extra carnage.
It certainly feels as though Miller and Rodriguez have cherry-picked their favourite moments from the hard-hitting graphic novels while adding in a few extras… and for fans of the series that’s bound to delight. Josh Brolin makes a rather excellent Dwight – taking over from Clive Owen in a role he was born to play. And even the usually baby-faced Joseph Gordon Levitt seems to fit comfortably in this grim and grimy world… portraying a young con-artist who soon falls foul to Basin City’s most powerful man.
But is ‘A Dame to Kill For’ anywhere near as memorable as the original Sin City?
Let’s face it – Rodriguez has dialled the violence back a bit. There are still plenty of beheadings and limbs flying everywhere… but it seems a lot more controlled. And to put it bluntly, nobody gets their genitals ripped off and pounded into the floor. If you ask me, that’s a good thing. It’s not as hard-hitting as the original, but perhaps that’s the point.
Instead, A Dame to Kill For lifts the lid on our favourite characters from the first movie – even the now deceased Hartigan makes an appearance in a ghostly form. And where new additions enter the stage, it’s easy to see how the characters fit into the grim world of Sin City. I have to admit, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s story seems a tad unnecessary, but at the same time it illustrates just how the mean streets of Basin City can chew you up and spit you out.
Unfortunately, there’s not much else to it.
Now, don’t get me wrong – if you loved Sin City then there’s enough to keep you watching. But that’s really about all there is to it. The overall plot certainly lacks the subtlety (if you can call it that) of the first movie. Where the original managed to deftly weave several stories in and out of each other, A Dame to Kill For takes those subtle connections and beats you over the head with them. Repeatedly.
A Dame to Kill For also suffers with the same problems as its predecessor. Most obviously, its rather appalling characterisation of women… a relic left over from the first movie that simply restates how badly women are treated in Basin City.
Well, for the most part.
Eva Green is on top form as the sultry and seductive Ava Lord – a cunning con-woman who can wrap even the most hardened killers of Sin City around her little finger. In fact, she’s a joy to watch and it’s clear that she enjoyed every minute of her two-faced role. But much like the first movie, most of the women of Basin City are kept in their place. Even the gun-toting girls of old town (led by Rosario Dawson) can’t quite shake the idea that they’re living in a male-dominated world.
But perhaps that’s the point… and in a place like Sin City, is it any wonder that the knight in shining armour arrives in the form of a trenchcoat-wearing Marv?
It’s much of the same in terms of visuals, using the signature splash-of-colour on a predominantly black-and-white film. And while the film is available in 3D, I can’t help thinking it adds little to the experience. Sure, there are some action sequences that really ‘pop’ but it’s a forgettable experience for the most part.
Still, if you like gritty crime-fuelled vengeance sprees, you’ll probably like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. But it doesn’t quite stack up against the original.