It took Robert Rodriguez nearly a decade to bring back the cast for Sin City, where he teamed up with graphic novel creator Frank Miller to bring his neo-noir tales to the big screen. This time, the duo took elements from the second story of the Sin City series and the sixth book together with two original storylines – The Long Bad Night and The Fat Loss – that Miller created for the film.
On the other hand, Rodriguez is back once again as co-director, cinematographer, editor, and score-writer. Sin City wasn’t perfect, but it had promise. In the case of A Dame To Kill For, all of that has been squandered.
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The Movie Review
Scar-faced Marv, ex-detective vigilante Dwight McCarthy, and stripper Nancy Callahan make their return in this three-tale film. This time with new faces – Johnny, a young cocky gambler, gets entangled inside a bloody mess after humiliating Roarke during a game of poker. There’s also the sly Ava Lord, wife of wealthy tycoon Damien Lord and Dwight’s former lover.
Despite his bitterness, Dwight still agrees to help Ava out on a mission. Meanwhile, Nancy is still deeply depressed over John Hartigan’s death and longs on getting revenge on Senator Roarke. Marv, instead of taking the spotlight, is there on the sidelines helping both Dwight and Nancy in a quest for revenge.
Although the narrative structure of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is more flimsy than the two straightforward plot lines and one wraparound that defined the original picture, it is nevertheless Rodriguez’s most lively and reasonably enjoyable work since its predecessor.
The majority of this is due to the “Dame” plot adapted from the graphic novels, yet even this is limited by the film’s and source material’s restrictions.
The part I disliked the most about the film is its portrayal of women, which was already an issue in the first movie. Adding a female villain didn’t redeem the movie’s sin either.
Of course, staying faithful to the original’s feel means that the film’s inherent flaws remain: even Ava Lord’s cunning tricks and the badass ladies of Old Town (led once by Gail) can’t erase the idea that women are treated horribly in this world, and men aren’t much better.
The sleek noir approach adds a dreamlike element that helps to alleviate some of this, but the problems remain. Some of the speech shifts from hard-boiled noir narration to sounding like the daydream of a teenage boy, and not all of the performances are as well-matched as you might hope.
The thing I did like a lot are the performances of the cast, I mean look at Eva Green’s ability to switch from becoming a damsel in distress to a femme fatale who seduces men to control them, and disposing them when they’re no longer of use. Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t feel forced at all as Johnny, as if he was there in Old Town all along.
Then you have Josh Brolin as young Dwight, who gave life to the character. As always, the visual aspects of the film always makes the film engaging to look at, but it could’ve been nice to see something new.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Sin City: A Dame To Kill is ultimately saved by the neo-noir visuals and the actors’ amazing performances, though when you’ve already seen these in the first film the magic just doesn’t work anymore. Sure, all the revenge that happens is satisfying to see. That’s pretty much all the reasons you should see the movie, other than the violence or Jessica Alba.