Sin City: A Dame to Kill for is the highly anticipated follow-up to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film noir homage. So why does it fail to make a dent at the box office?
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a ‘kick-to-the-shin-shitty’. There I have said it. You can stop reading this review now. Grab a tissue or an aspirin……you’re going to need it.
The world cannot be viewed in black & white unless you’re a comic book writer with Frank Miller’s highly sub-textual, borderline misogynistic & yet hardly subtle take on life. There was something delirious & hilarious about the world of Sin City where every perv meets his match & where shots fired lead to cash. The first Sin City movie is about criminal extremities & perversions of bad guys gone terse and good guys gone worse. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the asshole.
In comparison, Sin City 2 is about the following things – Pick a gun, pick a fight, pick a line, shoot, get shot & then stand near the window while patterned light hits you. Oh! And Betrayal! There’s always Betrayal!!
Let’s time jump a bit. So Sin City had released in 2005 when I was a 19 year old sophomore. I remember buying a DVD of this movie from a ramshackle mall & watching it on an old CRT television…Could this be true? Now here was a black a white movie with decapitations, sex, gun fights & dialogues that even make Clint Eastwood’s lines in Dirty Harry seem like songs by Shania Twain. My prayers had been answered.
This was also a time when Comic Book movies has hardly just begun to show us what they were capable of in terms of storytelling (Batman Begins, X:Men) while engaging in a delicate dance between fantasy & realism.
Sin City was thus a first of its kind – highly stylized, neo noir adventure that wowed us all with its ultra violence, shady setting & sheer balls. Add to that a stellar A List cast with Clive Owen, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood & you had the perfect recipe for a hit.
And so it was.
Sin City was a film with some great action, badass characters (Marv, Dwight, Jackie Boy & Hartigan) & some memorable dialogues, but with Sin City 2, you get the feeling that makers of the film tried to pass off this much delayed sequel (9 years of gestation) as some kind of inside joke on how fanboys would even lap up table scraps served to them in shiny silver foil.
If Yikes was a word that could help me articulate my disgust with this movie, I would have used it by now in one of the sentences in the above paragraphs.
Sin City 2 simply made me sad. Very sad. Extremely sad. Sad enough to cower-under-a-cold-shower listening-to-music-by-Celine-Dion-sad!
What you get in Sin City 2 is a trickled down & mostly uninspired sketchy assembly of a morally grey story that is guaranteed to make your brain telling your eyes ‘sorry’.
While the first Sin City movie had so many high points & cool stories, none of the stories in Sin City 2 inspire excitement, because none of the heroes accomplish anything heroic throughout the film. Everybody’s in it for themselves. Everyone’s a selfish, delusional & neurotic wastrel – dragging their wares & poor motivations around town – looking for a shit storm to strike.
Marv (a standout character from the first film played to perfection by the excellent Mickey Rourke) is tragically reduced to a bored common thug who’s looking to start a fight & kill people for no reason at all. In the first film, his role & motivations seemed so much larger (Avenging the death of an innocent girl & clearing his name). Heck, there was a shimmer of righteousness to every sick thing he did. Marv was a mentally deranged killer with a heart of gold with a penchant for chivalry ….but Sin City 2 undoes all that legend & turns the iconic beast into a bumbling goon looking for trouble, excuses to get into fights for anyone who meets him at the bar & for newer ways to fill his cup with blood.
Josh Brolin is simply atrocious as Dwight, unable to capture the menace & dry wit of Clive Owen from the first movie (in the same role). Dwight’s street smarts & extreme calmness even in a fucked up situation, is almost reversed by turning Dwight into a pussy whipped & gullible fool who keeps falling for a pretty woman’s old bag of tricks in the sequel. Josh Brolin looks bored & tired throughout his role. I actually felt happy every time he was thrown through a window (a world record for crashing through glass for Josh Brolin).
Labored & lacking in any kind of novelty, Sin City 2 is the kind of refused refuse that even makes the junkyard owner shout ‘fuck off’. When Director Robert Rodriguez isn’t shooting Machete movies with the bland & blocky, Danny Trejo, one would seriously wonder, what was that man smoking? Does Rodriguez’s otherwise endearing talent for being the one-man-film-army amount to some love lost when it comes to the overall quality of this film?
After the novelty wears thin of the Sin City universe, you’re left with a dry mouth & a sweaty forehead wondering what was the make of the car that hit your head so bad. This is a sequel so half assed & unworthy, I vouch for it to get its own funeral.
Even Eva Green’s Omni-present nipples can’t save this colossal slip! While her role is both menacing & scant in terms of arc & costume, one wishes the beautiful & talented actress would choose her roles more carefully.
How did they miss the plot this bad? Why is it so difficult to get drawn in to any of the stories? What the hell is Joseph Gordon Levitt doing in this movie? His story arc (an original piece of writing by Frank Miller for Sin City 2) has got to be one of the most dull aspects of the movie. Shouldn’t Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callaghan have moved on by now? Even Bruce Willis doesn’t look like he gives a shit when she bangs her head into a glass mirror.
There is no hero to root for, no plot that compels you to hope for your guy or gal to win, no story that knocks you off your socks, no dialogue worth remembering, no noteworthy action sequence & none of the wit from the first movie.
What one gets instead is a ensemble of the world’s biggest losers who bore you with their raspy monologues & who sneak around town making merry with a gun & basically looking for places to run.
Sin City is a film so bland & devoid of excitement that it makes me wonder why I spent the last 9 years waiting for a sequel to what still strangely remains one of my all time favourite movies.
When the apple falls this far from the tree, one wonders if the pissed off junkie below the tree had anything to do with kicking the apple further away from the tree.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a mighty painful head-sore. Do not watch this film.
CHECK OUT THE GREEN SCREEN WORLD OF SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR.