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Review: Sin City A Dame to Kill For

Aug. 21, 2014by: JimmyO

PLOT: In the sequel to 2005’s SIN CITY, we once again witness trouble aplenty for the unfortunate souls that populate this crooked and dangerous little place on the map.

REVIEW: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are back to serve up a slice of violence and sex in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. In this sequel to the 2005 original, the graphic novel comes to life with four stories tied together to take us deep into this dark and dank place. The denizens of this seedy place include killers, con-men, prostitutes and some of the deadliest people you don’t want to meet in real life. A few of the familiar faces return including the character of Dwight McCarthy (this time played by Josh Brolin), Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), Marv (Mickey Rourke) and Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) to name a few. The question is with a near ten year wait, is Sin City worth checking into once again?

Played out somewhat as a prequel to the original film, A DAME TO KILL FOR is separated by four slightly interlocking stories which begin with Marv attempting to remember a particularly brutal night of bloodshed in “Just Another Saturday Night.” We meet a young gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who plays a deadly game with Senator Roark (Boothe) in “The Long, Bad Night.” And Dwight – with a little facelift from Clive Owen’s visage – revisits a troubled woman from his past in Ava Lord (Eva Green). She is the stunner of a dame who may lead to his downfall in “A Dame to Kill For.” And finally in “Nancy’s Last Dance”, Nancy (Alba) deals with the loss of John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) as she attempts to avenge his untimely demise.

Of course, there are a number of other citizens that happen to be a part of these stories including a fun segment with Ray Liotta as a not so faithful husband and Dennis Haysbert as a seemingly unstoppable bodyguard to Ava Lord. With all the new faces, the graphic novel still rings true in many ways to the original film. Yet all too often, it fails to live up the macabre thrills of the first.

In this new take, the transition between each segment seems flimsy at best – unlike the first. In one of the new stories created for the film – not from the graphic novels – Gordon-Levitt as the gambler taking on more than he can handle with Roark is bit of a bore. It is the weakest entry of the four. Aside from the connection to Roark, this wasn’t nearly as effective as some of the other elements on display. However, it is entertaining to watch Boothe once again chew the hell out the scenery with his vicious character. In the second new narrative, Jessica Alba gets to stretch her acting muscles a bit. Haunted by the ghost of Hartigan, she plots revenge against Roark – with Marv showing up to give some support to his favorite stripper. This entire section felt a bit redundant without really raising the stakes in any way. The adapted storylines were much more involving than the new entries.

In this year’s 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, Eva Green showed up and made the film far better than it should have been. Well once again, every time this sultry femme fatale was on-screen, A DAME TO KILL FOR was worth the price of admission. When Ava Lord shows up to convince Dwight that she desperately needs his help, you know he is in for trouble. The actress can play the demure and frightened woman-in-distress, and within the blink of an eye she becomes a bit of a man-eater, ready for the attack. Both Green and Brolin share some serious on-screen chemistry that is nearly as good as the original, if not better. And of course the actress has not a single issue about nudity so if that is what you are looking for, you will get it here. In 3D no less!

Visually speaking, technology has been kind to the world of SIN CITY. This is a beautiful flick that jumps off the screen. Shot in 3D and against a green screen, the seedy world of SIN CITY is still very compelling, even if the story and script is not always pulling you in. Equal to and possibly improving upon the original, this is a slick and well-crafted flick that manages to bring Miller’s novels to life. The use of color for select characters continues to be a nice touch as well. From the make-up effects to the costumes – or lack thereof – this is cinematically an impressively realized world of corruption and comeuppance.

As a whole and complete anthology, A DAME TO KILL FOR falls short of the first. Many characters from the original are wasted including Wendy and Goldie (never enough Jaime King for my liking) and Gail (Rosario Dawson), although the latter has a little more to do alongside Dwight and Miho - this time played by Jamie Chung. Even still, once Brolin commands the screen and Green again proves to be a major movie star, you have yourself half of a worthy follow-up that will leave you breathless. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR may not live up to audiences’ expectations but it may be worth a matinee. This Dame might even be better than anticipated after a too long hiatus away from all the sinful and fiercely fun criminal behavior.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:01AM on 09/04/2014
Complete bore of a movie. Doesn't compare to the first one. The only story that's even remotely interesting is Dwight's story. Marv's makeup is completely different and you can tell the prosthetics aren't the same, making it a bit difficult to buy if you just saw the first one before seeing the second. This sequel is 10yrs too late. Thank christ it was a cheap tuesday flick or I'd be asking for my money back. The 3D appeared to be post-conversion, which is alarming after reading it was shot IN
Complete bore of a movie. Doesn't compare to the first one. The only story that's even remotely interesting is Dwight's story. Marv's makeup is completely different and you can tell the prosthetics aren't the same, making it a bit difficult to buy if you just saw the first one before seeing the second. This sequel is 10yrs too late. Thank christ it was a cheap tuesday flick or I'd be asking for my money back. The 3D appeared to be post-conversion, which is alarming after reading it was shot IN 3D!!! What a complete waste of time...
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10:15PM on 09/03/2014
Nothing compared to the first one IMO. The Dwight story was the best of them all, but even it couldn't redeem this movie. The other two stories were just do goddamn boring. Nancy's revenge was so dull to watch because it was so one dimensional and you knew it'd end with her revenge. The makeup for Marv looked COMPLETELY different in this one! It was just terrible! Sin City 2 was definitely a movie made 10 years too late and a completely unnecessary one.
Nothing compared to the first one IMO. The Dwight story was the best of them all, but even it couldn't redeem this movie. The other two stories were just do goddamn boring. Nancy's revenge was so dull to watch because it was so one dimensional and you knew it'd end with her revenge. The makeup for Marv looked COMPLETELY different in this one! It was just terrible! Sin City 2 was definitely a movie made 10 years too late and a completely unnecessary one.
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10:09AM on 08/22/2014

Totally not up to snuff with the first one

The first one had much cooler characters and set pieces. This one fell flat and the main story about the girl was just boring.
The first one had much cooler characters and set pieces. This one fell flat and the main story about the girl was just boring.
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11:58PM on 08/21/2014

Going to have to disagree with this one.

I just went to see this and I have to say, it did not disappoint. I would even go so far to also say it was right on par with the first. IF you are a Sin City fan, do NOT pass this up.
I just went to see this and I have to say, it did not disappoint. I would even go so far to also say it was right on par with the first. IF you are a Sin City fan, do NOT pass this up.
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7:59PM on 08/21/2014
I'm still excited for this. The source material and world of Sin City is just too much damn fun to not be excited.

Plus, It has a great cast. Can't be TOO average, even though some films with good casts suck sometimes.
I'm still excited for this. The source material and world of Sin City is just too much damn fun to not be excited.

Plus, It has a great cast. Can't be TOO average, even though some films with good casts suck sometimes.
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7:15PM on 08/21/2014
Robert Rodriguez and Jessica Alba keep working together but they're so bad for each other. Alba desperately needs a serious role that will ask more of her than just be pretty, and Rodriguez need actors that can act over-the-top, play archetypes. And the last thing you need in a R-rated movie is a PG-13 strip club.
Robert Rodriguez and Jessica Alba keep working together but they're so bad for each other. Alba desperately needs a serious role that will ask more of her than just be pretty, and Rodriguez need actors that can act over-the-top, play archetypes. And the last thing you need in a R-rated movie is a PG-13 strip club.
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3:48PM on 08/22/2014
Agreed. I don't want to be that guy who's a dick and says Alba should have gotten naked. But the Nancy role really does call for nudity and without it, it as you said makes it look like a pg-13 strip club in an R-rated city.
Agreed. I don't want to be that guy who's a dick and says Alba should have gotten naked. But the Nancy role really does call for nudity and without it, it as you said makes it look like a pg-13 strip club in an R-rated city.
6:43PM on 08/21/2014
I still might watch it for the title story. I've only read the first three books, but "A Dame to Kill For" is my favorite, hands-down. I think the marketing screwed up from the get-go by not using Cells on the soundtrack. I remember when the first one came out, I didn't know a thing about Sin City, but I must've watched the trailers for that movie a hundred times (not exaggerating). It looked so much like my kind of thing (big film noir fan here). The fact ALL the backgrounds look fake (in part
I still might watch it for the title story. I've only read the first three books, but "A Dame to Kill For" is my favorite, hands-down. I think the marketing screwed up from the get-go by not using Cells on the soundtrack. I remember when the first one came out, I didn't know a thing about Sin City, but I must've watched the trailers for that movie a hundred times (not exaggerating). It looked so much like my kind of thing (big film noir fan here). The fact ALL the backgrounds look fake (in part I blame the fact that technology is sharper than it was back then) also has me a little cynical. Not to mention neither Rodriguez or Miller produce quality on the level they used to. But I really do love Josh Brolin and Eva Green and the story they occupy.
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8:06AM on 08/22/2014
If you've only read the first 3 you should check out the last book Hell and Back. It's the best one imo.
If you've only read the first 3 you should check out the last book Hell and Back. It's the best one imo.
6:28PM on 08/21/2014
I love this first one, but there was just something about this that stunk too much like the 300 sequel.
I love this first one, but there was just something about this that stunk too much like the 300 sequel.
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6:06PM on 08/21/2014
Its not surprising that the new original stuff doesn't stand up to the adapted material. Now we just need a kick ass adaption of Hell and Back and we're set.
Its not surprising that the new original stuff doesn't stand up to the adapted material. Now we just need a kick ass adaption of Hell and Back and we're set.
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5:48PM on 08/21/2014
One of the things I noticed about this installment from the trailers is how bad the CGI looks. It looks like the actors are on a flat plate of glass with the background projected on another flat plat. Its all crisp and clean, in fact too clean. The first one integrated the effects much better.
One of the things I noticed about this installment from the trailers is how bad the CGI looks. It looks like the actors are on a flat plate of glass with the background projected on another flat plat. Its all crisp and clean, in fact too clean. The first one integrated the effects much better.
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6:33PM on 08/21/2014
I think the problem was how much more of it they used. Some of the sets in the original Sin City were actually there (Katie's Bar, for instance).
I think the problem was how much more of it they used. Some of the sets in the original Sin City were actually there (Katie's Bar, for instance).
5:09PM on 08/21/2014
The first one is a near masterpiece in my book. The trailers for this looked great but between JimmyO's review, the steadily declining rating on IMDb, and the current 44% on RT... it ain't looking good.
The first one is a near masterpiece in my book. The trailers for this looked great but between JimmyO's review, the steadily declining rating on IMDb, and the current 44% on RT... it ain't looking good.
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4:53PM on 08/21/2014
It's amazing how badly the first one holds up.
It's amazing how badly the first one holds up.
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5:16PM on 08/21/2014
watched it the other night still holds up like a champ
watched it the other night still holds up like a champ
6:39PM on 08/21/2014
I actually agree with jyri_krr. Rewatching the original now and comparing it against some of the really great superhero and crime films we've gotten over the past decade it seems less noir-ish and more just outright campy.
I actually agree with jyri_krr. Rewatching the original now and comparing it against some of the really great superhero and crime films we've gotten over the past decade it seems less noir-ish and more just outright campy.
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