Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Image courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is a follow-up to his semi-groundbreaking - and visually stunning - 2005 pulp fiction "Sin City," which made up for what it might have lacked slightly in content with style, wit and near-perfect capturing of the essence of hardboiled noir. It remains one of Rodriguez's better pictures.

This sequel, of sorts, comes nine years later and it pretty much mimics the style, story lines and tough talk of the original, but something feels lost. It's not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, but one that feels as if it's lacking purpose. "A Dame to Kill For" doesn't do anything we haven't seen before (at least, once before) and it comes off as a bit unnecessary.

This latest collaboration with Frank Miller includes a variety of murderous characters, including some we've seen before - such as Mickey Rourke's Marv, Jessica Alba's Nancy and Power Boothe's slimeball senator Roark. New additions include Joseph Gordon Levitt as a card playing expert who shows up in town to embarrass Roark, and Josh Brolin as a man whose love for a sinister femme fatale (Eva Green) gets him in over his head.

As before, the film is loaded with wall-to-wall violence, which is thankfully muffled slightly by the fact that the movie is in black and white. One could argue that the picture's depiction of women as either promiscuous or avenging angels might turn off some audience members. Then again, all of the film's female characters are strong women and the picture just might pass the Bechdel Test due to the fact that when these women are not discussing their relationships with men, they are talking amongst one another as to how they might kill some of their male counterparts.

A rundown of the plot is futile. It's essentially - men cross other men and attempt to kill one another, woman crosses man and he seeks revenge, man crosses woman and she seeks revenge. Rinse, repeat. The picture is stylish and looks great, which goes a little way toward helping one forget that the stories being portrayed on-screen are often a bit thin.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is not a great movie, but not particularly a bad one either. It doesn't need to exist, but it's decent enough for what it is. Fans of Rodriguez's original who want nothing more or less than another movie in the exact same style will not likely be disappointed. Those wanting a little something more can just rewatch the original or, better yet, give another shot to Rodriguez's underrated "Planet Terror."

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