Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

sincity2_2014_poster
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Crime | Thriller
  • Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
  • Cast: Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Ray Liotta

Storyline:

Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants.

5 reviews

  • Sin city is back and what a delight it was.

    Trending on a rather familiar path that of good versus the bad, in this instalment it seems is the turn of the romantics. Men of this city who are prepared to go all the way for the girls they like, even if it means death. On the exterior they might appear as rough and tough but they undoubtedly possess a tender side.

    However, in sin city there’s more than romantic, kind hearted men. The other side is filthy rich, decadent people whose greed and pride has blinded then to the point where murder is routine if it means aims are achieved.

    The meeting point of good and evil is a strip joint where the girls are seen as angels by some and a piece of meat for others.

    With a look and feel very similar to the original, with its moody conversations, the seeking of pleasure, the highly artistic cinematography dealing with the filth of sin city in a game of life and death, this movie is a trip and a joy to watch.

  • The movie was as impressive as the first one. It lacked a bit in the story part compared to the first but it was an 8 years later sequel anyway. The performance of Eva Green was top of the class and I can say that she was the top character of the movie and Jessica Alba was as good as the first time. Marv(Rourke) was on point and Gordon Levvit had role that shined because of his personality. Lady Gaga played her small role perfectly but I’m not surprised like some others cause I already knew from before that she had great acting abilities and she has a persona that helps her a lot in movies like this one. The scenery was better than ever and the darkness swallowed everything. The dialogues were very good even though not as good as in the first movie. My only disappointment was that Dwight wasn’t played by Clive Owen again but it’s 8 years later and we can’t have everything. Senator Roark was a highlight as well, he fitted very well on the role.

    Anyway most people that I know and have seen the first movie as well agree with me this second movie is a worthy successor of the first one regardless if it’s better or worse and I definitely enjoyed it as much.

    It is a dame to kill for and I’m sad that the critics devoured it in negativity.

  • “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is fairly good, but not better than the first! The stories aren’t as interesting as they were in the first part, and that’s probably the only reason that this film is weaker. By making the fans wait so long, you would hope that the golden pair were trying to prepare something genuinely masterful, with every little cylinder firing just right, and the film doesn’t shatter this illusion. The problem here may be over ambition, with a desire to recreate the flashy, comic book style of the novels coming at the expense of a truly coherent, at times even logical story. While the atmosphere, the low pitched, gravelly delivery of the dialogue and the moodily grey and black settings still carry it along nicely, without a solid structure at the heart of it, after a while it all gets a bit too much. The performances were decent enough with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Mickey Rourke taking a front seat. Josh Brolin replaces Clive Owen as Dwight and does a good job. Eva Green plays the Dame in question and she does what she does best. No not showing her assets off. “Sin City” will be remembered as one of the best graphic novel adaptations by Rodiguez/Miller/Tarantino. “A Dame to Kill For” on the other hand will be forgotten in a couple of days. Watch it for the visuals had you not watched the first, then again, watch Sin City on Blu-ray and forget that a sequel had ever been released.

  • I’ve been looking forward to this movie for the last nine years or so, no joke. If you saw my review of the original Sin City, you’ll have noticed I love it. It was striking and unique, blending comic-book visuals with noire stories, and it only gets better with age. So yeah I was excited to see more of the same, but slightly different, expanding the amount of stories to enjoy in the same style. It’s failing box office takings in America certainly got me concerned, as did the fact that we were literally the only people in the theatre during it’s first week of release (on the cheap evening no less), but I figured I’d try and work out why nobody wants to see this.

    Nope. I’m still stumped. Okay, let me lay it out for you; A Dame to Kill For is nowhere near as good as the original Sin City. It was never going to be. For the first movie they selected Miller’s best comics and adapted them together. At this point it starts feeling like they’re scraping the barrel. A Dame to Kill For is the titular story and it takes up the majority of the movie. I mean, the whole movie was obviously conceived just to include that story. Of the other stories, one was a short introduction a la The Man in the original, and the other two were never even in the comics. It really shows as well, as one kind of ends up really pointless, and the other almost feels like a copy of the first half of A Dame to Kill For (yeah, in the same movie no less).

    Connectivity is also way down. One of the beauties of the first film was it’s various connections all over the place, from Hartigan lurking behind Kevin, Marv marvelling at Nancy, the Roark brothers, The Man sharing an elevator with Becky, etc. etc. It was jam-packed full of little easter eggs for the eagle-eyed viewer. A Dame to Kill For has one connection – Marv in Katy’s Bar. Much like the first film, Katy’s Bar is a focal point for all the stories to get tied together. It’s no different here, but in this case it’s the only thing that ties them together by way of Marv. Marv frequents Katy’s often, that’s fairly obvious, so he makes a cameo in every story. That’s literally all the connectivity there is.

    Another big issue is confusion over chronology. A Dame to Kill For, like it’s predecessor, goes for the whole out-of-chronological-order schtick, which actually works fine for the movie itself. However it becomes confusing when put alongside the first film. I spent almost half the movie trying to piece together all the puzzle pieces. A Dame to Kill For has to occur before The Big Kill (because of Dwight’s face change) and The Hard Goodbye (because Marv’s alive). However Marv also appears in Nancy’s Last Dance, so that also has to happen before The Hard Goodbye (right? I’m still confused just typing it out), making The Hard Goodbye not only the last story chronologically (and by years, no less), as well as the first one you actually watch.

    Recasts actually really hurt the movie for me as well. I know it’s a small point, but I hate recasts. A Dame to Kill For took the biscuit in recasting numerous characters. Dwight is the big one, being played by Clive Owen originally, and Josh Brolin this time. I can go with it for the most part because of mention in the first film of Dwight’s “new face”, but even once the transformation happens, it’s still Josh Brolin. Yeah okay, Clive Owen was meant to appear, but scheduling conflicts put a spanner in those works, forcing them to plaster Brolin in make-up instead (and still looking nothing like Clive Owen). Michael Clark Duncan (RIP) was the biggest loss for me. I’ll give it to them, Dennis Haysbert is probably the best suited stand-in around for Michael Clark Duncan, what with being tall, black, and deep-voiced. However he lacked Clark Duncan’s imposing stature, which really stung when A Dame to Kill For demands more from his character. You could believe Clark Duncan as an unrelenting brick wall laying down punches comparable to freight trains and atomic explosions. Dennis Haysbert, not so much. It’s the best they could have possibly done though, so I can’t criticise too harshly. Devon Aoki was also replaced by Jamie Chung, which wasn’t that bad (still no spoken lines), but it was just like salt in the wound after the other two.

    The rest of actors fall strictly average I’m afraid. Mickey Rourke is fine enough, but as he pretty much just becomes a cameo character, he doesn’t get the opportunity to explore Marv as much as he did before. Jessica Alba is as sexy as before, even when she pulls a Lisbeth Salander, but again her actual acting chops never particularly wow. She can’t quite seem to balance the “badass” with the “delicate flower”. Bruce Willis, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Jaime King, and Juno Temple are all made a big thing of in the opening credits, but actually amount to nothing as they make the odd small appearance here or there and that never results in anything. Joseph Gordan-Levitt completely owned his role as the lucky yet arrogant Johnny. It’s just a shame he’s burdened with the most pointless story. There’s a lot of subtlety you could read into his performance, but it’s so subtle that it’s likely to go over everyone’s head. Lady Gaga’s appearance was actually surprisingly impressive too. I mean I was expecting it to be a cheap cameo with bad acting to boot, but she actually slotted in really well. Finally Eva Green. Oh Eva Green, I swear you only get cast in these movies because you don’t mind getting completely naked on camera. I mean, she has an absolutely fine body so I can’t complain too much, but her quality of acting here is nothing we haven’t seen before from her, and that involuntary smirk is actually starting to get to me when she does it all the time. She’s under threat of being typecast, and after her spectacular turn in Penny Dreadful I’d hate to see her wasted.

    A Dame to Kill For was still an enjoyable time at the movies, bringing the exact same style as the first film did. The visuals are beautiful, the jazz-inspired soundtrack is divine, the voiceover works a treat, and the violence and gore, sex and nudity are both turned up to eleven. However it’s not without it’s many faults. Despite only being an hour and a half, it starts to drag in the middle, the quality of storytelling has suffered a dip, and I’m still not quite sure of where it fits with the stories in the first film. It almost feels like a cheap knock-off. Even so, I still give A Dame to Kill For a good 7/10.

  • Towards the end of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (the flick I’m about to review), Mickey Rourke’s character Marv and Jessica Alba’s character Nancy Callahan (a centralized exotic dancer) join forces to bring vengeance on a vehemently distraught Senator. Right before they partake in a final gun-riddled bloodbath, Marv looks over at Nancy with her multiple face lacerations and ratty hair and says, “I think you look hot.” Oh man, you gotta love Rourke’s Marv, always looking for a fight, or his next kill, or some bad guy to torture. And as duly noted in the previously released Sin City (the 2005 film that “Dame” is a sequel to), he’ll always have a thing for Nancy, his female induced heartbeat.

    So here we are in the doldrums of August and what do I see? A rare, long awaited second helping that has just enough trippy eye sores to trump the original. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For almost comes off as a copy rather than a sequel to the sweltering, groundbreaking hit from 2005. To a degree though, it works much better than its predecessor ever did. “Dame” is shorter, tighter, leaner, meaner, and easier to follow. Its also got a more modernized look that will truly knock your socks off. Whereas the first Sin City went a little over two hours and wasted time on tedious, upsetting torture scenes, this new installment (out in theaters more than nine years later) is more action-oriented (yet surprisingly less violent) not to mention more rooted in its devilish film noir style.

    “Dame” is co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. Rodriquez, who’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico made me a fan, has always had a certain talent. He’s a film maker’s filmmaker and just like a lot of other great directors, loves movies and is a huge fan of many genres (Westerns, vampire flicks, revenge thrillers, etc..etc.). His only Achilles heel may lie in the fact that his storytelling capabilities have always been rather glib. He’s good with the camera but the plots of his films seem all over the place. In the closing credits of most of his work, you’ll see the title, “shot and cut by Robert Rodriguez.” That basically means that he edits his own shtick. Not his strong suit. He should just hire a well revered editor to sift through his hyper kinetic footage. Thankfully he doesn’t need to spend that extra money here because just in time, and to the chagrin of this critic, he manages to do his best chop job yet. That is what ultimately garners my surmised recommendation.

    Filmed in a way in which the actors emote in front of a green screen, told through four overlapping vignettes or stories (containing themes of revenge, greed, hallucination, and drug addiction) and based on the writings of graphic novelist Frank Miller, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For gives you the following tidbits: a frat boy gets killed over calling Mickey Rourke’s character a “Bernini Boy” (based on the coat he was wearing), a happy-go-lucky card shark wants to win a big stakes poker game against a powerfully snide Senator named Roarke (played by the always menacing Powers Booth), a former detective pines for the woman he loves (green-eyed Eva Green) only to get the pulp beat out of him by her one-eyed, violent chauffeur, and an alcoholic go-go dancer can’t shake the memories of the suicide committing by her lover (Bruce Willis as John Hartigan). And through all these events, there’s good old Marv played with face altering makeup by Mickey “scotch and water for all my friends” Rourke. Mickey’s character hangs out at Kadie’s Saloon, the bar that is constantly depicted in “Dame.” He knows everyone’s business, wants in on all the action, and thinks he may or may not be a psycho killer. Oh and he likes to say, “that’s a darn fine coat you’re wearing” right before he kills the person who he said it to. What a swell guy! Not.

    Anyway, in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Rodriquez and Miller treat each violent, cartoonish sequence as if it’s art being painted by Picasso himself. Longtime bud Quentin Tarantino would be proud of the way they film sword wielding stuff in the vein of say, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (in black and white with white blood no less). With glorious comic book overtones, these two mavericks create a sumptuous background rooted in black and white hues interspersed with some reds, oranges, and blues (these colors are thrown in to possibly introduce an important protagonist, a plot point, the color of a dress, the color of lipstick, or a mild image of bloodletting). Finally, they do a great job with dissolves and flashbacks. I especially like the way they shoot a character falling through glass, in dense space, or in a free fall made to look like something out of a dream.

    As for the cast of “Dame,” well it includes actors/actresses new and old. Welcoming additions to the Sin City cavalry include Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who has amazing screen presence here and with slicked-back 50’s hair, the perfect look for a comic book-induced nightmare), Josh Brolin (taking on an atypical Josh Brolin role), Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven (the only actors who seem to be out of place with the material), and Ray Liotta playing a troubled businessman named Joey. As for the players making a return from the first go around, you’ve faithfully got Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Bruce Willis and my favorite character in the whole shebang, the silent assassin referred to as “deadly little Miho” (Jamie Chung).

    In conclusion, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a late summer movie to root for. It’s sadistic, splashy, edgy, film noir gold. In fact, it’s even more film noiry than its predecessor. I only wish the ending wasn’t so abrupt, or quick, or radically unsavory. It’s as if the filmmakers ran out of budget or time and just needed to wrap things up. In essence, I wanted more and I wanted a better prelude to a third Sin City (I read that Rodriguez and Miller are planning on truly extending the franchise). Regardless, this 2014 release is something I plan on seeing many times over. And to the critics out there who found it boring, I’m curious. Did you see the same movie I did? Anyway, during “Dame’s” intense theatrical trailer, the character of Johnny (Gordon-Levitt) says quote unquote, “Sin City’s where you go in with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all.” Well after taking in a viewing, I “came” out of the theater with my eyes wide open, a rollicking macho grin on my face, and an enthusiastic thumbs up! Good day at the office.

    Check out my other reviews on my blog: http://www.viewsonfilm.com

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