Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. With Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Boothe and Dennis Haysbert.
In this era of fast-moving franchise films, nine-years is a long time to leave between sequels. Considering the original Sin City grossed a healthy $158m in worldwide box office (steady business for an ‘R’ rated film) – you’d think a sequel would’ve been quicker out of the gate. For whatever reason, it’s taken Rodriguez and Miller all of this time to realise it, and well…it smacks of too-little-too-late. The numbers didn’t add either. Fizzling at the box office with a disappointing $39m worldwide, it would appear that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For passed most of us by – but did we miss anything? Yes and no…but more along the lines of no.
Although it boasts an ensemble cast, overflowing with big names – this second visit to the stylised world of Sin City has lost much of the freshness that armed the first trip with such vital potency. It’s not that the look and tone isn’t beautifully applied, it’s just that we’re comfortably familiar with it now, which in-turn saps the experience of much of its vigour. It’s easy to forget just how impressive the first Sin City film was. It’s eye-popping visuals remain a brilliant realisation of a comic-book brought to life. Some of that carries over to this sequel, although it struggles to impact in the same way.
Of the impressively assembled cast, there are fun performances worthy of mention. Lately, Eva Green seems to be making a habit of raising the quality of sub-par films (300: Rise of an Empire/Dark Shadows) with her brand of venomous beauty and prickly delivery. Once again, she inhabits that role with relish, seductively circling her prey with blood-red lips teasing poisonous words. Mickey Rourke returns as ‘Marv’, the big, loveable, human wrecking-ball – as does Jessica Alba as ‘Nancy’, still scantily-clad and still gyrating like J-Lo on acid. There’s more, Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt embrace the neo-noir fun to good effect with significant character arcs of their own, while the big-bad of the piece is Powers Boothe (he gets that a lot) as a Senator with a vengeance.
If you consider the original Sin City to be an all-time classic, you could be forgiven for feeling a little short-changed. It’s not that it is in any way a bad film, the contrary, much of it is good – some of it almost great. Crucially, though, it lacks the spark of the original and feels very much like an afterthought. 3/5