2 StarsSin City: A Dame to Kill For hits screens nine years after the release of the groundbreaking original. The use of green-screen and a monochromatic color scheme served as a revolutionary new process that accurately managed to translate the visuals of Frank Miller’s graphic novel onto film. Now, nearly a decade later we have the follow-up which is just as stylized but not nearly as good as the original. A Dame to Kill For is a prequel and a sequel with interlinking stories that transpire both before and after the first film. Got that? To make matters more confusing actors have been replaced and the new additions are not up to the task.
There are four stories running concurrently through the film. The opening sequence dives right back into the tortured existence of the Neanderthal Marv (Mickey Rourke), inflicting pain on a group frat boys for messing with the city’s homeless. This excursion serves as a reminder that the next 100 minutes will be ripe with beheadings, mutilations, sexy women, and stylized dialogue. The segment is striking in its violence and outlandish stylized action, but ultimately there isn’t much point to the exercise, the same could be said of the entire movie.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the film’s second story, the tale of a mysterious gambler, who’s come to town looking for a high-stakes poker game with Mr. Roark (Powers Boothe). The stranger is intent on beating the most politically connected man at his own game. Yet, with victory comes an awful price. This is the strongest of the four stories, giving both Levitt and Boothe strong scenes to shine in.
The voluptuous and equally talented Eva Green appears as the dame of the tittle. She is a vamp, who uses men to do her bidding; even if that means committing murder. Green is a beautiful woman, which is apparent due to her almost constant nudity in the piece (I’m not complaining). Her femme-fatale act is straight out of the 1940s and she spits her lines out as if purring in sexual pleasure. It is easy to understand how she could convince her ex-lover Dwight (Josh Brolin) to kill her abusive husband. This is the longest of the tales, and as it plays out the impact of the earlier sequences begin to lose their power. By the conclusion, I throughly disliked all the characters entrapped in her scheme.
Lastly, we have the continued downfall of poor Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). You’ll remember that she was the innocent girl kidnapped by a perverted lunatic, who was saved just in the nick of time by Detective Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Still smarting over his death, Nancy has become an alcoholic intent on self disfigurement with only revenge on her mind. The gorgeous Jessica Alba is still a show-stopper in her stripper outfits thrusting around on stage, it’s a shame the film turns her character into Travis Brickle.
Before I sat down to watch A Dame to Kill For, I revisited the original for a refresher course. The first picture still holds up today, but in running the films back-to-back the shortcoming of this sequel are even more apparent. The visual artistry on display is undeniable, and stars, Alba and Green are so beautiful they nearly qualify as their own special effects, but this trip to Sin City should be our last visit.
Director:Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Stars: Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba