Review By Vladi
Sin City: A dame to kill for. This was a movie I was waiting on for the last six years. The original Sin City came out back in 2005, and as it is in my fashion, I didn’t give it a shot until the three years later, when all the hype had died down.
The first time I saw Sin City, I distinctly remember thinking two things. One, wow, what are my brains doing on the wall?! And two, when am I going to see a sequel to this? I feel I can’t talk about A Dame to Kill For, without talking about the first film.
The visual style of Sin City is probably the first of its kind, along with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, to be a fully digital live action film. Sin City is the first movie which took a graphic novel and translated it into film while actually keeping the medium. You are watching a film, but every shot is constructed to look like a comic book strip. Even the action sequences are shot in such a way that they represent comic book sequences. The movie was first shot in colour, and then converted to black and white, to stay true to the graphic novel. Also, several important objects in the movie are coloured in, both underlining their significance to the plot, and adding nuance to the shots.
So aside from it being a complete visualgasm of a movie, and a pioneer in this kind of genre, the movie actually has quite the fun and gritty plot. I’m an absolute Tarantino fanatic, and I can say with a clean conscience that this has a bit of a Pulp Fiction feel to it. It’s gritty, it’s original, and it’s just plain enjoyable to watch. You cheer for the characters, you find the world engaging, and you can just revel at how openly original it is. The movie, as follows from the graphic novels, is done in a film noire style that takes a bat to the teeth, and is dragged face-first along a highway (in the best possible way). Micky Rourke is a riot to watch as Marv, a psychopath gorilla bent on mass destruction that would put Schwarzenegger and Stalone’s love child to shame. Clive Owen does a great job with Dwight – a noire knight in scrap armor. And even Bruce Willis pulls off an engaging role of the stoic good-cop-in-a-bad-world, Hartigan. Lastly, I have to give credit to Elijah Wood for playing one of the creepiest fucks I’ve ever had the pleasure to view on a screen – Kevin. That shit gave me nightmares for nights to come (really? – No, but it well fucking could have). I’d definitely rate this as one of the most enjoyable films I can watch on an annual basis.
So taking all of that, how was A Dame to Kill For? And regrettably, I have to say underwhelming. There are three plot lines in this movie, and they are all scattered chronologically with respect to the first movie, which can seriously confuse you if you aren’t paying attention. The main plot line is that of Dwight (this time played by Josh Brolin). I’ve never been a great fan of Brolin, but he’s a decent actor. The only issue is, he’s nowhere near as likeable as Clive Owen. Clive Owen made you like the character just enough to keep asking “what’s next?” Brolin’s character, on the other hand, is very one dimensional and brutish. Nothing really pulls you in. He lacks that charm. On the flip side, we have Eva Green playing Ava, the Femme Fatale, for which she hardly needs any help. She’s just about the perfect person for that role. She’s sexual, she’s seductive, she’s scary, she’s powerful, she’s just about anything and everything you could ask for in that kind of role. And whilst she induces boners (yes, more than one) in just about every scene she’s in, she doesn’t do all that much for the plot. She’s a one trick pony, and after you get to see her trick the first time, the other fifteen times really begin to drag.
Johnny Boy’s segment is done perfect. If watched all on its own, I would have thought it was made back in 2005 with the rest of the first Sin City. It engages you in that same way, with good writing, engaging plot, and a very likeable character. The jokes are spot on, the shots are great, it just feels GREAT, it feels RIGHT. The character’s fun to watch – he’s enough of a sleaze that you can’t love him, but he’s charming enough that you want to cheer for him. You don’t know which way the plot will turn, and you are genuinely entertained from minute one. That being said, all together, it probably only takes 15-20 minutes of screen time. So, a small victory there. More Joseph Gordon-Levitt, less Josh Brolin, please.
And lastly, we have Jessica Alba’s storyline, which takes off from where the first movie ended. It’s considerably darker than the rest of the stories, as it deals with her emotional turmoil after (SPOILER, DUH!?) Hartigan’s death. You see her steadily develop and change as a character as both her emotional state/sanity deteriorate. Jessica Alba does a great job with lil’ Nancy Callahan, just as she did in the first movie, but this time bringing more feels to it. And again, my only regret is that it was a minor storyline. It was only given 10-20 minutes.
Now don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad. But, I can’t help being sad. The first movie left some big shoes to fill, and this movie did a lot of hit and miss. I rarely praise CGI and Green Screen, but in this movie’s case, it really is done well to a fault. It drags you into a graphic novel through a cinema screen, and it’s just brilliant. There’s some good lines in there, some fun action, and the style itself is always enjoyable to watch. The writing on the main story could have taken up a few notches, but even so, it’s better than most drivel you’ll see in a theater, anyways. Oh, and last but not least, Eva Green’s tits should probably have had their own casting credit, from all the times they are shown in this film. And they are just perfect, in every shot, from every angle, in all lighting. I’m fine with nudity, I don’t particularly enjoy gratuitous sex/sexuality, but in this movie’s case, with so much lacking in the plot, I’ll take what I can get. And now the key question: Should I see it? And my answer is, “I don’t know, maybe?” (Great reviewer, huh?) Some of this movie is absolutely spot on. You will be shown a visual style you will likely have never seen. You will be shown a dark and gritty noire world that’s actually quite engaging. You’ll have some bad lines, you’ll have some good lines. You’ll have some gold, and you’ll have some cheese. And tits, lots of Eva Green’s tits. And when you’ve seen too much of Eva Green’s tits, you’ll be subtly reminded that she, indeed has tits, and they are here for your viewing pleasure in every second, fucking frame. It’s a mixed bag, but a fun bag. You decide!