In this sequel to 2005’s Sin City, we are taken back to the world of Frank Miller’s graphic novels, where a son encounters his father, a woman seeks revenge and a man tries to forget his past.
In 2005, Sin City was a novelty; filmed to look like a graphic novel, and depicting scenes of intense violence against a backdrop of love and loyalty. This time out, the characters of (Ba)Sin City are more bent on revenge, and like the first film, the novelty gets old rather fast.
The cast is made up of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Bruce Willis, Dennis Haysbert and Powers Boothe, with cameos from Christopher Lloyd – in a non-comedic role – and Lady Gaga. Most of the cast give similar performances to one another; menacing, hardened and vaguely sexualised. Eva Green and Jessica Alba come off the best, as a woman with everything to gain, and a woman with nothing left to lose, respectively. Mickey Rourke rushes through his voiceover narration, giving the film a thin feel, but this is redeemed with Josh Brolin’s more weighty and engaging story.
Speaking of the story, like the first Sin City outing, we are treated to several separate but interwoven stories about the inhabitants of a city completely corrupted and demoralised. The most engaging story is the one from which the film takes its title – A Dame to Kill For – which tells the tale of a man with demons driven mad by his ex-lover. In saying that though, the story is rather thin, and utterly predictable, even as it is entertaining. Perhaps this is down to the novelty factor again? Or perhaps it’s because Eva Green is naked a lot of the time? Whatever the case, when this story ends and the others begin, the shine has worn off, and the film has outstayed its welcome.
As directors, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have created a film that is visually engaging, but filled with performances that are one note, some bad CGI and a story that is thin, and outstays its welcome. Going for the noir-esque feel for the film is fine, but there is little variation between the characters, and the cameos of Lloyd and Gaga seem to be more for the novelty value, rather than the sake of the story – even though Lloyd is on great form and Gaga can actually act.
In all, Sin City: A Dame to Kill for is exactly what you expect it to be. Fans of the original will get a kick out of returning to the depraved and dark city – and seeing one or two storylines wrapped up – but the film as a whole is thin, dark and bland.