Turn a corner in Sin City...
Wait about 10 years...
Then turn another.
Too little too late? The box-office seems to think so.
But what of the film itself? Was Robert Rodriguez's sequel to his own Sin City, arguably one of the best comic book movie adaptations of all time, worth the long wait?
This time, the film is mostly based on the Sin City stories "A Dame To Kill For" and "Just Another Saturday Night", though the latter is used more as an amusing prologue than anything else. The other two stories were put together by Frank Miller for the film specifically. One of them involves Joseph Gordon Levitt's gambler and the other continues Nancy's (Jessica Alba) story from the first movie. The problem with making a sequel this late is that you'll only be able to gather about a third of the cast from the original at best. And with the sad losses of Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan a few years ago, this was never going to be easy. Especially with the likes of Clive Owen, Michael Madsen and Devon Aoki not joining the gang for this one. This reshuffle does create a few minor distractions here and there, especially if the first film is fresh in your mind. That said, those changes thankfully never really take you out of the movie.
Seeing Basin City in 3D is, right off the bat, a sumptuous sight so if you can treat yourself to that, go ahead. Rodriguez and Miller, it's clear very quickly, have kept the unique look of their classic green-screened black-and-white (and some colour) world intact without letting it tumble into an over-CGI'ed cloud The Spirit-style. No, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is a gorgeous-looking flick and, although it may not capture the same wow factor as the original since its style is hardly a novelty anymore, that still goes a long way. If you allow yourself to not let the film's poor box-office performance and overall lateness disturb your viewing experience, this movie should totally satisfy you. Especially if you're a Rodriguez aficionado. Where the film fails to match and surpass its predecessor is by not linking all these Sin City stories quite as well.
A Dame To Kill For gives you more of what you don't really want (Jessica Alba acting + being the worst stripper ever) and more of what made the first film so popular in the first place (Marv, brutal violence, vast amounts of cool) so the whole thing basically evens out to a good film fans should enjoy but one that's not without its flaws. Gordon Levitt's Johnny is a great character and his story is an involving one but it ends rather abruptly and a long gap right in the middle of it leaves you wanting more. Eva Green is pretty much perfect casting, giving a gripping performance and certainly not shying away from anything, except maybe clothes. She's definitely one of the highlights of the film and she helps make the A plot, along with a worthy Josh Brolin, the most well defined of all of them. Good old Marv is a weird one as he sort of hacks into each story somehow, as if Mickey Rourke would steal the script at night and write himself into each act, whether he was needed or not. Luckily, Marv always makes those action sequences that little bit more enjoyable so no real complaints here.
You've got a few cameos in there and those range from welcome (Ray Liotta) to bizarre (Lady Gaga) and not 100% needed (Bruce Willis). Overall, the cast works though. The film's stories just needed to be woven together a little more convincingly and the whole thing ends abruptly when one of the best things about Sin City was how you really felt like you were zooming in and out of events going on in the titular city and how the Josh Hartnett intro and outro framed the movie so well. When a story ends here, you're suddenly dumped into another one without warning.
To cut a long review short, I would definitely recommend Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, even with its, at times, odd approach to its source material and its flaws. It's too late of a release to be truly relevant but if you like Miller and Rodriguez's original creation then you should find plenty here to enjoy. Besides, the latter is one of the last filmmakers who still makes trashy cool movies (Sharkboy & Lava Girl being the exception) and with a box-office disappointment like this one, he needs all the help he can get.
I mean, Machete must kill again!
That just has to happen.