Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill for

15, 2014, Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Starring: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s long-awaited Sin City sequel, A Dame to Kill For, arrives on a nine year wave of expectation, ready to soak you up and hurl you around with such ferocity you’ll feel as if it’s been mere days since the original unleashed itself back in 2005.
Concocted of a series of short segments, one of which – Booze, Broads & Bullets –  was torn from Miller’s very own pages, here the writer and returning co-director Rodriguez have created two completely fresh escapades for these inhabitants to endure: The Long Bad Night, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s smarmy gambler learns what it’s like to lose, and Nancy’s Last Dance, which features Jessica Alba’s stripper hell-bent on avenging a crucial death from the previous film. Everything is much the same, differences be damned: the ensemble remain largely intact (with notable additions and numerous brilliantly-conceived cameos), the disparate segments integrate in lean ways designed to not only emphasise the ‘sin’ in Basin City but to broaden this monochromatic universe presented with noir qualities which are rolled up into one giant graphic novel joint.
Mickey Rourke’s beast-like powerhouse Marv slams onto the screen in an opening sequence that will reintroduce and recalibrate. Moody voiceover dialogue is mumbled – part poetic, part mumbo-jumbo; almost immediately fans of the original can consider themselves reacquainted and new inductees welcomed. Gordon-Levitt’s venture into darkness serves as a refreshing addition to the film’s mix bag of characters, perhaps serving to reintroduce the villainous Senator Roark (Powers Boothe, one of a fair few 24 alumni getting their hands dirtier than ever) which segues nicely into our villainess of the piece, Ava Lord.
In Eva Green, Sin City 2 finds its subtitle. Appearing in Dwight’s story, a returning character here played by Josh Brolin rather than Clive Owen (this is set before the character’s facial reconstruction), her incredibly nude titular (stop your sniggering) dame to kill for manipulates everything within her sights and beyond; audiences may be privy to Ava Lord’s motives, yet her alluring screen presence threatens to lull you at every turn. Eva Green relishes every second and elevates this section into becoming the sequel’s high point.

It’s with Nancy Callahan’s tale that the steam shows signs of dissipating. Spending the majority of her scenes before it dancing even more provocatively than the last (you’ll lose count) all Alba’s revenge-seeker amounts to is the film’s weak link. Minus the ripeness of the original, a Sin City sequel was never going to blindside audiences with something authentic – if it ain’t broke, etc. With each foray into this murky underworld feeling more of a sideshow than the main attraction – a tantalising block off the wedge – you will pointedly be left feeling gluttonous for more. How sinful.

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