If “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” feels like it’s a decade too late it’s because it acts like it didn’t go anywhere. There are still gravely-voiced antiheros, buckets of blood, and girls, girls, girls,—just like the last time. It feels dated, yes, but in this case that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Yes there are still disgusting amounts of blood splurting out of crooks and general evil-doers at the hands of giant guns, arrows, swords and, well, hands. It’s nothing we haven’t seen (and often times done much more stylishly) in the original “Sin City”, but this delayed sequel is nonetheless insatiably fun.
Done in black in white—with some color, usually to illustrate character traits like innocence or seductiveness—“Sin City 2” feels ripped right out of the comic books. These movies are less adaptations then they are realizations of Frank Miller’s (who also co-directed with Robert Rodriguez) series of graphic novels.
The stories once again focus on psychopath Marv (Mickey Rourke), angst ridden Dwight (Josh Brolin taking over for Clive Owen, a reason I’ll never understand) and stripper extraordinaire Nancy (whose story shifts focus away from Bruce Willis, which I completely understand).
Aside from a pre-credit vignette Marv is delegated to a more darkly comic sidekick who teams up with Dwight and Nancy to get the bad guys. Brolin is good as Dwight, but his character spends too much time grimacing (well, more than most characters) and whining when women throw themselves at him.
This time around it’s the women’s turn. Alba delivers her best work as Nancy, ridden by booze-fueled revenge against Sen. Roark (Powers Boothe) for causing the death of her beloved Bruce Willis. Her delve into violence eventually into a concoction of Edward Scissorhands and Catwoman (Pfiefer brand) is intoxicating and could’ve been a movie all its own.
Written directly for the screen is Johnny (Joseph-Gordon Levitt), but other than as exposition for the truly evil Sen. Roark his story has little use—and even less ‘umph’.
Everything looks grimy and dirty and the characters stumble around battered and drunk. They and their city are the darkest, foulest, and therefore most giddily entertaining, embodiment of the noir genre.
And where would that genre be without the femme fatal. Eva Green yet again steals the show in yet another graphic novel movie as Ava Lord. Her eyes blossom with a cat-like green as she fully embodies the title ‘man-eater’. She’s seductive, enticing as she sways into the scene shrouded in alluring smoke (enough reason to see this movie in 3D). It’s fully understandable why all the men fall at her feet—that and she’s always naked.
Is “Sin City 2” still filled with glorious gore, grit and gals? Hell yes. Does it all feel excitingly fresh? God no. It feels exactly the same as last time, with less story cohesiveness to make it feel whole. The directors should’ve introduced a new band of characters for a new band of viewers bouncing into theaters. That being said, if they had to do the same thing again, this was the best way to do it.