SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR – Will The Sequel Have You Seeing Red?
Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have reunited to bring Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen after being away for almost a decade. New stories, new characters and new actors... Is A Dame To Kill For able to bring it all together? Read my review to find out!
WARNING: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is VERY violent and has no reservations having Eva Green entirely naked for the vast majority of her screen time. The film is rated R for very good reason. If that doesn’t scare you away, read on!
I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. The original film opened in April 2005 and it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve seen it and it’s really not my type of film, other than the fact that it’s based upon comic books / graphic novels. I happened to be in Hollywood for a prior commitment, so the press screening for A Dame To Kill For sort of fell into my lap, and after it’s all said and done, I’m glad that it did. I really enjoyed the film.
Some of the stories in A Dame To Kill For are prequels to the first film, so you’ll see several characters return in this installment. Miller explains it thusly, “I tend to play around in the “Sin City” books as I am in the movies now – I bounce from one point in time to another so characters can seem to come back to life when actually, all I’ve done is go back in time.”
The film opens with fan-favorite “Just Another Saturday Night,” when Marve (Mickey Rourke) finds himself in the center of carnage as he tries to remember the preceding events.
“The Long, Bad Night” tells the tale of Johnny, a cocky young gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) taking his chances with the biggest villain in Sin City, Senator Roark (Powers Boothe).
“A Dame To Kill For” is the central story for the film, but it’s actually only one story out of several featured in the film. This is the one area that may cause issues for viewers, but more on that later! “A Dame To Kill For,” features Dwight McCarth (Josh Brolin) in his final confrontation with the woman of his dreams and nightmares, Ava Lord (Eva Green). It takes place prior to “The Big Fat Kill,” which was featured in the first film, and explains how Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) came to have a dramatically different face.
“Nancy’s Last Dance” follows Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) in the wake of John Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) selfless suicide in the first film. Four years after Hartigan’s death, Nancy is driven insane by grief and rage. Still dancing at Kadie’s, she is a shell of her once carefree self and desperate to get revenge.
Marv is the only character who appears in all four segments of the film. The four stories are isolated from the others, other than Marv, which may not appeal to all viewers. It makes the film feel a bit disjointed… “The Long, Bad Night” and “A Dame To Kill For” were the strongest of the four. “Nancy’s Last Dance” was fun as you get to see Nancy dance several times, become a bad ass and Marv be his truly brutal self, but the story wasn’t quite as interesting as the other two. Fans of Marv and Mickey Rourke will enjoy “Just Another Saturday Night,” but I felt it was the weakest of the three.
With that being said, “The Long, Bad Night” was a very good story and had strong performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Powers Boothe, but it didn’t feel like a “Sin City” story the way the others did. Those that are familiar with the Sin City comics will note that “The Long, Bad Night” is a new story that was created for the second film. I’m sure this has more than a little to do with it not fitting quite right… Rodriguez explains, “The first movie was all about being very true to the books and translating them directly to the screen. The second film we thought, ‘Let’s give them a surprise so that people can’t just go to the comic book store, buy the book and know what’s going to happen.”
New cast members for A Dame To Kill For include actors that Rodriguez has worked with closely in the past, including Josh Brolin, Jeremy Piven and Lady Gaga. Others were friends or actors Frank and Robert had long admired, such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach and Christopher Meloni. Manute, originally portrayed by the late Michael Clark Duncan and Miho, played by Devon Aoki, had to be recast. Dennis Haysbert and Jamie Chung stepped in to fulfill the roles. Christopher Lloyd makes an appearance in “The Long, Bad Night” as the drug addicted back alley doctor Kroenig.
The performances were good all around. Ray Liotta was a nice surprise. Haysbert fills Manute’s shoes well, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is sure to be a new fan favorite, Alba is great, Brolin plays a very good younger version of Dwight and Rourke rocks as Marv, but nobody holds a candle to Eva Green’s “Ava Lord.” No, it’s not because she spends most of the film in the nude; although I’m sure that will earn her more than a few fans. Her performance is truly top-notch. She’ll make you love her, protect her, kill for her and even make you hate her.
Rodriguez was insistent on shooting the film in 3D rather than converting it in post-production. The entire film was shot against green screen with very little in the way of set pieces, primarily tables, chairs and doors for the actors to use when entering rooms. The virtual Sin City world is all digital, which brings up the second area that movie-goers may have an issue with the film; the highly stylized black and white world (with splashes of red, blue and the green eyes of Ava Lord) of Sin City will not be for everyone, after all, it’s a VERY viscious place, but the virtual world may be one of the things that fans of the film enjoy the most.
A Dame To Kill For succeeds in transporting you back to a fantastic world that is all its own and introduces you to some truly evil characters. I wouldn’t take my family on a vacation to Sin City, but I thoroughly enjoyed imy brief visit there. If you’re a Frank Miller Fan, a fan of the 300 films, or a fan of the original Sin City, you’ll like Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
Eva Green and Jessica Alba are both dames to kill for.
Check Out My Interview With A Dame To Kill For's Dennis Haysbert / Manute!
Co-directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez reunite to bring Miller's visually stunning "Sin City" graphic novels back to the screen in 3D in Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill. In a town where justice doesn't prevail, the desperate want vengeance and ruthless murderers find themselves with vigilantes on their heels. Their paths cross when they converge on Sin City’s famous Kadie's Club Pecos... The film opens with fan-favorite “Just Another Saturday Night,” when Marv (Mickey Rourke) finds himself in the center of carnage as he tries to remember the events leading up to it. “The Long, Bad Night” tells the tale of Johnny, a cocky young gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) on a winning streak taking his chances with the biggest bastard of them all, Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). The central story, Miller’s critically acclaimed "A Dame To Kill For," has Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) facing his final confrontation with the woman of his dreams and his nightmares, Ava Lord (Eva Green). “Nancy’s Last Dance" follows Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) in the wake of John Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) death. On a downward spiral filled with grief, she will stop at nothing to get revenge.
Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For opens August 22.
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