“Sin City’s where you go in with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all.” That’s right fanboys, it may have been nine years, but Sin City‘s back! “These are the old days man, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days. They’re back!” Well enough Sin City quotes, lets get onto the review. Having found Sin City to be creator Frank Miller‘s greatest work, also being a huge fan of the first film I was eagerly looking forward to this film. But was it worth the nine year wait?
Much like the first film the timeline of events is a bit over the place, with most tales taking place prior to the events of the last film, and some taking place after. The main feature of this outing is of course A Dame to Kill For, seeing Dwight McCarthy get dragged back into a world of trouble by the voluptuous Ava Lord. In addition to this Marv finds himself having to teach a bunch of fraternity boys a lesson, whilst Nancy slips into depression, and gambler Johnny tries to take Senator Roarke for all he’s worth.
Robert Rodriguez and Sin City creator Frank Miller once again helm the cinematic adaptation of Basin City, with both men directing and Miller also writing the script. Having been in production hell for the last several years, due to many different reasons including Rodriguez’ schedule I was really hoping standards wouldn’t drop. And from a cinematic point of view they didn’t. The black and white, with splashes of colour once again mesmerized, giving both intensity and beauty to this noir style film. The duo also yet again give a wonderful sense of atmosphere throughout, with the voice over narratives giving more depth and refinement to both the tales, and the characters.
Most of the original cast return for this film, with Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, and Rosario Dawson reprising their roles as Marv, Nancy Callahan, John Hartigan, and Gail respectively. Joining them we get wonderful performances from Eva Green as the manipulative Ava Lord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a gambler named Johnny, and Josh Brolin who replaces Clive Owen as Dwight McCarthy. It is however Rourke’s performance as Marv that once again impressed me the most, with Power Boothe‘s villainous performance as Senator Roark being the closest to matching it. Another noticeable change is Dennis Haysbert as Manute, replacing the late great Michael Clarke Duncan in the role. Though Haysbert didn’t do a terrible job, he didn’t do the character a great justice either, lacking the sheer physical presence that Duncan had.
The main thing that hurt the films overall performance was the general pace, with the main story A Dame to Kill For moving all too quickly, and ultimately failing to deliver the same level of intensity as the original comic. The addition of two completely new tales also brings the overall quality down, as though I loved seeing Johnny take on Roarke, as well as more of Nancy, I feel the time would have been better used fleshing out the main story. The music however was yet again amazing, as though some of Rodriguez’ choices weren’t perfectly suited, for the better part they fit the tempo.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For pales in comparison to the original, with pacing issues and risky storylines being it’s ultimate downfall. The film does however do enough to be a worthy sequel, with the tone and vibe reminding us why we needed this Sin City sequel. Recommended.