Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Title: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Would You? Kill For Eva Green, I Mean? This interview is over.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two Bon Scotts out of five (RIP).
Brief Plot Synopsis: Tough mugs and bad broads live, love, and commit murder in a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Tagline: "There is no justice without sin."
Better Tagline: "But pants are optional."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: A simultaneous sequel and prequel to 2005's Sin City ("sprequel?"), A Dame to Kill For reunites several characters from the original, including nigh-immortal psychopath Marv (Mickey Rourke), prostitute death squad leader Gail (Rosario Dawson), evil Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), AKA The Non-Topless Topless Dancer, and the ghost of John Hartigan (Bruce Willis). They're joined by mysterious gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), New Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin, replacing Clive Owen), and femme fatale Ava Lord (Eva Green), in four interconnected tales of Basin City.
"Critical" Analysis: Didn't Marv die in the last movie?
Seriously, it was the vignette where Frodo ate Carla Gugino's hand, and then Marv kills him and the cardinal who was shielding him and gets the chair. Granted, most of A Dame to Kill For predates the original, specifically the main plot, but Marv also helps Nancy seek revenge on Roark for Hartigan's death, which would've taken place ... oh the hell with it.
Temporal consistency is really the least of this movie's problem. The original Sin City was praised for the way director Robert Rodriguez brought Frank Miller's stark visuals and noir sensibilities to life, and a big problem with the sequel is how little gets added to the mix. There's another scene of improbably non-strung out hooker vigilantes Swiss cheesing bad guys with automatic weapons from rooftops, Jessica Alba writhes around in her underwear some more, and Marv is still easy to get drunk and aim at anybody you want beaten to death, but Sin City the first at least had things like Benicio del Toro's decapitated head conversing with Clive Owen. Not to mention fucking cannibal Frodo.
Faux pas, my friend. I would eat ALL of Carla Gugino.
To make up for it, you get Eva Green. Specifically, you get Eva Green's breasts. Think you've seen them before in The Dreamers, 300: Rise of an Empire, Camelot, and Penny Dreadful? Well ... you have, but rarely have "golden bozos" been celebrated like this. Green has been in enough high profile stuff without showing the goods I'd have thought she could avoid doing so if she wanted, so the only conclusion I can draw from the superabundance of bosoms in ADtKF is that she really doesn't care.
Green, as she was in 300: Rise of an Empire, is just about the only reason to watch Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. By turns alluring, frigid, distant, and supervillainous, she commands your attention whenever she's on screen (with or without OMG BOOBS), to the detriment of basically the rest of the film.
Which works out great for Miller and Rodriguez, because it can only distract from the embarrassing tough guy banter and misogyny permeating the rest of the movie.
I'm sure there are defenders of Miller's particular brand of fetishism who will point out he writes tough female characters. What they tend to leave out is that he's unable to write them wearing anything more than lingerie or S&M gear. Rosario Dawson is a good actress, yet -- for all the enjoyment I admittedly got out of it -- it's hard not to wince when her tactical wardrobe for taking on armed bodyguards is a bustier and Daisy Dukes (granted, it's still less mortifying than this). Every dude in this film gets long pants and a sweet coat, yet Miho (Jaime Chung) has to behead bad guys while wearing a leotard.
Aside: Chung is also a terrible ninja. Get Devon Aoki back.
Which brings me to Jessica Alba. I've said some unflattering things about her acting, because it's not very good, but I actually felt a little sorry for her here. Alba has a strict "no-nudity" clause, which is honestly kind of refreshing (fun fact: she's one year younger than Eva Green), but only heightens the disconnect between the claim she's the most desirable stripper in Mos Eisl...er, Basin City yet never takes her clothes off. Worse, her subplot has her turning the grind up to 11, ostensibly to emphasize her downward spiral, but instead coming across as pure exploitation.
I know: from Frank Miller? Crazy.
A lot of what Miller can get away with on the page -- the cliched tough guy banter and Existentialism 101 -- falls flat when played live. Now that the visual novelty of the first movie has worn off, that problem is even more glaring.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is in theaters today. I mean, Marv even references the coat he took from the cop he killed in the first movie.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events