Darke Reviews – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)


Does everyone remember 2005? We got a trailer with some amazing music by the group Cells. It had a beat we had not heard before. It came with visuals we had not seen before.  Sure it was in black and white, but there were splashes of bright colour that accentuated everything. Stark whites against blacks that were positively glowing. It got our attention. A comic book movie unlike other comic book movies. In 19 weeks it doubled its budget domestically. Anyone remember that?

It is worth remembering. The neo noir, pulp film was new fresh and interesting. Robert Rodriguez has left us waiting nearly 10 years for it. The script isn’t right. The cast isn’t ready or too busy. Any number of reasons kept this sequel in production hell.

So is this a Dame to Kill for?

Both the original material here and the film script was by Frank Miller; whom also has a directors credit. Miller, for those who don’t spend their time in comic shops, is one of the more famous comic book writers of this age. His deconstructed reinvention of the Batman in Dark Knight Returns in 1986 might be solely responsible for Batman as we know him today. Miller is also the mind behind 300. To his downside he also gave us Robocop 2 and 3. WARNING – This is not a good thing. Sadly his ability to do sequels seems to be in a word – lacking. This is a disjointed mess that seems to miss most of the charm and black humor of the first film.

Some of this falls on co-director Robert Rodriguez, best known for Desperado, Dusk till Dawn, and Spy Kids. He agreed this was a script to shoot. He agreed on how to stage things How to light the movie. How to do the camera angles. Even the music choices. Both men get the blame for every failure of this film.

There are many.

None of it falls on the cast thankfully. They were given a script and direction to chew scenery. This must be a new diet in California because they went at it with insane glee, mostly. Josh Brolin (Old Boy, Labor Day, Goonies) is probably the least interesting portrayal who mostly threatens to be awesome yet never quite is. Mickey Rourke reprises the role of Marv, a role I am sure he was born to play, and tries to have fun with it but isn’t given nearly as much as he was in the first film. The addition of Joseph Gordon-Levitt showed a lot of promise yet again never quite reached the mark. If you want JGL and noir, watch the movie Brick. Eva Green is clearly Jeremy Irons understudy. Scenery is chewed with nothing left behind. Every inch of her talent, and body, is used to full capacity. She works.

Thats the best I can say.

Visually, the movie kinda fails. It takes some of the worst elements of the visuals from the original and over uses them. Where Sin City uses colour sparingly and with only a few exceptions keeps some of the colours muted this one over uses them. While they are as important to the story as anything else, just don’t have the same punch. Not to say they aren’t vibrant because they are. They just don’t work well or are so used that it doesn’t mean as much. The action scenes when they happen are easy to follow but not nearly as interesting or engaging. Odd angles and unique palettes are missing here. It’s just dull.

TL;DR

The movie ultimately lacks charm. The first one was charming. It had its own charisma. The good guys, while paying a price, won. It ended on a note it began with. It was a whole entity. It was a solid piece.

This is a disjointed mess of stories that just don’t seem to matter. Even the first one which showed some of the female body and blood was sparring in it. Nothing is spared here. They seem to be trying to one up themselves and fail at every turn. I think Eva Green is beautiful, one of the most beautiful actresses around, but I find she’s better with her clothes on and teasing rather than what we get here.

Sorry folks, I cannot recommend this one. As I wrote the review it went from a solid meh to a blargh.

I can’t even recommend something else to spend your money on; just watch Sin City again. With nothing much coming out in the next few weeks reviews will likely be sparse unless I find new stuff in limited release or do some DVD reviews for flavor.

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