Robert Rodriguez is back nine years later with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, a sequel he co-directed with graphic novelist and director Frank Miller. Together, the two have managed to make a sequel that’s visually pleasing and somewhat satisfying for the die-hard Sin City fans, but also a sequel that carries very little importance to those waiting since the first film wowed audiences back in 2005. A Dame to Kill For is an okay film that feels a little stretched out and lacking urgency, which is an odd problem given how much time was wasted between the original film and this mess of a sequel.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For isn’t exactly a straight-forward sequel. Characters have been forced in and out of focus, while some dead ones have somehow managed to pop back up alive. I’m not exactly sure how this one manages to shuffle in and out of timelines, but that doesn’t even seem to be a minor problem for directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller as they take their likable characters from the first one and mix them with some fresh ones.
Mickey Rourke pops back up for a performance that feels a little too familiar. Marv was once a career best for the man and now it feels a little too much like revisiting old territory, while Bruce Willis and a few other key cast members are mostly reduced down to nothing, which doesn’t exactly hurt the film, considering newcomers Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt steal the film in ways that Josh Brolin could never imagine.
Brolin plays a re-imaging of Clive Owen‘s character, which not only makes very little sense, but is also just downright confusing and distracting for those familiar and unfamiliar with the original film. Brolin does a fine job with the character, but whenever compared to Owen, he becomes completely empty of anything or different than what was already established for the character in the original film. If anything, he hurts the reputation of the character and makes him far more unlikable than Clive Owen ever managed to do.
Still, JGL and Green inject the series with some much-needed life and that more than makes up for the half dozen glorified cameos that liter the rest of the film. Most of them are quick and painless, but a few hurt the film’s all-over-the-place structure and only make things even harder to piece together.
The biggest problem A Dame to Kill For has is its total lack of purpose. Seriously, Miller and Rodriguez shoot the film creatively and give us a fair share of gore and violence, but none of it adds up anything. The entire film feels like one giant deleted scene or sequence from the original film. It’s not offensively bad or anything, but all of the borderline problems that held the first film back are still overly present in the sequel and it seems as if Rodriguez has learned absolutely nothing during his nine year break in between these two films. Absolutely nothing.
The acting is still spotty and the stories still cling together very loosely, making A Dame to Kill For nothing more than a fancy spectacle of colors, tits and blood. Comic book fans might eat this one up solely based on their commitment to the graphic novel, but fans of the original film or fans of this style of filmmaking will find A Dame to Kill For to be incredibly underwhelming and far from progressive, which is a horrible shame considering how well-received the first one was and how much praise it got for being so original and unique.
Now, the time has passed and this particular type of filmmaking isn’t all that attractive, unless you pack a big enough punch to warrant such a creatively different approach to storytelling, which Miller and Rodriguez don’t bring to the table whatsoever.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is not a bad movie at all. It’s just not a very good one either. It gets by more than it should based strictly on its visual style and special effects, while its acting and general story come off as light and rarely logical when compared to the original film, which wasn’t a work of perfection either, but an awesome-looking graphic novel come to life. A Dame to Kill For tries to recreate that magic by literally copying the original film frame-for-frame without ever bothering to inject enough new material or ideas to warrant its own existence, despite having NINE whole years to develop a sequel worthy of being told and worthy of starring such a hearty cast, which mostly goes to waste or becomes extremely underutilized.
Frank Miller might want to stick to making comic books, while Robert Rodriguez might want to step back and take some advice from his buddy Quentin Tarantino, because Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a flat production that gets by strictly on its flare and style and not so much its story, which rarely makes a strong enough argument to warrant the film’s entire existence. What a damn shame.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – 7/10