Cinematic Releases: Sin City - A Dame To Kill For

Is the second Sin City movie nearly as good as the first? Find out now.

"Damn. She's about to make out
with Pizza The Hut. Gross."

I was a huge fan of the first Sin City; all the stylized violence, gritty noir atmosphere and hedonistic sexual overtones scratched a deep down primordial itch I didn’t even know I had. Guilty pleasure is the term I would use. The world that comic icon Frank Miller created is dark and brutal and Robert Rodriguez did a wonderful job bringing everything to life. You could literally pause the film, hold up the graphic novel next to the screen and it would look exactly the same down to the shadows on the character’s faces. It just doesn’t get any closer to adapting a comic book to the big screen.  Unfortunately, as they say, you can’t catch lightning in a bottle and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For just doesn’t have the same impact as the first film.

The movie is separated into four loosely connected vignettes based on the graphic novel, A Dame to Kill For, with new material that Miller wrote exclusively for the film. Now we all know that Frank Miller has become sort of…quirky as of late, so I was worried the new stories would not be as good. It actually fits in quite well and has the feel of his older work. The plot in general is not as tightly woven as the first film and does come off disjointed at times. There are some new faces this time around (and some character casting changes) but for the most part it feels like more of the same. Remember how Marv (Mickey Rourke) was the best thing about the first movie? Well, he is awesome in this one too and steals every scene he's in.

"Bruce Willis! I'll never forgive
you for that last Die Hard movie."
Rodriguez kept the eye-catching black and white with splashes of color look for the sequel and it looks just as gorgeous the second time around. He really has an eye for filming dynamic action scenes and cinematography. The movie doesn’t seem as brutal and violent this time around and the whole tone of the film seems more subdued in general. Honestly, That Yellow Bastard is the best story arc in the Sin City comics so this new film was based on weaker material. There are still some memorable scenes but it does drag somewhat in the middle. 

The wrap-around stories seemed to have the strongest characterizations and scripting. Miller has a very blunt and staccato way of writing so it makes the dialogue sound very over-wrought and cheesy at times. The character designs and costuming is classic Miller; weird as hell and with a definite S&M vibe. You are either picking up what Frank is putting down or you aren’t. This film had some strong female leads which is unusual for him; he has been accused of being misogynistic many times.  Maybe he is going soft in his old age!  I enjoy seeing non-politically correct themes sometimes so I don’t get too bent out of shape about it.

"Worship my glorious breasts....
or DIE!!!!!!!
If you enjoyed the first Sin City film, there are definitely things to like about the sequel.  We have so many lavishly produced comic book films nowadays (it’s popular and big money now) and Sin City comes off as odd and antiquated.  It harkens back to a time when comics were more underground and perhaps a little seedier but that’s what I like about the series.  It’s not sterilized and cleaned up for general consumption; it’s dirty and wrinkled like a pulp comic that’s been stashed in a back pocket.  This film is not a masterpiece but it still warrants a cursory peek, if not just to remember a time when comic books weren’t for everyone.

-Michelle Kisner