Friday, August 29, 2014

Movie Review: "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (2014)

Movie"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
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Basin City's favorite group of characters are back in four new story lines. Marv (Micky Rourke) is having another Saturday night dishing out his vigilante justice against some wealthy punks who get their kicks by burning the homeless. A young gambler named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a long hard night. In the main story of the film, Dwight (Josh Brolin) enlists the help of Marv to help Ava (Eva Green), Dwight's former lover, and who they believe is a dame to kill for, get justice on her husband, who roughs her up from time to time. Nancy (Jessica Alba) has her last dance before going crazy, cutting up her own face and asking Marv to help her take revenge on Senator Roark (Powers Booth). 

Everything about this movie is different from its predecessor. Even the look of the movie is different. It's still black and white with splashes of color here and there, but it almost looks more computer generated and less comic book-y like the first film. It's like they didn't take the same amount of painstaking attention to detail as they did nine years ago. And speaking of nine years ago, when filmmakers and directors make their audience wait almost a decade for a highly anticipated sequel, they damn well better make it spectacular. Unfortunately for the "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" filmmakers, this movie underwhelms and borderlines on being just OK.

First of all, this movie is both a sequel AND a prequel. We'll give you time to process that for a second. While Robert Rodriguez, the director of this film, doesn't come right out and tell you which is which, it's almost always clear what came before and what came after, except in the case of one of the four stories. Marv and Nancy's timeline seems to be both a prequel AND a sequel, making the entire story a little unclear. In Nancy's last dance, we assume it's a sequel to the Hardigan story from the first film. However, the inclusion of Marv doesn't make sense, especially since Nancy is in the Goldie and Marv story line of Sin City before she goes completely crazy, and at the end of which, Marv winds up dead. If this is a spoiler to you, sorry, but shame on you for waiting nine years to see the original film!!!

The film starts off strong enough, featuring just another Saturday night with Marv doing his thing, teaching some punks a fatal lesson. Though we like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny and he performs well, his story is a quite underwhelming and drags down the film's pace. Powers Booth's performance as Roark is nothing short of amazing. Booth is able to capture just how truly evil Roark is as a person, and in one scene, goes as far as breaking all of Johnny's fingers. See, heads flying off bodies, multiple gunshot wounds, Marv removing someone's eye...none of this really bothered us that much. But Johnny's fingers being broken?? Having just broken my foot a few months ago, I felt the agony, the horrific and searing pain of a bone being broken deep down in my loins. THAT was truly gruesome. The next segment has the opposite problem. We were not a fans of Josh Brolin in the role of Dwight, though his story is quite enthralling. We did have a question, though: what the hell was Clive Owen doing that he couldn't take the time out of his busy schedule to reprise his role as Dwight? THE ANSWER IS: NOTHING AT ALL. Eva Green does an excellent job as the ruthless, vicious, master manipulator Ava and was one of our favorite parts of the film. The final story and the only sequel (the other three are prequels) seems rushed and we actually started to get a little overloaded with how much Marv is in the film. By now, it just seems like they are trying to capitalize on Marv's popularity and his inclusion doesn't seem to fit the timeline. Maybe they should have made a spin-off all about Marv, it might have made more money than this sequel.

Overall, this sequel/prequel/whatever the hell it is is simply uninspired. We waited with baited breath to see this film and left sorely disappointed. In the grand scheme of movies, it's not a terrible one and does boast some pretty awesome death and actions scenes, but most of the movie was just sort of...there. The violence and sex appeal get amped up in this sequel, only to go little to nowhere. It doesn't help that the movie completely flopped at the box offices its opening weekend, making way under the total it was estimated to make. Everything from the visual effects to the voice-over narration lacked the same clever, neo-noir, and groundbreaking spark of the first film that made it one of our favorite movies of the last decade.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"

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