Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill for

Movie Review #914

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Premiered in Los Angeles, California on August 19, 2014. Wide release on August 22, 2014. Crime/Thriller. This film is rated R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use. Runs 102 minutes. Cypriot-American co-production. Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez. Written by: Frank Miller. Graphic novels: Frank Miller. Cast: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Boothe, Dennis Halbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, and Jeremy Piven.

THIS IS SO MUCH WORSE THAN IT HAD EVERY RIGHT TO BE.


By Alexander Diminiano

We’ve all heard the line “You look like shit” before. It’s easily one of the most overused Hollywood lines ever. I didn’t notice it used in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill for”, and that comes as a serious surprise to me. The script recycles so many other lines out of the dumpsters of Los Angeles, that you’d really expect that one to show up at one point or another.

Now that I mention it “Sin City: A Dame to Kill for” probably refrains from using that phrase because it fits it perfectly. This movie looks like absolute scheiße. I liked the first movie’s look. It was like watching a cross between a film-noir and a graphic novel, with lots of blood and sex. I did get kind of excited when I heard that a sequel was coming, and that it would be released in 3-D. But Robert Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have changed a lot since the last “Sin City”, which was 9 years ago. They’re not visual craftsmen anymore. They’re now they’re more obsessed with 3-D than any one filmmaker this year. What was once clever, smokey black-and-white has now become a sorry excuse to throw debris in the audience’s face and partially colorize every other shot. If this was brilliance, then Steven Spielberg could have done better with “Schindler’s List”, by filming it entirely on 3-D cameras and writing the symbolic girl with the red coat as the story’s protagonist.

“Sin City: A Dame to Kill for” is an abomination of everything that made the first movie so great. It boasts–excuse me, it wastes a talented cast. Apparently the titular city still relies on the dated system of gender roles for division of labor. I’m not saying that the men are seen hunting and gathering while the women are seen caring for their children, though that estimate is surprisingly close. If you see a male actor in this sequel, expect that he will kill at least one other male actor at some point in the film, and if you see a female actor, expect that she will remove her clothing at least once during the film. I should also warn you not to make the script’s gender division into a drinking game. You’ll put yourself at risk of passing out before twenty minutes have passed.

Mickey Rourke plays a bloke whose catch phrase is “I can’t remember why I did that for the life of me.” The typical amnesiac action hero, scripted by a guy who’s just a bit too lazy to explain what might actually be going on in this dilapidated story. Jessica Alba proves to be a great dancer, but she narrates as if she were on a Covergirl commercial. The concerns of her narration are depression, alcoholism, etc. (Buy a Covergirl product today and you’ll receive a free additional hour of misery! It fits so well.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I can’t complain, and thank god, because I can only complain so much, and I might actually reach my quota by the end of this review. Bruce Willis hasn’t been this flat since he played the Easter Bunny et al in “North” (1994). It’s a damn shame he doesn’t appear alongside Gordon-Levitt at all. They did so well as foils in “Looper” (2012).

The one compliment I can give the cast is that Eva Green is badass here. Between “300: Rise of an Empire” and now “Sin City: A Dame to Kill for”, I’m starting to wonder if she might now be the only reason I should ever see any adaptation of a Frank Miller comic book. If there’s a “Sin City 3”, then dear god, she’d better be there. Except, why is Green nude the whole time? I’ve never seen a single actor or actress go nude for so long in one movie. “Blue Is the Warmest Color”, maybe, but that one was 3 hours long, and a quarter of that was sex scenes.

It’s not Green’s problem. It’s the script’s. It has a poor idea of typecasting. There’s Eva Green, perhaps the only actress in Hollywood who prefers to do her own nude scenes, and so she does–about 20 of them. Then there’s Bruce Willis. His character died in movie one, but he was in pretty high demand for this sequel. So he’s a ghost in this movie–a ghost looking down over Jessica Alba’s character, and later a vision in the mind of her character. I haven’t even mentioned how bad the dialogue is in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill for”. Like so much of the film, every line written and spoken in this movie translates to, “Give me the Razzie!” The keys scene from “The Usual Suspects” comes to mind.

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4 thoughts on “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill for

  1. Dang, I can’t believe it was THAT much worse than the original. Actually I can considering Frank Miller’s mental state has only continued to degrade.

    Glad to hear the good news about Eva Green. She looked perfect as a femme fatale.

    • I honestly had no idea about the stuff going on in Miller’s personal life until you mentioned that. I wasn’t sure at first what you meant when you said his “mental state has only continued to degrade,” but what I’m finding about his issues in recent years is very shocking. I hope he’s okay.

      About the movie itself, I couldn’t believe it was this much worse than the original, either. The original was so much fun.

      Eva Green is probably the only reason to watch the movie. Still far from a valid reason, though. She’s terrific, but the rest of the movie is terrible.

      I’ll disclose in this comment, nearly a month in advance, that Sin City: A Dame to Kill for has made my 2014 list of the five worst movies of the year. I think it’s #2 on the list. It might be #1. Stay tuned. That “Bottom 5” list, plus a “Top 10” list, as well as an “honorable mentions” list of films that just barely missed the top ten, are coming as soon as the ball drops in Times Square on January 1, 2015.

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 10:46 PM, Cinemaniac Reviews wrote:

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      • Yeah, it all went downhill for him after 9/11, though one could make the argument that he began to lose his sanity after his run on Sin City. Works like 300, All-Star Batman and Robin, and The Dark Knight Strikes Again have been just awful.

        Can’t wait for your 2014 list!

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