Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For review – A dark sequel with Dark Age morals

Posted on 27 August 2014
By George Anthony Heron
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I’ve been waiting a long, long time for Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For to come out. So long, that I’d forgotten I was waiting for it by the time it finally arrived.

Almost a decade has passed since the original, an action-packed, graphic novel-adapted ensemble with oodles of guns, gore and gals. Several films have tried to emulate it’s highly stylised film-noir aesthetics – like The Spirit and Bunraku, to name but two – and all have failed. Could the inhabitants of BaSIN City come out of nine years of development hell to show ‘em how it’s done?

The opening scene showed a lot of promise, as it throws you straight into Marv’s (Mickey Rourke) chaotic world. He wakes up on the tarmac, head pounding like a gang of zebras (they all talk like this in their heads in Sin City). He’s wondering why he’s lying on the floor with two cars piled on top of one another nearby. He mentally retraces his steps back to that old, reliable schema, a strip bar where the girls don’t strip fully, even though the film is an 18.

It was a good move by director Robert Rodriguez to use Marv as the glue which holds the film together. He was the funniest character in the first and, he continues that in the sequel.

At this point of the review you must be thinking “George really likes this film. Looks like it might be worth a watch.” As the great Treebeard once said, “Let’s not be hasty.”

We all know of films that you loved as a child that turn out to be crap when you’re older. I loved The Goonies as a kid but watch it now and can’t stand the high pitched voices of the children, ruining the whole experience for me. The same shift in taste must occur to a man from his mid-twenties to near mid-thirties, because the misogyny and mindless formulaic violence inherent in this film left me feeling rather numb and bored.

No matter how cool the male heroes are – and Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Brolin do play cool parts – there’s a female character that is either a prostitute or evil. Even the most likeable female in the film, Nancy (Jessica Alba), dances provocatively for the most part and goes do-lally towards the end. It’s a dark film with moral values akin to the Dark Ages.

The action, aside from some great samurai wielding by Miho (Jamie Chung, replacing Devon Aoki), is basically a formula of single shot of person shooting gun, cutting to single shot of person falling to ground after bucket of water thrown on them to illustrate blood splatter, with the occasional flight of decapitated head. It gets very samey towards the end and it doesn’t help that the plot involves two mansion stormings.

I remember the first film to be much more dynamic than the ramblings of the last couple of paragraphs. The plot threads weaved together to give the sense of a living, breathing underbelly of corruption and depravity that had a minority of unsung heroes trying to rally against it. In that sense, this film feels more like Sin City-lite. And I so wanted to love this movie, too. Sigh.