Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe
Ignore the graphic gore and violence sheathed in style, and Sin City is a very conservative story — about privileged people who are bad, and the unprivileged ones who are good; about beautiful ugly women, and ugly beautiful men; about a shiny city hiding its sins in glamour, and its honest underbelly that wears them on its sleeve.
So really there is no cliché that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For doesn’t deploy, just as its 2005 prequel didn’t. Why it may not get as many eyeballs is that in the nine years in between, we have seen the same set of tricks used several times over, including in Frank Miller’s own 300, and by Rodriguez’s fan friend Quentin Tarantino.
Minus the novelty factor — and its monotone, monochrome, colour-splotched look is exactly the same as the prequel – and minus Tarantino’s eye for quirkiness, Sin City 2 is surprisingly boring in how it notches up its kills. It does come alive when Green enters and chews up the screen as the killer dame to kill for, but breasts to bullets, nothing can liven up the rest of it.
Most of the actors of the first film are back for a repeat, but there is no one with the edginess of Brittany Murphy or the solidity of Clive Owen. However, Rourke has to be given credit for holding up his end again so well as the gravelly Marv, despite the superhuman efforts required of him. He is quite the foil for the heavyweight at the other end, Powers Boothe, reprising his role as the snarling Senator Rourke.
The film makes concessions for those who may not have seen the first part by giving enough hints, and is loyal again to the last line to Frank Miller’s graphic novel series.
But the Joseph Gordon-Levitt part doesn’t have the chills of the cannibal Elijah Wood, Alba’s pouts have clearly outlived their usefulness, the 3D is entirely pointless, the voyeurism even less disguised now, and there are no little girls who need saving to connect this film to any normal human emotion calling for a normal human response.
It would be strange to deploy that word for Sin City, but really that’s what this film could have done with – some amount of normalcy.