Movie Review: Same “Sin City,” different “Dame to Kill For”


“Sin City” is back in all its lurid, gory glory, a vivid and visceral graphic novel come to life in the capable hands of Robert Rodriguez and co-director and comic book creator Frank Miller.
If anything, it’s a more gorgeous experiment in green screen digital sets and black and white videography, complete with selective splashes of color — a green-eyed femme fatale’s lips here, a bloodied thug’s ugly mug there. The neon-and-shadows cityscape is stunning, with voluptuous nudes and startling plunges underwater.
But the characters in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” are mostly the same, the situations basically a rehash of the bullets, blood and beatdowns of the first film. And the hard-bitten dialogue is jokier and softer, lacking the sucker punch prose of the original.
A couple of characters we saw die in “Sin City” are back — Marv, the avenging angel thug played by Mickey Rourke, with-prosthetic jaw, brow and nose, and the last good cop, Hartigan, played by a fatalistic Bruce Willis. Prominent newcomers are Eva Green, showing off her Bond Babe bod in her birthday suit, luring men to their doom, Josh Brolin and Dennis Haysbert as two of those men, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an unfortunately lucky gambler and Powers Boothe is a crooked Senator the gambler crosses.
Stacy Keach shows up in a full Jabba the Hutt blob mask, Juno Temple and Jaime King are fresh women of the night, Christopher Lloyd’s a demented mob doctor, Jeremy Piven and Christopher Meloni are ineffectual cops and Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson return as bustier-and-fishnet clad tough broads with a stripper touch.
The gambler (Gordon-Levitt) woos a lady friend (Julia Garner) with his hardboiled patter.
“A city’s like a woman, or a casino. Somebody’s gonna win.”
Marv is still dealing in revenge-as-justice, execution style.
“I did what any good citizen would do.”
And private eye Dwight (Brolin) is spying on the likes of Ray Liotta and Temple, who plays his paramour.
“She glides out of her coat like it was Christmas wrapping.”
Rodriguez, who shot this and shares directing credit with Miller, films “A Dame to Kill For” in extreme close-ups, through lingering digital clouds of cigarette smoke, staging stylistically fake classic car chases — a Tucker Torpedo, a tail finned Caddy.
The violence is grisly — impalings and beheadings and eye-pluckings. And the sex is explicit. Women take a back seat in these movies, though Alba’s stripper bent on revenge gets to narrate part of it. Dawson and Green are the ones who’re frightening enough to hold their own with the tough guys.
“A Dame to Kill For” isn’t the shock to the system “Sin City” was. But whatever its plot repetition and warmed-over tough talk cost it, this is still a movie like few others you’ve ever seen, a 3D slice of Nihilistic noir that will have you narrating your own guts and guns story on the drive home, chewing on a toothpick as you do.


MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and brief drug use.

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert
Credits: Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, written by Frank Miller and based on his graphic novels. A Dimension release.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in previews, profiles and movie news, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Movie Review: Same “Sin City,” different “Dame to Kill For”

  1. tomascini says:

    I wonder how come it took so long to get made, and why there’s a certain belatedness about it.

    • It was in the works forever. Not sure what took them so long, though the look of it suggests a long, FX centric and perhaps piecemeal shooting schedule (this actor’s available for X-weeks, that one not until three months from now).

      • tomascini says:

        I haven’t seen the movie yet, but based on what you saw, do you reckon there’ll be another episode?

      • If it does anything ANYTHING at the box office, the low cost means they’ll be egged on to do another. I figure it needs to open at $25 to make that happen. Nobody is predicting that, but i could see it. Lots of web interest in this one.

  2. Brad says:

    Hey Roger…check your formatting on this post. The lack of delineated paragraphs makes this review a little difficult for my simple noggin to comprehend.

  3. Xenolicker says:

    It’s good to be back in Sin City!

Comments are closed.