Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City was one of my favorite movies at the time (2005) and still remains so. The first thing that comes into my mind when I think of it is “SLICK”, its smooth and a pleasure to look at and at its core its the brilliant graphic novel by Frank Miller. Rodriguez used the graphics novel panels for the storyboards and it works like a charm. Frank Miller’s graphic novel in itself is a piece of fine art and its movie counterpart, a commendable and striking neo-noir visual extravaganza that told its story through gritty visuals, a ton of monologues, sex and violence, extraordinaire. I was hooked the instant I’d seen the Sin City preview with The Servant’s Cells track, on many levels it was one of the best trailers I’d ever seen.
Cut to 2014 and we realize it has taken about a decade for the Sin City sequel and the anticipation was definitely high. While Sin City was based on the 6th book in the series, Booze, Broads & Bullets, A Dame to Kill For was based on A Dame To Kill For along with two original stories written exclusively for the movie by Frank Miller. I myself am a die hard fan of the graphic novels and I still remember avariciously reading through the books relishing each frame.
Sin City was built on its arresting visual style, a great monochrome palette with colors red, yellow, blue that contrasts against it and a great story to boot. A Dame to Kill For follows suit but with a weak script it tries desperately to entertain you and fails. Even with the same visual wizardry A Dame to Kill For quickly falls flat because the novelty wears off a few minutes into the movie. I was rather excited when the titles rolled in, panels and characters from the graphic novel animated in 3D, wow, that was a sight for sore eyes. Yes at times the movie looks stunning, like it’d just pounced from Miller’s acclaimed comic panels but it only proves that only visuals cant make a good movie.
And talk about the stories itself, the adapted material stands out and the originals comes off as the weak point here especially the last sequence, Nancy’s Last Dance. I wouldn’t complain had it been Jessica Alba gyrating throughout the sequence but unfortunately the section is the weakest and acted as a filler. The movie starts with Just Another Saturday Night, stars Marv and he’s his usual bad-ass self here. The Long Bad Night, another original tells the story of Johnny, a gambler who goes against none other than Senator Roarke. A Dame to Kill For moves in typical Sin City fashion re-introducing Dwight and keeps you intrigued a bit until it drags us till its end.
The performances were decent enough with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Mickey Rourke taking a front seat. Josh Brolin replaces Clive Own as Dwight and does a good job. Eva Green plays the Dame in question and she does what she does best. No not showing her assets off. Well, that and she kinda reprises the same role from 300 Rise of an Empire. Powers Booth plays the villain in most of storylines yet he didn’t seem as intimidating as the antagonists in the first movie. Jessica Alba, yea she’s there too (read “meh”). There were cameos aplenty, with Bruce Willis, Ray Liota, Rosario Dawson and Jamie Chung. Oh btw, thank the ever wonderful Indian Censor-board to chop off around 20 minutes due to nudity. I wouldn’t have bothered with nudity, the thing is those 10-20 minutes also had trivial plot-points without which the story felt bland. After all what’s a Sin City movie without sex, drugs and violence?
I am disappointed as this much awaited sequel doesn’t even come close to the original. Sin City will be remembered as one of the best graphic novel adaptations by Rodiguez/Miller/Tarantino. A Dame to Kill For on the other hand will be forgotten in a couple of days. Watch it for the visuals had you not watched the first, then again, watch Sin City on Blu-ray and forget that a sequel had ever been released.