Sin City: A Dame to Kill For review

Sin City A Dame to Kill For is engaging sequel

Packed with stylish visuals, a dream cast, tons of attitude and crazy over-the-top action, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, that for better or worse, delivers exactly what you’d expect in a Sin City sequel.


The Weinstein Company Miho (Jamie Chung) springs into action.

Fans of co-director/co-screenwriter Frank Miller’s Sin City comics and the 2005 film should happily enjoy every blood-soaked, film noir tribute moment. Those less comfortable with copious amounts of violence (not to mention decapitations), in your face sex and the overall dark tone, won’t suddenly find themselves converts of the material this time.

Miller reunites with co-director/co-screenwriter Robert Rodriguez (Machete Kills), his Sin City collaborator, for another stroll through the crime ridden streets told by some of its most depraved citizens.

Like its predecessor, Dame is a series of loosely connected vignettes from Miller’s Sin City stories, but it also borrows a page from 300: Rise of an Empire, which served as both a prequel and sequel to 300.The Weinstein Company Ava (Eva Green)

The best two installments are the ones that rightfully get the most screen time in the 102 min. production. Dwight (Josh Brolin, Guardians of the Galaxy) reunites with his ex-love, Ava, (Eva Green, Casino Royale) and gets tangled in a messy violent web of lies with her husband (Marton Csokas, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert, 24), Gail (Rosario Dawson), Miho (Jamie Chung, Grown Ups) and the other prostitutes of Old Town.

While befitting the story, original Dwight actor Clive Owen is missed. Brolin’s take is serviceable, but lacks that element of detached cool that made Owen so enjoyable in the first film. As he says the presumably intentionally melodramatic lines like ‘Never lose control. Never let the monster out’ it’s as if Brolin’s taking it all too seriously. Fortunately, Green is perfectly fine carrying the arc and delivers another scene-stealing performance.

The Weinstein Company Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

The other stellar arc sees card whiz Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon) learning the price of showing up the powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe, 24). Acting-wise, this is easily the standout segment of the film as Boothe is a tremendous villain and Gordon-Levitt makes for a smooth and welcome addition to the series.

The Weinstein Company Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances in "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For."On the other side, we get a decent, if unremarkable sequence where Marv (Mickey Rourke who now seems bored with the role) goes on a brawling rampage.

But the film’s weakest chapter features Jessica Alba’s stripper Nancy seeking revenge on Roark for killing her lover, Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Hartigan’s return as a ghost doesn’t really vibe with the established, gritty atmosphere and Alba isn’t convincing at all as a hardened killer.

Rodriguez and Miller once again shoot the film on a “digital backlot” where the backgrounds are digitally added later and the film is largely black and white with scant splashes of color to offer a visual more true to the source material. Curiously, the format doesn’t lend itself to a worthwhile 3D image so stick with 2D for this one.

Per the unwritten rule of sequels, Rodriguez and Miller go bigger to the extreme and for a property that was already absurdly violent and sexually explicit, the action and dialogue at times reach cartoonish levels. Is it overboard? Perhaps, but it’s largely consistent with the first film so if you enjoyed your first stroll down Sin City, chances are good you’ll be thrilled with the encore.

The Weinstein Company Mickey Rourke as Marv

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo Credits: The Weinstein Company

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  • keith

    sounds good. I forgot this was even coming out. Glad I skipped the has beens um expendables. Now this is theater quality madness. So no rosario dawson? I figured jessica would be the weakest character. She hasnt been a good actor since dark angel. She just so stiff and wooden and was not the best invisible woman. She looks good but not really a fan. What over good looking famous women are in it?

  • Rosario’s in it as well as Jamie Chung as part of the Old Town crew.

    Agreed on Alba. She’s pretty and seems very nice, but her acting ability has never been that impressive.

  • Fred

    They killed any box office momentum the first film built up by simply waiting too damn long to make, I don’t know what the hell Rodriquez was thinking about. This film should have been released between 2007 and 2008 when it was most popular. You can’t wait nearly 10 years to release a sequel, that’s a guaranteed sure suicide mission for any film franchise.

  • Yeah. I’m surprised it was so long since the first one as well. Not like Rodriguez is such a prolific director he’s cranking out a new film each year.

    From early signs, it’s trailing behind “If I Stay” which would be a big upset.

  • Fred

    Excatly, it’s not like Rodriquez had a busy and fledging career and if anything releasing this film on schedule like a sequel is supposed to be released might have helped his career more at that point, he could have use that strong momentum with the way his career is currently playing out. It’s probably going to open around no more than 13-15 million at best this weekend, I think he because “Sin City” was successful dude probably figured he could play a little hardball with the studio and make the film when he chose to, wrong haha. He’s going to wish he did make this film back in ’07, ’08 after it flops. Jeff what’s going on my man, I hope the newly married life is being great to you and the misses.

  • Yeah, I’m puzzled by his strategy with all this.

    I’m good man. So far it’s been great!

    Wondering where you’ve been! All well on your end?

  • keith

    plus are they even advertising for it? I forgot it was coming out

  • keith

    I havent even seen a trailer in the movies. I saw that damn expendables trailer non stop this summer

  • I guess they’re not doing a good enough job. I felt like I saw a decent amount of ads here in MD.

  • What trailers have you seen lately? At the press screenings, we rarely see trailers so I’m curious what people are seeing in theaters.

  • keith

    expendables 3 it was the GOTG, couldnt get away from lucy, dawn of the planet of the apes. Think like a man too used to get a lot of press. the rest dont ring a bell

  • Good review. It had its little moments of fun, but other than two or three scenes, it was really just mediocre.

  • Thanks Dan. Definitely didn’t feel like it was as good as the original but I liked it enough.

  • Cameron Rice

    I think it’s better and even more intense than the first one

  • Hey Cameron. Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like we’re in the minority on this one. 😉

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  • Xenolicker

    You say that this is sexually explicit, and that Jessica Alba plays a stripper named Nancy. So far so very good. But… she doesn’t take her clothes off! I thought that the whole point of being a stripper is: taking your clothes off!! Especially in an R-rated movie!!! It’s just wrong…

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