Starring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller
IMDB Rating: 6.7
A film that I think is getting a rougher time from critics than it deserves. Sure, it was going to be hard to replicate the magic from the first movie, but this is still a very cool and different action film.
Like the first film, A Dame to Kill For is a layered film looking at different stories in Basin City. Marv (Rourke) wakes upon a highway surrounded by dead bodies, with no idea how he got there he retraces his steps, trying to figure out what happened. Johnny (Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gambler, takes on and beats Senator Roark in a game of poker – who seeks to punish him for his arrogance. Nancy (Alba) looks to avenge the death of her saviour and love John Hartigan by killing the Senator. In the main story of the film, private detective Dwight McCarthy (Brolin) is contacted by former lover Ava Lord (Eva Green), and is manipulated like so many other men into doing her bidding for her love.
I understand why people don’t like this film. The first film was so unique that to try and do it again eliminates the point of it. I’m personally sick of so many films having sequels/prequels these days, you can have too much of a good thing. However it is still a good movie in its own right! The stories are exciting and the characters are brilliantly twisted – especially the male newcomers to the franchise, Dwight and Johnny. The original Sin City found the perfect balance between enough realism to feel dark and graphic, and enough fantasy to feel awesome and fun! At some points, A Dame to Kill For crossed the line into fantastical a bit too far, becoming more funny than cool and losing some of its edge.
Performances in this film are okay, but not as good overall as the first film. None of the actors really stand out for their acting, but if I was to pick one over the rest it would be Eva Green as Ava Lord, the deceitful and manipulative ‘dame to kill for’. I was impressed and excited by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘James Bond-esque’ character Johnny, but I don’t think that is down to any exceptional acting performance by Gordon-Levitt himself.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that the shooting style in this film does not vary too far from the original film, and that is a good thing. One thing that does change between the first film and A Dame to Kill For is the graphic novel feel the film gets. I mentioned in my review of Sin City (2005) that part of its attraction is that it feels like a book brought to life, not distancing itself too far from Frank Millers original source. However, this film feels more modern, the detail is more crisp and sharp and with that it loses some of its comic-book feel.
The dark and gritty awesomeness of the original Sin City is still here, but understandably some of the magic from the original has been lost nine years on. It’s is still a good film, and is still different from many other action films. I have no idea whether they plan to do another Sin City – it wouldn’t surprise me if they do, but I don’t think they should. This is a good and unique franchise, and overdoing it will spoil what is, at this moment in time, a success on the big screen.
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