Sin City: A Dame to Kill For sees Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller team up again, 9 years after the release of the ground-breaking film Sin City. Featuring the same high-contrast black and white photography (with occasional pops of color), multiple short-story vignettes, and noire-ish style as the original, A Dame to Kill For tries to break new ground since it is shot in 3D and features sets that are almost entirely rendered with visual effects.
Since some of the vingettes in A Dame to Kill For actually take place prior to Sin City, fans will appreciate the return of some familiar characters who were previously killed off like Marv (Mickey Rourke), Goldie (Jamie King), and also Hartigan (Bruce Willis), though it can be a little confusing as some of the stories take place after the initial Sin City timeline, and some before. The central story, “A Dame to Kill For”, features Dwight (now played by Josh Brolin) out for revenge after being double-crossed by his former lover Ava. Just as evil as she is sexy and alluring, Eva Green is well cast to play her, though it seems almost too close to the character she played in 300: Rise of an Empire earlier this year. “The Long, Bad Night”, a vignette that was written exclusively for the film, introduces us to Johnny, a cocky young gambler who crosses paths with the biggest villain in the city Roark (Powers Boothe). Though one of the shortest, I found it to be the most entertaining thanks to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is fantastic in the role of Johnny. Other vignettes include “Nancy’s Last Dance”, Nancy’s (Jessica Alba) quest for revenge after the suicide of Hartigan, and “Just Another Saturday Night”, featuring the heavily made-up Mickey Roark returning as Marv.
The combination of visual style and storytelling through the pairing of Rodriguez and Miller was ground-breaking in Sin City, but it does make A Dame to Kill For seem a little like “been there, done that”. The stylistic changes achieved through 3D and effects-rendered sets are interesting, but don’t do enough to make the film seem that original except for a few fleeting moments. With the exception of Ava and Johnny, though memorable, most of the characters are exactly the same as the original Sin City. The one totally new story featuring Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is the most interesting and entertaining, and also the shortest… too small a taste to be completely satisfied. No doubt Rodriguez and Miller are a great filmmaking team, but A Dame to Kill For is just too much of the same to be truly great.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.