More breathtaking visuals, but man, talk about being late to the party. So same city, new stories, with some events taking place before the previous chapters in Sin City, and some after. There are two main plot threads here, one involving Dwight (played this time by Josh Brolin) having a run-in with a past lover, and the other about a gambler who can’t lose (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) getting into hot water with the mob. Now this was a flop of legendary proportions; with a production budget of $65 million only yielding a return of $14 million domestic, I’m sure there are people that lost their jobs over this. There was lot of goodwill toward the first one, so you would think that would translate to interest for a sequel, right? Well, I don’t want to say that this is too little too late, because this does pretty much everything the first movie accomplishes and does it well, but they shouldn’t have waited 9 years to make this. Now I still look back fondly upon the first film, but speaking candidly, it has done nothing but depreciate; sure, I loved it back when I was 17, but the fact that it was so adult may have had a large part to do with my adoration for it at the time, and I’ve matured and refined my tastes quite a bit since.
Now I have never read these Frank Miller graphic novels, and I will give credit in that this feels like a comic book, but there is some bad acting here as well as a couple of miscast roles. Returning actors like Powers Boothe and Mickey Rourke do fine, and I would even say that Josh Brolin is comparable to Clive Owen in the same role, even though I found myself being far more interested in the Joseph Gordon-Levitt story line. I do get that you have to replace late actors like Michael Clarke Duncan, but I feel that Dennis Haysbert plays it way too aloof for a character that should be intimidating.
Bruce Willis is an actor where I do enjoy his acting more often than not, but in the twilight of his career, you can tell where he just shows up to collect a paycheck, and this is one of those movies, even for the small role that he has here. Also, while I can personally appreciate Eva Green for being naked for 60% of her role, whenever she is actually interacting with other characters, I really thought she was overdoing it. But hey, the vibrant colors look absolutely stunning contrasting against the black and white and I would say it’s about a 3-1 ratio of scenes that work to scenes that don’t. The lighting and cinematography are both gorgeous, just like the first time around, and it never ceases to be alluring at every moment. Given the choice, I would much rather see Robert Rodriguez follow up on this series over those lame Machete movies, as there are worthwhile elements to this. If you like the first one, you should take the time with this one, but really, this is the equivalent of getting an invitation to a party, mistaking a ‘1’ for a ‘7’ and showing up for festivities in July instead of January.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire