Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

2 Tame to Kill For

I currently drive a bright red Seat Leon and there are two major problems with it. Firstly the turbo is on its way out and secondly the air con has packed in. When I walked out of the Sin City 2 screening last night It reminded me of my car; It still looks nice and all the components are there but it lacks a bit of “oomph” and it’s not as cool as it used to be.

The noir visuals are still there and still splashed with colour, the monologues are still introspective and revealing of a character’s psyche, the film is still violent, still filled with erotic scenes and still walks a fine line between comic book and film yet somehow it all seems a bit flat.

Perhaps it’s because it’s been done before? Perhaps the original was very much a film of 2005 and it has no longer relevant in today’s society? I don’t think this is the case.

I don’t often re-watch originals before watching the sequel but when I was thinking about the original the only thing that I could remember was the yellow dude, you know, the one that looks like a goblin has been bathing in pee. In ten years time, when I think back to this movie the most noticeable character will be Wallenquist who looks a bit like a fish in a suit and is in the film for all of 1 minute.

The characters in a Dame to Kill For were not overly interesting and the lack of a memorable villain – Wallenquist would have been ideal – meant the film didn’t feel like it went anywhere. The characters made Sin City feel a bit more like Sane City as the themes that were explored were neurotic women, gambling, power and revenge. Compare this to the original’s cannibalism, rape, murder, greed and Sin City 2 feels a bit tame and no amount of chopping off heads can counter this.

The original Sin City had about 5 mini stories that were tangentially linked together and it’s only in the last segment of the film where we meet our pee goblin and all the threads tie up. It was story telling that we hadn’t really seen since Pulp Fiction perhaps. Sure, once this style has been done then it becomes old hat but in Sin City 2 we have about 3 longer threads that unfortunately don’t tie up or rather they tie up but only as well as the first time I tied my own shoelaces.

Johnny’s story (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is case in point here. Johnny, a cock-sure gambler, was probably the best character in the film. He has made it his mission to prove that Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), the most powerful man in Sin City, can be beaten but this thread just ends with absolutely no consequence in the Sin City universe. We also see Marv (Mickey Rourke) buddy up with Dwight (Josh Brolin) to go up against an army of minions just because he was asked, or because they drink in the same place? Maybe the two are actually friends? I couldn’t tell. It’s a shame that the narrative in Sin City 2 feels so disparate and fractured especially when compared to how well crafted the original was.

The noir visuals also differ from the original. It’s only subtle but it’s there. The original was always raining, or windy or snowing and feels like it has a better contrast of pure black & white whilst number the most recent entry has more mid range grey with less flourishes of those bleached out background items and more splashes of colour. All this really added to the atmosphere of the original and made the city feel really oppressive and grim. In places Sin City 2 is not as brash and in others not as subtle so whilst you get a better feeling that this is a city and not just a couple of isolated locations you can’t help but feel that the whole place is not as sinful.

Interestingly the original, darker Sin City came out a few years before the recession that seemed to have more dips than Orlando Florida’s best roller-coaster and here is a lighter version that is released as the economy has positive growth again so perhaps it is more relevant in today’s society than we thought.

I feel like I’m being overly harsh on the film. The visual style of the film is still beautiful, the script is still decent but – like my car – when you compare what it was to what it is now it’s just a bit of let down.

Go See

  • Still love the visual style
  • Johnny. I wish I was that good with cards.
  • Jessica Alba. Still hot.

Avoid

  • Uninteresting characters that aren’t as sinful
  • Fractured narrative
  • Too much ‘gloss’ reduces atmosphere and oppressive feeling of the city

Overall

3-stars

 

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