Once again putting the graphic into graphic novel, writer Frank Miller and director Robert Rodriguez return to the lurid world of 2005’s Sin City for another set of startlingly gory, brazenly depraved tales drawn from Miller’s comic-book series featuring hard-boiled heroes, seductive dames and psychotic villains.
In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, some faces are the same: Mickey Rourke’s hulking ex-con Marv, Jessica Alba’s haunted stripper Nancy, Rosario Dawson’s Amazonian hooker Gail, and Powers Booth’s corrupt Senator Roark. Some are new, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s brash young gambler Johnny, and Eva Green’s siren-like femme fatale Ava, her beauty and duplicity ensnaring Josh Brolin’s private eye and every other man she encounters.
The film’s look is the same, too, lustrous monochrome with splashes of vivid colour, again achieved by filming the actors against highly stylised digital backdrops.
It’s a look and a technique that has been much imitated since the first Sin City and inevitably, notwithstanding the addition of 3D, fails to make quite the same impact second time around.
Frame by frame, the images still dazzle, but Miller and Rodriguez’s brash pulp-noir sensibility now feels jaded, lacking the wit to stop the interwoven stories and their relentless violence from becoming a drag before the film is through.
Certificate 18. Runtime 102 mins. Director Robert Rodriguez.
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