Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Dame to Kill For Can't Stand Up to 2005's Sin CIty

After watching Frank Miller’s follow up to 2005’s out of this world Sin City, an adaptation of one of Miller’s graphic novels, it became clear why it suffered in the box office.  Despite its all-star cast and breathtaking effects and imagery, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For didn’t deliver the kind of cohesive plot line that made its predecessor such a successful film.  With several storylines in play, some of which take place before the events of the first film and several which take place after, the timeline is not just hard to follow, it’s non-existent.  The film is really just a series of vignettes from the world of Sin City incorporating characters already established in the first film nearly ten years ago.  There are three core plotlines to follow with one unifying factor, the character of Marv played by Mickey Rourke.  The first is simple and clear cut.  Formally called “Just Another Saturday Night” the film starts with Marv awaking from unconsciousness surrounded by a car wreck and several dead frat boys.  He retraces his steps to figure out what happened and crosses paths with several of our other characters at Kadie’s Saloon, a central location which acts as a hub for several plot lines.  The meat of the movie comes in the form of its two central plotlines, “The Long Bad Night” parts one and two which sees new comer Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as a cocky gambler named Johnny who gets the better of evil crime lord Senator Roark, the father of the yellow villain dispatched by Detective Hartigan in the original film.  In between parts one and two of “The Long Bad Night” we get the title sequence “A Dame to Kill For” which sees the return of several characters including Gail, Miho and the other girls of Old Town as well as Dwight McCarthy.  Dwight’s character was one of the best in the original film and to get a little more back story was exciting.  However, Josh Brolin’s portrayal of the character couldn’t stand up to the phenomenal performance by Clive Owen who played him in the 2005 film.  We learn about his relationship with temptress Ava (played by Eva Green) and the results of said relationship which turn out to be less than favorable for Dwight and Marv who he drags in to the scenario for help.  The film closes with a seemingly random storyline which takes place years after the events of the first film and finds Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callahan plagued with guilt over the suicide of her beloved Detective Hartigan as a result of the violence of the Roark family.  This whole story seemed forced and more of an excuse to give Bruce Willis a strange cameo as the ghost of Hartigan who helps Nancy inadvertently in her quest for vengeance.  Did you follow all that?  For the die-hard Frank Miller fan, the film probably makes more sense.  But to the average movie goer, it is a jumbled mix of short stories loosely intertwined and masquerading as a cohesive story which it is not.  That being said, I definitely believe the film is worth checking out.  The visuals are as stunning as the first film and the acting is top notch. 

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