Film Review: “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”

SinCity2PosterThis sequel has girth. The filmmakers got the magnificent unclothed Eva Green as cinema’s deadliest femme fatale but Jessica Alba gets star billing?

The sequel to co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s 2005 SIN CITY does not pander to a wider audience. If you loved SIN CITY, this is a great sequel – it has the volatile Eva Green.

The credits gives star billing to Jessica Alba as Nancy Callahan, a bitter fully clothed bar stage dancer in seedy, sin-filled Old Town. Nancy is chained –metaphorically – to deliciously evil Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Returning killer-without-a-purpose Marv (Mickey Rourke) and lovesick photographer Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) are once again perfect as noir hard-edged characters.

Rourke should permanently keep this character’s persona. Why do actors have to act in their real faces anyhow? Rourke’s Marv has only one fault – he gets bored easily when he has no one to kill.

But its two new characters that mesmerize and give the sequel girth. Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a defiant damn lucky poker player who tangles with Senator Roark and pays the price of beating him a few times. It’s raw and Roark could hold the title of Old Town’s Satan, if it was not for the arrival of Ava (Eva Green). My personal girl-crush.

Eva Green is fantastic in TV’s “Penny Dreadful”. And Josh Hartnett as gunslinger Ethan Chandler had a sex scene with Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) in Season 1!

Ava Lord (Green) broke Dwight’s heart a few years ago and she needs him again. Ava is a seductress using her often naked body to bring Dwight to his noir angry knees. There’s a very rich husband and a lethal bodyguard, Manute (Dennis Haysbert) that Dwight must go through to win back Ava.  Green doesn’t need any actor to play opposite – she commands attention. She’s magic and the directors are enthralled with her. They can’t get enough of Green and she willingly indulges them. She’s Dwight’s fantasy and theirs.

Poor Alba gets lost bad-dancing in a cowboy getup. (But Alba did get Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Must List bikini cover.)

The kind of brutal beatings and even more brutal love that pulp noir glorifies is brilliantly delivered here without toning it down for the mainstream market. A DAME TO DIE FOR raises the bar. The cinematography by Rodriguez and entire production is first-rate and completely engaging.

And then there is Bruce Willis who returns as Nancy’s bodyguard John Hartigan’s ghost.

The Hollywood Reporter (02.14.14) had an article on the new Hollywood practice of “boarding” titled, “Buy Bruce Willis for $1 Million a Day.” THR’s article called Willis “the poster boy” for paycheck-driven boarding, writing “…he was boarded in for 2012’s THE EXPENDABLES 2 (as was co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger) and 2013’s G.I. JOE: RELALIATION.” THR continued: “But when EXPENDABLES filmmakers offered Willis $3 million to be boarded in for four days on the third movie, he balked, demanding $4 million, and was replaced by Harrison Ford.  THE EXPENDABLES Sylvester Stallone tweeted: “Willis out, Harrison Ford in! Great news! Been waiting years for this! Greedy and lazy. A sure formula for career failure.”

I’m seeing “boarding” everywhere now.

Film Critic for FilmsInReview.com, LasVegasInformer.com, and FilmFestivalToday.com

Member of Broadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org/
Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at masauu@aol.com.

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