Movie Reviews

'Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for': Nine years too late

By Wang DexianMovies - 29 August 2014 11:53 AM | Updated 31 August 2014

'Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for': Nine years too late

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

Before the comic-book movie boom of 2008, 'Sin City' was already out there in 2005, offering viewers a cutting edge experience. Striking visuals and gritty storytelling made the movie stand out from the pack in a bold way.

Now, nine years later, the sequel is finally here.

Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are back for the second movie, with much of the original cast reprising their roles, including Jessica Alba as stripper Nancy, Bruce Willis as Detective John Hartigan, Rosario Dawson as Gail, leader of the Old Town prostitutes, as well as Mickey Rourke and Jaime King.

Josh Brolin replaces Clive Owen in the role of Dwight, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins as Johnny, a brand new character who is a high-stakes gambler.


So, how does the sequel fare? Firstly, the good points. If you liked the aesthetic of the original, you would be happy to know that nothing has really changed on that front.

It's just the same as you remember it: black, white, sleek and full of noir-style goodness to fit the noir material perfectly.

While both movies are essentially collections of short stories, the sequel is much more focused on the story of 'A Dame to Kill for'. In it, Dwight encounters his conniving ex-lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green).

Here, something weird becomes instantly noticeable. This story seems to take place before Dwight's story in the original 'Sin City' movie, but for every other plot-line in the sequel, they take place after the events of the original. So, yes, there is a strange disconnect.


The other thing that does not stack up is the length of the storytelling.

The very nature of Frank Miller's writing means that his stories need to be wrapped up rather quickly. This is pure, straight-up, film noir, armed to the teeth with stories that are filled with power, corruption, vengeance and femme fatales. There is not a lot of character exploration to be done here, so the amount of time that 'A Dame to Kill for' takes up is kind of exhausting. The stern, cold “Batman voice” style narration does not really help in spicing up this familiar affair either.

Eva Green stars as femme fatale Ava Lord, a conniving ex-lover of Dwight 

Performance-wise, Green stands out for her portrayal of Ava Lord, even throwing in gravelly purrs to convey her exaggerated deviousness, which steals the show in every scene where she appears.

Rourke's portrayal of the bumbling and irreverent Marv is delightful. He may be the only character with any sense of humour in the whole piece, yet he always retains his sense of threat as a bloodthirsty killing machine. Gordon-Levitt's Johnny gets to show off some cool card tricks, but the arc of his character seems a little pointless, serving to embellish the cruelty of Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) which is already known to fans.

 Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins the cast as a new addition

Alba, never the strongest actress, anchors the last story, a continuation of one in the first. She is grieving over the death of Willis' Detective Hartigan, and seeks revenge on Roark. While that may seem the organic way to go, it also feels like the filmmakers have needlessly re-opened a story they wrapped up so nicely in the first movie.

There are a couple of cool performances and lots of violence on show, but much of it feels pointless, like a laboured affair that slowly limps towards the finish line. While the original flick was a breath of fresh air with its slick visuals and harsh storytelling, nine years on, the air of surprise is gone, and things feel a bit old and exhausting.

‘Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for' is now showing in cinemas

Movie Photos

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For