Overview: In a city overrun with crime, various people commit more crimes. Dimension Films; 2014; Rated R; 102 Minutes
It Goes Like This: After walking out of the theater, it occurred to me that I could turn in my review for the original Sin City and it wouldn’t make a difference. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the song remains the same, and it’s more or less a ten-year-old boy banging his fists incoherently on piano keys to rid himself of a vague, juvenile fury. Filmmakers with discernible talent might have taken this premise as an opportunity to tell a story about moral ambiguity and the effect that violence has on our society. Instead, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have created a world of good guys and bad guys, white hats and black hats. “Nothing wrong with killing bad guys,” growls Marv (Mickey Rourke) early on in the film, and there’s not a hint of irony to it. Marv is a good guy, and we know it because he kills bad guys. Ava (Eva Green) is a bad guy, and we know it because she tricks and hurts good guys. This film has all the moral complexity of a cheap, modern fairy tale, and the way it presents itself as just the opposite is insulting.
Quick and Cheap: This film is almost exactly the same film as its predecessor, so almost nothing about it is shocking. The one area that did manage to surprise is the visual effects, because they are somehow worse than they were nine years ago in the first film. It’s unbelievable that a major studio release in 2014 could be so full of terrible greenscreen. It’s likely that this film was made on the cheap side, considering how long it’s been since the original came out, but the laziness of the effects is inexcusable, especially since they use it for so much. If you’re going to have Jessica Alba walk through a set of CGI doors instead of just building real doors, then you’d better make sure that those doors look photo-real.
The Never-Ending Story: The quasi-anthology structure does this film no favors. By the time the titular central story was over, I was completely worn out. Films condition you to understand when a story is coming to an end, but by the time “A Dame to Kill For” was wrapping up, there were still two stories left to finish. This film is twenty minutes shorter than its predecessor but it feels just as long, if not longer. It’s completely devoid of anything interesting, thematically or cinematically, and it can’t muster even an ounce of entertainment value.
Wrap-Up: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is exactly as boring, childish, and idiotic as its predecessor.