Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Jay walking is rampant in Sin City.




Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For – 3 out of 5


I love Frank Miller’s Sin City and the film adaption that came out in 2005 was awesome.  It felt like Miller’s pages came to life and is one of the few times that Robert Rodriguez was involved in a film and I didn’t feel like my insides dying from his inability to make a decent film (Yes, I don’t think the man is a good filmmaker, let it go!).  I never thought I would see a day when some of the other stories from Basin City were adapted into a film but I was pleased to see we were getting a sequel with Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For.  Sadly, it wasn’t as epic as the first…
Marv looks sad that I wasn't as big of a fan of this one as I was for the first.

Powers Boothe is a great actor...because he can scare
the shit out of me sometimes.
Like the first film, A Dame to Kill For is telling more stories from this hard and sinful city.  Some of it is taking place before the first film and some of it is happening after.  One story sees Marv (Mickey Rouke) taking out some murderous college kids.  Another is about an arrogant gambler named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who comes to Basin City to take the money (and make a surprising reveal) to the corrupt Senator Roark (Powers Boothe).  Dwight McCarthy is back (but this is pre-reconstructive surgery and he’s no longer played by Clive Owen but Josh Brolin instead) and is forced into the tumultuous hold of an ex-lover named Ava (Eva Green).  Finally, we see a tale of revenge as Nancy (Jessica Alba), unable to overcome the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis), decides it’s time to take out Senator Roark once and for all.
Sure he looks in pain but you take away the blood and it looks like he's overcome with
soul and the music!
I was pumped for this follow up.  I love the comics, I love the first film, and this trailer was just awesome!  So awesome that I love it!

However, after sitting through it, I was a little disappointed.  The movie isn’t bad but it felt completely empty and didn’t leave the impression on me the first one did. 
Hey look, it's Frank Miller with Marv...that's how he looks smiling, by the way.
The film is still highly stylized and really captures the spirit and soul of the pages but the film just felt like a Direct-to-DVD sequel that had no real substance to it.  The stories are still good, the acting is still good (for the most part), but its shortcomings make me wonder if it was necessary to even make this film.
Nice crossover event here.  We have Stacy Keach playing Pizza the Hut

"And one day...I shall be Clive Owen..."
One of the things I didn’t enjoy about A Dame to Kill For was the fact that several roles were re-cast with new actors.  While this is understandable at points—like having Josh Brolin play Dwight before he ended up looking like Clive Owen or having Dennis Haysbert replace the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute—but there are times where this hurt the film—like replacing Devon Aoki with Jamie Chung as Miho or having Jeremy Piven replace Michael Madsen as Bob (really?  Piven?).  I understand that sometimes having to bring a new actor in is a necessary evil in the world of sequels because sometimes an actor dies, an actor hates the project and won’t come back, an actor wants more money, or demands from the producers or audiences require a newer, better actor to take over.  However, these replacements kinda made the film feel cheap and like a dash to get quick cash and look like something that never hit the theaters and was instantly shipped to your Walmart discount bin.  Additionally, as much as I like Dennis Haysbert (best television President we’ve ever had, in my opinion), I don’t feel he came close to Duncan’s portrayal of Manute.  Duncan (rest in peace) was a badass and when Haysbert steps in all I want to do is buy insurance.
"If you shoot me, you'll never learn how you can save money with Allstate."

"Great Scott...I'm in this movie?"
For the most part, the acting is fairly decent in the film—it’s hard not to be when you have Rouke once again being a fan favorite as Marv and you have great actors like Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Christopher Lloyd, and Christopher Meloni in the film but there are quite a few examples of some really crummy acting going on.  I already touched slightly upon Jeremy Piven in the film but the true low points come in with Jessica Alba and Eva Green.  Alba has never been known as a powerhouse performer but her scenes (especially lacking the overwhelming presence of Bruce Willis) come off pretty cringe-worthy.  This especially hurts because her story is the final one in the film and it ends the entire movie on a sour note and makes the film feel like a let down.

Let's be honest, there's a good portion of the viewers who aren't really that preoccupied
with Alba's acting...
I’m not really a fan of Eva Green.  In the other comic book property she was in, she came off hammy and was too cheesy to take seriously.  She is toned down slightly in this film but it didn’t make her performance any better.  Scenes she shares with Brolin come off clumsy as she looks like a theater actor exaggerating her performance and Brolin looks like he is prepared to grit the shit out of the scene.  Any scene she is in is incredibly unbalanced.  But, judging by the fact Ava never wears clothes in the film I don’t think the filmmakers brought her in for a stellar acting performance.

I'm pretty sure Eva Green's eyes are computer generated...they look like cartoon eyes.
Yes, the great violence is still here and the film still looks good but it feels hollow and vacuous.  The first film was a visual feast and a brutal experience of fun and grit that stayed with you.  Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For is entertaining, amusing, and a decent film but it feels cheap and like a Direct-to-DVD sequel…so, basically, it feels like everything else Rodriguez has been releasing lately (only a little more entertaining).

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