Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

As far as I can tell, it's absolutely no use trying to figure out where this movie fits in with the first movie. I almost gave myself a headache trying to work it all out. But some people who were dead at the end of the first Sin City are alive here and some who were dead are still dead, even if they're not quite gone. Marv (Mickey Rourke, Immortals) certainly doesn't seem dead or ghostly, though he is stuck being everyone's go-to guy when they want revenge and don't have the muscle to manage it by themselves. He doesn't seem to mind, though, seeing as he likes beating up on the bad people.

And there are plenty of bad people to go around, believe me. Powers Boothe (Avengers) is back as the evil Senator Roark, for instance, and Nancy (Jessica Alba, Machete) wants him dead, while the slightly mysterious Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper) wants to at least take him down a notch or two. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I wasn't thrilled with his storyline, sadly.

Also, Dwight is no longer Clive Owen, and nothing against Josh Brolin (Men in Black 3) who played the part this time through, but he never quite seemed to click in the role... though that might also have been due to the fact that his storyline wasn't so much a storyline as an excuse for Eva Green (300: Rise of an Empire) to be naked a lot and for Dwight and Marv to get in a lot of fights, mainly against Dennis Haysbert (Kung-Fu Panda), who replaced the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute. I think Manute has also switched jobs or something, though honestly I'm not entirely sure what his profession was in either movie. It's probably better not to think about that sort of detail, either.

Rosario Dawson (Unstoppable) is still Gail, however, and Bruce Willis (Red 2) is still Hartigan, sort of. New this go-round are Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel) as a police lieutenant named Mort and Christopher Lloyd (Piranha 3-D) as a back-street doctor who self-medicates a lot. Now he's terrifying. Mort is just in way over his head, as so many people seem to be in Sin City. I really don't know why anyone still lives there.

The whole movie is very nearly as bloody as the first -- though again, most of the blood ends up as white on black so it doesn't generally make you feel queasy, at least -- but it doesn't quite manage the same weird charm, for lack of a better word. I was both appalled and fascinated by the first film, but I never reached the same level of either here, and in the end it just seemed like it was missing something. Dwight didn't seem the same, in more ways than one, Johnny's plot never seems to really get started before it's suddenly over, and even Marv wasn't quite right. I think maybe he seemed too normal... again, for lack of a better word. "Normal" is purely relative in a place like that.

Anyway, I can't really go any higher than three and a quarter out of five, though I was really hoping for more. And if the box office is any indication, I'm not alone in that opinion. They say that if you walk down the right alley in Sin City you can find anything, so maybe if they try this again they can also stumble across some better storylines.

A nice picture of Joseph Gordon-Levitt to help make up for his lack of plot.


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