Sin City 2 is a rerun
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) is a second-go at the violent noir genre that made the first one unique, but it is repetitive and not natural. The dialogue is still stilted, just like the first one, but now there’s more of it. Instead of having Bruce Willis carry this movie, A Dame to Kill For pretty much relies on Eva Green and Josh Brolin, with an aging Mickey Rourke thrown in for color, but none of them succeed as in the first. I don’t know what I was expecting, but there’s no way this sequel was going to achieve the style and impact of the first, which left me disappointed. And bitter too, because the movie lays the melodrama on thick, and doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen before. So they show a rerun and expect me to like it. NUH UH.
There’s so many people trying and giving it their all in this movie, that I’m not sure where the problems really lie. Maybe it is simply with the script, which telegraphs Eva Green’s two-faced deception like no other movie in history. In fact, the majority of the problems in this movie revolve around Eva Green and her character. Her dialogue and characterization is terrible in parts, though she seems to be trying to add some style to it, but it just sounds like she’s reading from a trashy novel.
Another problem is that Bruce Willis is completely absent from this movie, despite being part of the cast. In the first, he carried the whole movie with his great performance, which showed some good emotional development. In the sequel, his role is nonexistent. He doesn’t influence events, his dialogue is repetitive, and characters only reference him to give credence to their motivations.
Mickey Rourke as Marv is excellent in the first part of the movie, but then is relegated to the sidelines and becomes as ineffective as Willis. His character is not as strong as in the first and his motivations are much thinner. They don’t even attempt to deepen his character, and he remains the same guy throughout the movie, still obsessed with Nancy, still weirdly superhuman, and still strangely disconnected from reality.
Speaking of deepening the characters, we do learn more about Manute, played by Dennis Haysburt. For some reason, his involvement in the sequel mixes between being set before the first movie and after. I’m not sure of the timeline now, if there was one to begin with. At one point, Marv attacks Manute out of revenge for Nancy, and we can see that Manute still has both eyes. This implies that the sequel takes place at the same time AND after the original Sin City, which is confusing. Nevertheless, Haysburt does his best with what he’s given.
Unfortunately, the style used in the first movie feels repetitive here. The movie doesn’t linger long enough on anything to give any unique impressions because everything is redone. You’d think they’d want to stress some differences. There aren’t any. The movie has the same white/black contrast, blood splashing in white or red, and colors stick out for plot reasons, not just for style.
Characters develop fast and often for odd reasons. A cop falls in love with Eva Green at the drop of a hat, then kills his partner for talking bad about her, giving us perhaps the most shallow police officers in the history of film. Well maybe not, but I didn’t feel attached, emotional, shocked, or otherwise, about any of the cops, much less Eva Green. I’m not trying to make this movie sound like the biggest stinker of all time, because it isn’t. It is just imbalanced and feels unnatural, which is part of the problem with this type of stylistic noir.
Powers Boothe does a great job as Senator Roark, except for the end when becomes a monologuing supervillain. I also think Jessica Alba gives a better performance than in the first movie and this could be because her character is actually developed this time. The movie actually pokes fun at this, acknowledging that she wasn’t much more than a damsel-in-distress in the original, which is a clever touch. But Nancy goes off the deep end to show she isn’t a barbie-in-distress anymore, which painted her more as a wacko than a three-dimensional woman. Is that what they were going for?
Fortunately, the movie remains as fast-paced as the first, and shuffles between things quickly, which is both good and bad. In a real, emotional drama, you’d think some pause would be required to show the real angst of the characters, the real development behind the character. They don’t do that though, mostly because the style and the tone won’t allow it. All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this movie, because everything feels repetitive and redone from the first, even the violence, which worked on me as satire and dark comedy, as revenge-killers chopped up unsuspecting thugs like hamburger.