Sunday, August 31, 2014

REVIEW: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For 3D

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba


August 22, 2014

Robert Rodriguez,
Frank Miller

Dimension Films (TWC),
Troublemaker Studios

1 hour 42 minutes



About 10 years ago, a film called "Sin City" came along and entertained many people everywhere.  The film was based on a series of celebrated graphic novels by Frank Miller, and was brought to the screen by Miller himself, along with the likes of Robert Rodriguez and (special guest director) Quentin Tarantino.  It's almost interesting how long this movie has been in the works, considering how much of a delay there was to get this bad boy into production.  But alas, here we are, and now this movie is here, this time with most of the same cast and crew, but also with new additions, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green.  While I enjoyed the first "Sin City" for what it was, the style of a neo-noir film isn't really for me, as I've learned recently.  This new sequel, "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For," tries to be goofier and more over the top while trying to recapture the grittiness of the original.  Unfortunately, the movie suffers because of this.  While there were many things to enjoy about this movie, "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" fails to recapture the epic and all-around enjoyment factor that the first one greatly had.

Just like with the first "Sin City," this film has separate storylines all told throughout the duration of the film.  To get this out of the way, the best one was easily Joseph Gordon-Levitt's one.  The reason for this is because it's slick, gritty, and felt the most engaging and the most authentic in terms of being compared to the original movie.  Not to mention, the acting from Gordon-Levitt and Powers Boothe really elevated the tension and the grittiness of each scene they were in.  This was the type of story and structure that I expected the other few stories in the film to have.  Unfortunately, to say the least, they don't.

Before I get into the stories that heavily involve characters from the original movie, I'm going to talk about the story that involves the characters played by Josh Brolin and Eva Green.  On paper, the idea of a man troubled by his old girlfriend and his old girlfriend coming back into his life to wreck havoc sounds like it would have lots of potential.  In the case of what's going on here, nothing about these scenes felt tense or engaging in the slightest.  Eva Green gives possibly the single most over-the-top performance I've seen all year, and Josh Brolin didn't seem to engaged with the story in all honesty.  Not to mention, we have ANOTHER storyline involving Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven that is so dumb and predictable, I'm still debating whether or not their scenes were supposed to be comedic.  If that couldn't get bad enough, then we have the stories with Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba's characters.

As you might know, these guys were very big parts in the original "Sin City," so for them to come back is no particular surprise.  In looking up this movie, I saw that it was described as being both a sequel and a prequel to the original, sort of adding on and tying up loose knots from the original.  That's all fine and dandy, if they didn't create plot holes within themselves.  Characters that died in the first one are spontaneously alive now, and are somehow moving along in the storyline.  There are other characters featured in scenes that imply it to be taking place before the original film, but there are also these scenes where characters that died are interacting with other characters after their story lines have ended in the original.

Not only is that confusing, but it's just seemed like an excuse to have old actors come back for the sake of having them come back.  Not to mention, these stories weren't even that strong in the first place.  They just kind of felt a little goofy and just, well, there.  Some might find enjoyment in these stories, but for me, I preferred just having these characters in the first one.  Had they gotten an entirely new cast, with the exception of maybe a few surprise cameos, then maybe the film could have succeeded far more than it did here.

Being the man who directed "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Spy Kids" and "Desperado," I must say that Robert Rodriguez really has lost his touch based on his most recent movies.  I feel like he is trying so hard to be innovative and keep up with the times in terms of technology and special effects that he's losing the essence that makes a good movie: a well-thought out story.  Part of the blame can also go to Frank Miller, who actually wrote the screenplay based on his novels.  Both of these men seem to be focusing too much in the special effects and the 3D (which by the way isn't particularly that great) that they forgot how to tell a good story and get the best performances out of their actors.  Not to mention, it feels like Rodriguez and Miller are trying to make this as ridiculous and over-the-top as possible, when in the end that's not necessary in the slightest.  Word of advice to these guys: when trying to make a gritty neo-noir comic book movie, try to make it more like "Watchmen" and less like a sequel to "Machete."  This might be just personal taste, but that's how I felt about the structure and direction that these two made here.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" had potentially a lot going for it.  Unfortunately, it doesn't give that many things that are considered "good" in return.  Despite the visuals looking as great as they did in 2005, and the story arc with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character being riveting and engaging, the film suffers from being too cheesy, relying too much on special effects, and having a couple plot holes that really drive the movie into its own whirl pool of confusion and absurdity.  There was honestly honestly potential for this to have been a good, if not, great sequel to "Sin City."  Unfortunately, that wasn't delivered here, and instead we got a movie that's half good, and half mediocre.

So in the end, "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" is not the worst movie of the summer.  It's really just an average movie that's kind of stuck in between the really good films and the really bad films.   Considering though a lot of the other movies we've gotten, including the comic book films "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and most recently "Guardians of the Galaxy," this could have and should have been a lot better in quality.  This movie didn't make enough money opening weekend to warrant the idea of a "Sin City 3" to be considered.  Frankly, though, I don't even think I want another chance to go into this world again after seeing this movie.




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