The long awaited Sin City sequel A Dame to Kill For is a pretty satisfying follow up to the original and Robert Rodriguez rocks it without a doubt. Frank Miller’s dark graphic novel never looked so good. In terms of appearance that much is very true. The 3D aspect makes it feel as though the film is being viewed from within.
Whether it was due to the success to the first film or not, quite a number of big names are in this sequel. Sadly, both Brittany Murphy and Michael Duncan Clarke died between the two films. Murphy’s character doesn’t appear and actor Dennis Haysbert played Manute.
Joseph Gordon Levitt was a new addition to the cast as Rourke’s illegitimate son, Ray Liotta played Joey, the blackmailed lover at the beginning of the film and Eva Green played the deadly and psychotic Ava. Rosario Dawson reprised her role as the Old Town lover, and dominatrix, of Dwight, played originally by Clive Owen but brought to life by Josh Brolin this time around.
If one is bothered enough to look it up, IMDb has quite a lot of information on who was cast, replaced and considered for this sequel to the 2005 film. Like the previous film, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, and both men “rock it,” with their collective effort.
Devon Aoki was not able to reprise her role as the deadly ninja Miho because of her pregnancy so Jamie Chung had to step in. Another new face in the film was Christopher Lloyd as Kroenig, the doctor who fixes Johnny’s broken fingers and extract’s a bullet from his leg for $40 and his shoes. Michael Marsden as Bob was also replaced in the sequel by Jeremy Piven, no explanation has been forthcoming for this casting change.
Leaving casting aside for a moment, the film’s time periods seem to jump back and forth and it appears that the main reason for this is that three of the four stories presented in the movie are prequels. Powers Boothe as Senator Rourke continues to amaze and repulse as the ultimate picture of a corrupt politician. Josh Brolin is convincing as the “mad” Dwight.
Stacy Keach has a cameo as the grotesque Wallenquist whom Ava tries to talk into taking back Old Town. A great touch by the FX folks in the film was to provide Wallenquist with the same scar that Keach has on his own real lip. Greg Nicotero heads up the team of creators for the film’s special effects so this level of genius is no real surprise.
Mad props need to be given to Dennis Haysbert who had the very difficult job of filling in for the late Michael Duncan Clarke. Haysbert did a brilliant job and apart from his replicating the quiet menace that Clarke brought to the character, he also helped the filmmakers to explain where that golden orb in his eye socket came from.
Eva Green as the black widow-ish ex-hooker with a heart of stone was as terrifying as she was beautiful and daring. This 34 year-old actress bared all for most of her scenes in the film and Rodriguez made sure that Green looked stunning in each shot. It should also be mentioned that Josh Brolin also spent a fair amount of time in his “birthday suit” with Ava. To give the 46 year-old actor his dues, there aren’t many men who would willing be shot out of a window naked as the day they were born.
It must also be mentioned that Lady Gaga had a great little cameo with Joseph Gordon Levitt as the waitress who gives him a dollar. The performer has been doing a bit of this and that for the camera and its nice to see that she can do much more than enthrall audiences on stage.
Bruce Willis reprised his role as the dead Hartigan who kept his promise to never leave “little” Nancy, although she is not aware that his shade is her constant companion. Although the film could have used more Bruce, his smaller screen time did not hurt the movie and was logical for that portion of the story.
Hartigan cannot be mentioned without talking about Jessica Alba who reprises her role as Nancy. This actress gives her portrayal a sort of desperate toughness. She manages to keep the vulnerability present in the first film and she is fascinating to watch as she turns her naivety into deadly purpose. She is another woman that Marvin has a soft spot for and it is his character who offers to help her take revenge for Hartigan.
Mickey Rourke as Marvin, and what a pleasure it was to see that cromagnon warrior back again, made the film. The teaming of Brolin and Rourke was almost serendipitous as the two were able to play so well off each other that another pairing of these alpha males is something to be devoutly wished for. Perhaps in a Sin City 3?
Until that time, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a satisfying return to Frank Miller’s dark verse. Robert Rodriguez and Miller do their double act director’s job very well and the film rocks it in terms of imagery and unforgettable characters. The film opens today August 22 in theatres countrywide. Prepare to be deliciously entertained by these dark and dangerously flawed inhabitants of “Sin City.”
By Michael Smith
AMC Promenade Theatre 10