Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is a prequel and sequel, and can not be watched on its own, I would argue. It has probably been a few years since last I saw Sin City, so even I got my timeline mixed up. The main thing is, a lot of our characters are back, and the main baddie is still Senator Roake. The new Dame to kill for referenced in the title is played by Eva Green. She is an archetype femme fatal, who likes to screw with people both for power, and just for fun. Another new storyline is the one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a poker player trying to go up against Roake.
Alba and Willis team up (sort of) again as Nancy and Hartigan, though they both look like they regret their decision. Mickey Rouke is still a badass Marv, and he gets the job done again, action wise. Gordon-Levitt is his own suave self, but placed beside the iron-fisted Roake, he unfortunately looks a tad laughable. The ending flashes by in an instant, and we’ve forgotten about it by the start of the next person’s narration.
This is Sin City, and it only has one look. Rodriguez and Miller know what they like to look at, and if you do to, it’s hard to be disappointed. But the style does get old, eventually. Sin City had that blast of novelty to it, but with a sequel the novelty is bound to drop. A Dame to Kill For offers nothing in terms of development of the genre.
The only person who really looks like she wants to be here is Eva Green. Her Dame is one hell of a character, and she nails it, basically. She might be chewing the scenery, but with scenery like this, it’s expected. The second she was off the screen, I was bored. Even seeing Marv finally battle Manute didn’t satisfy me as much as I had hoped.
The main problem, as I see it, is the lack of a new Hartigan character. The two films are so alike in style and structure, so why does one feel awesome and the other soulless? It’s not just a matter of original versus copy. Sin City had many horrible people in it, but at its core we had Bruce Willis as a determined, honest cop. Sure, he was no angel, but we were rooting for him. With the sequel, who are we really hoping is going to win? Gordon-Levitt’s character is so brief I don’t even remember his name. Marv is- well, Marv. You want him on your side, but he’s not “your” side. The same goes for Dwight, who is difficult to sympathize with again due to switching actors. Sin City might be about the flashy style and over the top action 99.9% of the time, but at least it had one guy with a crusade as honest as you can get in that place.
Prequel, or sequel, A Dame to Kill For feels mostly unnecessary. If you love the style, the cheesy narration, and film noir fetishization (and I admit I do) then you probably won’t hate this movie. To put it like a citizen of Sin City: Eva Green might not only be the Dame to Kill For, but also the Dame to see this movie for.
Dice roll: 3