Jean-Paul’s Rating: 1/5 stars
Bottom Line: A mess of a movie. The only draw is the stylized violence and that isn’t even very good in most cases.
Wow, talk about your box office bomb of the summer. As of this writing, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has only grossed $12M. And with good reason too. The storyline is a complete mess. I remember liking the first “Sin City” movie, but watching this second incarnation, I was reminded at how little of the actual story stayed with me. We are introduced again to Senator Roark, who I do not remember from the first movie at all, who you may (or may not, like me) remember, is the father of that yellow-faced guy who was the main baddie from the first movie. The dude had a yellow face and when he was shown in a picture, I had only a vague recollection of him being in the first movie. All this leads me to the conclusion that the first movie was all style and very little substance. But still, at least the style was there. “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” contains a piddling amount of style and absolutely no substance.
As with the first movie, we have a few different story lines that somewhat converge on each other in that everyone tends to gather at the same stripper bar and cross paths there. There are three basic stories going on. One of them is incredibly boring and completely useless except to make the script an acceptable movie length. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a gambler with the best luck in the world, able to take a dollar and turn it into a suitcase full of cash in no time, who decides that he needs to take on Senator Roark in a gambling match and humiliate him by taking all his money. There’s a reason for it, but there is no build up to it or allusions to it until it’s spat out as a throw away line by Senator Roark which you could easily miss if you weren’t paying attention, which is likely because of how slow this story plods along.
Story number two is the only one that really holds any water (Ha! This is funny because of the inordinate amount of time spent on the femme fatale climbing naked in and out of bodies of water). The entire movie is supposed to have a noir-ish feel to it, but this story is really the only one that succeeds. It has the classic theme of a damsel in distress who turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It also features the best stylized violence, but only in bits and pieces. Mostly, it’s still just severed heads rolling of bodies in black and white cartoonish fashion.
Story three is kind of meh and suffers from the same problem as the gambler story in that you could easily miss the motivations behind what follows if you aren’t paying attention. In it, Marv (who I am guessing is creator Frank Miller’s id) helps Nancy exact revenge on Senator Roark for Hartigan’s death from the first movie. Again, some decent stylized violence in this one, but I got tired of rolling my eyes the amount of times that Marv walks slowly towards people with guns who seem to forget how to use them for the exact amount of time it takes Marv to come and bash their heads together.
When I see a movie that is this bad I like to think up a more apt name for the movie. My best so far is calling “There Will Be Blood” “There Will Be Boring”. This one, I think I will call “Snooze City: A Movie to Sleep Through”. It really is that bad. Luckily, with the anemic box office draw, we have likely seen the last of the “Sin City” movies.