Plot: What’s it about?
It’s been a while since I sat down and watched Sin City. I remember seeing it for the fist time and being blown away. There really hadn’t been too many films that were this visually aggressive and it certainly set the standard for this type of film. A modern film-noir if there ever was one, the film was taken on by the author of the original graphic novel (by the same name) as well as director Robert Rodriguez, best-known for the Spy Kids films as well as From Dusk ‘Til Dawn (and frequent collaborator with Quentin Tarantino). The film was critically-praised and featured the talents of Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis and Jessica Alba, all of whom have parts, albeit smaller, in this sequel. Having read the graphic novel quite some time ago, I was familiar with the source material and, as such, knew how the stories worked. That was nearly a decade ago and now we’ve got Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, it’s more of the same, but is it as inspired as the original?
Those looking for a linear plot might need to look to another film as this follows the same style and narrative that the original did. Instead of an overall, comprehensive plot-line, we’ve got the story broken up into vignettes. The one that gets the most screen time is the self-titled “A Dame to Kill For”. This tells the story of Dwight (Josh Brolin, Clive Owen in the original) after his facial reconstruction surgery. Getting himself caught up in trouble and his magnetic attraction to his ex-lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green in all her glory), this follows his exploits. “The Long Bad Night” follows the story of Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a gambler with the game, but not the common sense to “know when to fold ’em.” Johnny’s run in with the corrupt Senator (Powers Boothe) and his subsequent mis-adventures. Finally “Nancy’s Last Dance” tells the story of stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) after the events of the first film.
The spark that made Sin City so memorable is there, barely, in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. There’s no denying that both Miller and Rodriguez have a passion for this project and it was nice to see a sequel after nearly a decade. I will also that it was nice of Eva Green to essentially prance around the screen topless – for that I’m eternally grateful. I’ve actually been a fan of Green since 2006’s Casino Royale and she dazzled audiences earlier this year with her performance in 300: Rise of an Empire. Miller and Rodriguez were obviously able to recruit some top notch talent with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin and Dennis Haysbert among others. Fans of the original will have already seen this and though it’s not a bad film, it’s not one in which the sequel will surpass its predecessor. See it for the visuals.
Video: How’s it look?
Trying to classify the way this looks isn’t easy as it’s so unique and original, it’s nearly in a genre of its own. Like Sin City, this too features a stylized black and white (with spots of color) landscape shout entirely on a green screen (more on that later). The costumes are taken right out of the 30’s and 40’s film noir films which gives the film its look. Miller and Rodriguez have also given the unique look and feel somewhat of a cartoonish feel, but it’s also hyper-realistic if that makes sense. Those that have seen the original will certainly be familiar with the way this looks. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image is perfect. I’m not even going to try and classify it – it’s the epitome of what a Blu-ray should look like. Deep, dark blacks, elements of spot color (Eva Green’s green eyes), contrasted with the stark white of the outline of the town, etc. Detail showcases the texture of skin, blood has substance and depth. This is amazing.
Audio: How’s it sound?
To compliment the picture, there’s a very impressive DTS HD Master Audio mix that really never lets up. The overall score of the film is glum and seems to constantly churn away in the background. Vocals are rich and crisp. I think what impressed me the most is the use of the surround sound and directional effects. Bullets whiz by activating the surrounds, car tires screech, punches sound like bombs going off. It’s really an amazing-sounding track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
I’m sure there could have been a lot more included, but what we have here is worth the price of admission.
- High-Speed Green Screen Version – If you don’t feel the need to watch the film in all of its stylized glory, feel free to watch it like this – in high speed, with no vocals and no special effects. Of note, I can imagine that this is pretty challenging for an actor, so kudos to the cast for their performances.
- Character Profiles – A few of the characters are profiled: Eva Green as Ava Lord, Jessica Alba as Nancy, Josh Brolin as Dwight and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny.
- Makeup Effects of Sin City – Greg Nicotero, best-known for The Walking Dead and director Robert Rodriguez sit down to talk of the work that Nicotero did for the film.
- Stunts of Sin City – Stunt coordinator Jeff Dashnaw discusses some of the stunts in the film as well as his continued collaboration with Rodriguez.
- Original Theatrical Trailer – A trailer for Sin City, but none for this film. Odd.