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It has always been the Prime Rule of this site that you the reader should not have to know the Source Material behind a big screen release to "understand" what the heck is going on. To save you the time, we found the original Sin City to be all style over substance and a terrible sit. It wasn't because we didn't care for Frank Miller's work in the seven graphic novel comprising the canon-- we have been a fan of Miller's abilities all the way back to the time when he salvaged Marvel's Daredevil comic from the jaws of permanent pulping; revitalized DC's Batman (which will apparently have a great effect on the forthcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) . Miller guided us into the manga tinged Ronin and stumbled only with his adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit and the aforementioned Sin City. That written, solely to be disposed of, we can honestly report that Miller has learned from his mistakes while creating Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, again with the aid of director Robert Rodriguez.
So . . . pasty, half-paralyzed fingers dance over the broken keyboard of an old XP laptop. The buzz of half a dozen legally acquired painkiller tablets blocking all sound from reaching this critic's ears; not the television spitting out intern newscasters pronouncing "beatify" as if it meant "beautiful," though when it comes to the scandal rocked Church, who know?; not the chop chop chop of the small fan circulating air over bottles of frozen water. A cheap substitute for air conditioning since film reviewing pays little more than squat. And so we are prepared to write the review of Frank Miller's Sin City A Dame to Kill For.
If ever there was a movie for which we sat, loving the potential and dreading the outcome (based on our reaction to the first film, which we worked hard to put that out of our mind), it was Frank Miller's Sin City A Dame to Kill For.. A middle aged reviewer entered the screening room. A mentally mind-boggled fourteen year old (sic) fanboy staggered out. For the second time this summer we have viewed a perfect film/ comics combination, even as this film is more original story based on adapted characters than a flat out adaptation of something that had pretty much seen print thirty years earlier. Frank Miller's Sin City A Dame to Kill For uses animation to take some of the bite out of what would be stomach turning live action violence, though there is a wee bit of that left in the film to make the loudmouth bloggers on the Internet happy. To save you all the time of actually having to read, though, we'll get to the summary:
IN SHORT: Smokin'!. [Rated .102 minutes]
As he knows what you like, Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For again opens with gun toting good guy Marv (Mickey Rourke) mowing down hordes of gun toting bad guys -- just another Saturday night in Basin City -- all the while trying to remember exactly why he's doing said mowing.. Ammo spent and bodies piled up neatly in the street, Marv settles in at Kadie's Club Pecos, the local bar in the "good" part of town. The meaning of the word "good" is up for debate. "Old Town" is run by gangs of gun toting prostitutes so mean that not even the local cops will venture near that part of town. "New Town" is run out of a back room at Kadie's, where Senator Roark (Powers Booth) commands a high stakes poker game during which you had better be prepared to lose your stake to some underhanded card sharp-ery, or else. As Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame To Kill begins, a lucky young'un riding a real lucky streak at the slot machines has talked his way into the back room game. His name is Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The dame on his arm is Marcie (Julia Garner) and while "frails" aren't allowed in the back room, the Senator makes the rules and he is more than happy enough to allows the exception to his rule. It's the old "give 'em enough rope, gambit and young Johnny is a cocky card sharp. The Senator doesn't particularly like cocky card sharps. He likes losing to said sharps, even less.
Don't go looking for that story, called "A Long, Bad Night," in your library of graphic novels. It is a new story written by Frank Miller (just for you lucky dogs out there). Nor will you find "Nancy's Last Dance," a sequel to the first film's "That Yellow Bastard," sequence which continues the story of exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) after the death of her "personal savior," John Hartigan (Bruce Willis). We digress because we know long term readers are already screaming at their computers, desperate for clues as to where to crack open the new Big Damn Sin City compendium, complete with its yet to be sampled new book smell . . .
Again, with no reference to the first film, we meet Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) and his long-lensed camera, shooting blackmail photos of a businessman (Ray Liotta) and one of the working girls of Old Town (Juno Temple). While this particular worker-pros has no effect on Dwight, the Queen Pimp -- referred to many times as a "goddess" -- Ava Lord (Eva Green) demonstrates her power over men of all moral failings, or lack thereof. She is a damsel in distress to Dwight, held captive by an uber-rich husband who always gets what he wants; held in captive protection by a stone cold block of muscular steel-like flesh clad bodyguard named Manute (Dennis Haysbert) Manute is a man more than capable of deconstructing the handy team-up of Dwight and Marv who, for reasons we won't spill, are out to take the Lord of Sin City down. At Manute's side, so to speak, are the legions of Sin City police. Or at least one detective (Christopher Meloni) who also falls under the spell of Ava Lord. That's more than I should tell you though most of the would be tough guys mentioned so far eventually find themselves nostril deep in the mire of Old Town, still run by the prostitute Gail (Rosario Dawson) and her enforcer twins Wendy and Goldie (Jamie King), all armed to the teeth -- as is the sword wielding killer Miho (Jamie Chung). New to this corner of the world is a drug addled doctor Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd) who will work some medical magic best left not described. It should have you squirming in your seats
Johnny. Nancy. Ava. Three stories of Sin City that weave in and out of the first movie, long forgotten by this critic. That I didn't have to go back to the original to figure things out requires major props to Miller the Writer. The wee bits of gratuitous nudity make the film a "must sneak in" target for all the thirteen year old boys in the real world. And one wee bit of continuity change/ explanation isn't going to come from this page either. It'll ruin the end of the film, which we found to be a surprisingly terrific sit.
Especially for our fourteen year old "inner child"
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, he would have paid . . .
Readers who do fall into the "I'm fourteen and I'm gonna get in to see this movie 'cuz Eva Green gets all sorts of naked and Frank Miller does all that neat animated blood splatter and body parts slashing carnage" should get and add a pair of dollars to the rating. You will be the happiest campers in the theater audience.
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