Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Blu-ray Review
Did you see SIN CITY? The originality of seeing a real-life comic book on the screen, SIN CITY accomplished something I’d never seen… a comic book come to life on screen partnered with a true theatrical experience with all the heart and kinetic beauty of Robert Rodriguez at the top of his game. I was thus both excited and worried about SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014) given the deaths of several actors, the re-casting of some roles, between the first and second movie. SIN CITY redefined the possibilities of what a comic book movie could be without losing its roots by some truly innovative green screen work. But most of the reason it worked, in the end, was that despite the immense technical prowess you could feel the heart that was there.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR continues the story, confusingly, of several characters who died the first go-round, including Marv (Mickey Rourke) and Manute (Dennis Haysbert replacing the now deceased Michael Clarke Duncan). Marv was easily the best role and the best played part in SIN CITY but the entire movie didn’t revolve around him and it was stronger for it. He was the character who appeared and had some great lines, some better action scenes, and most importantly as a character for whom the audience could root. Bringing him back in this strange timeline seems off and is more than a little off-putting, bringing the audience – I assume the intended audience – out of the story at the worst of times.
Instead of necessary, Marv’s omnipresence in this second film could be seen as fan service but instead it feels like they needed him to be the big character again… and something about it just didn’t work this time. His face, all sinew and scar in the first movie, just appears puffy and aged this time around. And for some reason the fight sequences with Rourke that were such a joy in the first SIN CITY here feel labored and, worse, toned down.
Once again the three prominent characters are stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba), psychopathic face-changing Dwight (Josh Brolin, who took over the role from Clive Owen), and Marv. An additional story adapted from A Long Hard Night features Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the essentially the only fun role in the entirety of SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR but it all results in something a bit lackluster and more than a bit boring. Dwight’s story, revolving around the Dame to Kill For, is the centerpiece of the narrative but even though Brolin is a worthy addition to the cast he didn’t seem to be trusted with carrying it alone, so we get a lot of Marv crossover, Nancy crossover, and a lot of little subplots that don’t really feel like they work together.
I’ve labored over writing this and rewatched SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR several times. As someone who loved the first movie I struggled to figure out why this sequel/prequel/mishmash feels so vacuous. The original SIN CITY is a world of cold, hard beauty. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR looks to crank the volume to eleven at every turn and accomplishes only that it feels more like a caricature of the first film and of the wonderful Frank Miller pulp comics that spawned the whole thing. The empty, angry lines of dialogue are devoid of life, leaving this one dead on arrival.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1.85:1) Of course the video, being digital from the source, lost very little in the transfer to the SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR on Blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio track is equally beautiful.
The Movie in High Speed Green Screen – All Green Screen Version (16:28) This is SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR presented as it was originally shot, tremendously sped up, without any of the special effects added. It’s actually fairly interesting even if you didn’t care for the movie that much.
Character Profiles: The cast talk about the characters they played or got to play against – dissecting the characters and the work they did to create the roles. These are actually pretty interesting if you’re a fan of the original, a fan of SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, or even if you just love the
Eva Green is The Dame to Kill For (04:08); Jessica Alba is Nancy (03:52); Josh Brolin is Dwight (03:26); Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Johnny (02:12)
Makeup Effects of SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR with Greg Nicotero (06:40) The makeup effects in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR are almost as impressive as the special effects. Sad that they didn’t make for a better movie.
Stunts of SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR with Jeff Dashnaw (05:38) The cast and crew discuss working with their stunt coordinator on SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. It’s a bit jumpy with not a lot of information, a little disappointing.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR comes with a Blu-ray 3D, an UltraViolet Digital copy, a DVD copy of the film, and also features the SIN CITY (2005) Theatrical Trailer (02:10).