Sin City: A Dame To Kill For


Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller.
Screenplay: Frank Miller.
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Jamie King, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, Marton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis.

“No one’s ever really guessed what hell is. It’s watching the ones you love…in pain”

After a nine year gap, director Robert Rodriguez finally returns to the dark graphic novel’s of Frank Miller’s Sin City and it’s pugnacious inhabitants. Fans of the original (myself included) had been waiting with bated breath for more of the same but sadly this doesn’t deliver as well as it could and feels somewhat flat in comparison.


Predominantly set as a prequel to the 2005 film, this time we follow the path of Dwight (Josh Brolin) as he tries to help out his old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green) from the clutches of a powerful mogul. Meanwhile, cocksure card-sharp Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has an old score to settle with his father Senator Rourk (Powers Boothe) at the poker table as Nancy (Jessica Alba) swears revenge on the same man for the death of her protector, John Hartigan (Bruce Willis).


There is much to admire in terms of it’s stylistic approach and hard boiled, filthy noir but suffers the way many sequels do; it has no substance and lacks the originality of it’s predecessor, leaving you with a heavy feeling of having trodden these paths before. Despite some excellent set-pieces the vibrancy of the original is lost and the characters don’t gel as well as they did. The first film worked wonders by sticking to chapters where each one was meticulously threaded into the other but in this case, they cross over. There is no beginning middle or end and as a result, we end up with a muddled and incoherent narrative.


As much as the recasting choices are decent they’re certainly no better than the ones that went before and it’s hard to grasp just who’s who at times. Sans Clive Owen as Dwight McCarthy we are given Josh Brolin before the characters facial reconstruction and as much as I admire Brolin, Owen was a better fit. Dennis Haysbert tries to fill the massive boots of the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute. Again, it’s an admirable attempt but it’s not as effective and the least said about Jeremy Piven taking over Michael Madsen’s small role as Bob, the better. In fact, you would never be able to work out that it’s the same character if you hadn’t done your homework beforehand. On the up side, Mickey Rourke’s Marv is just as much of a brutish treat as he was in the first outing but he’s underused and Bruce Willis delivers nothing more than a cameo as the much trusted Hartigan. It’s actually Eva Green who really shines most as a true femme fatale but maybe that’s because she does more acting with her breasts than anything else, leading the film down a similar misogynist alleyway. Gordon Levitt’s story is apparently an original character and idea and wasn’t part of Miller’s stories but he’s quite effective playing against a cigar-chomping Powers Boothe on fine form once again. Overall, the performances are good enough but they’re given very little to work with and for all it’s style, it’s just not enough to see it past the post this time around.


Another example of how Rodriguez can be such a hit and miss filmmaker. Maybe if he concentrated less on producing, writing, cinematography, editing and music scores, he’d actually have enough left in the tank to concentrate on being a director. An admirable list of talents these may be but he so often bites off more than he can get his gums round and ruins what could have been a great experience. I’m saddened to say that I was left disappointed in this underdeveloped revisit to Basin City. Not so much hard-boiled as half-baked.


Mark Walker

Trivia: One of the lead roles was originally offered to Johnny Depp but he declined due to scheduling conflicts. Joseph Gordon-Levitt later replaced him and chose to star in the movie despite offers to star in other movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Godzilla (2014).

33 Responses to “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”

  1. Didnt know that about Madsen. He thought he was going to be in it but admitted they never called him. Strange one, I just assumed his character wasnt involved. Also Angelina Jolie was linked for ages, again she would of surely been a great fit. Not seen this yet, just feel they waited too long to bring it out.


  2. jackdeth72 Says:

    Hi, Mark:

    ‘A Dame To Kill For’ is about 7/10 of a decent, memorable film. Or a visit to a favorite pub or bar where some favorites are missing. The setting is the same, but the cast and meat of the story is wanting.

    Nice to see Stacy Keach, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chris Meloni drop in. Josh Brolin is no Clive Owens. In a film that could have stood some more strenuous negotiations and fealty to fans before moving forward.

    Close. But no cigar!


  3. Muckers!! Nice to hear from ya!!

    Boat Drinks!


  4. It doesn’t have nearly the same impact as the original does it? Watched it and was distinctly underwhelmed. Eva Green was typically barking though which was a plus point. Sterling work mate.


    • Didn’t have it all, man. I was really let down by it. I did enjoy moments here and there and I enjoyed ALL of Green. She came out best I think! Wastes opportunity overall, though. 😦


  5. Hello again Mark! I thought this was so boring and the once-stunning visuals seems just meh now and made worse by the cliched dialog. I miss Clive Owen who’s great in the original, Brolin is ok but not nearly as intriguing. I do like Eva Green though, she’s the best thing in this film.


    • Hello again, dear! Yeah I’d agree with everything you say here. I thought it surprisingly dull too and As much as I always enjoy Brolin, he just wasn’t a good fit for that character. Quite disappointing, to say the least. The magic has gone!


  6. Gotta disagree about Marv being underused, I felt the opposite, that this film relied far too heavily on his character, using him as a crutch throughout, and that he was forcefully overused as a result. Eva Green was certainly a standout, though. All in all, I wasn’t as disappointed as most with this movie, but then again, I didn’t expect much from it, either. Nice review, Mark, and interesting tidbit at the end there about JGL. Man, imagine if he had chosen one of those other flicks instead…


    • I can see where you’re coming from on Marv. He did pop up quite a bit but I just felt that his character was practically the same as the first. He had memory loss again and even though Rourke was a treat, his character had no substance. They didn’t even try to give him much of a story of his own. He was only there as the muscle.

      I wish I didn’t expect big things from this. It was quite poor for me.


  7. Great write-up Mark! Haven’t seen this yet, not entirely sure I want to either. Any idea who JGL was touted to play in Guardians? Not Peter Quill, surely?



  8. In all fairness to Rodriguez, I’ve heard that he turned over much of the directing duties to Frank Miller, which would explain a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, nice Mark. I skipped down to the bottom quickly to see what the score was, and I have to say 50/50 is pretty fair. I rated it more positively because there’s almost nothing Miller/Rodriguez could have done with this that would have let me down too greatly. I definitely prefer the original. It’s clearly superior, more original and I dare say less misogynistic. I’m no snob; Eva Green is a British bombshell but she needn’t have spent her entire time naked. Lol. Seemed a bit desperate. And I think people have fed off the idea that this film was just desperate. I felt it was an extension of more of the same.


    • Yeah, I reckon 50/50 is fair, Tom. Unfortunately, I’d set my expectations too high on this one. I just thought that they’d cracked it with the first one and could do no wrong but it didn’t really work for me again. I actually found it surprisingly dull.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent write up, keep hearing people say it doesn’t match the first, which is a real shame considering the talent involved.


  11. Good stuff bro. I wasn’t a big fan of the first film so this one hasn’t attracted me. I always did think it had a killer style but you pretty much reinforced what I’ve read from others.


    • Hey bro! Good to see you again. Yeah, a killer style it has for sure, but very little else. I loved the first one but this didn’t really do it for me. It’s been my biggest disappointment of the year so far.


  12. A shame to read this but it’s what I expected… one day I’ll check this out but I’m in no rush.


  13. It was visually impressive but that’s about it. Sex and violence without a point. The unending obliteration of human beings is like watching a chef at Benihana chop up various meats and vegetables for 102 minutes and then calling it a drama.


    • Haha! I would say that’s quite an accurate description, Mark. Visually superb (as expected) but another example of Rodriguez going over the top, like he so often does. Shame. I expected a lot more from it.


  14. Would have been interesting to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Godzilla or Guardians. As for this movie, like you, I was very disappointed by it and it made me wonder if I’d still like the original.


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