Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Cast: Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis
Running Time: 1hr 42mins
Plot: Serialised follow up to the 2005 graphic novel adaptation Sin City. Ava (Eva Green) is a dame to kill for, a queen among women and a goddess to men; through flattery, violence and manipulation she wreaks city wide havoc. Meanwhile, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jessica Alba take on a nasty senator (Powers Boothe). Decapitations follow.
What’s black and white and red all over? That’s right, the script of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For after ‘Shooters and Cutters’ Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller had a simultaneous brain aneurysm while adapting Miller’s comic, despoiling the pages with the rivers of blood which came pouring from their cranial orifices. Round two inside the debauched, dank metropolis of Basin City sees a rag-tag bag of low life scum furrow through the night on missions of lust (Josh Brolin’s gumshoe voyeur), vengeance (Jessica Alba’s stripper), greed (Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s yuppy gambler), violent hedonism (Mickey Rourke’s Fuckinstein) or power (Eva Green’s murder-worthy damsel).
A Dame to Kill For is a cesspool of gimmick-led, misguided, not-quite-noirsh nonsense. Hints to the previous story, including the Sixth Sense-y spectre of Bruce Wills, are not enough to atone for the sheer butchery that has gone on here. Now, this is no fault of Rodriguez’ own, but our cinema played the first twenty minutes of the 3D screening in wacky double vision (some people still aren’t sold on three dimensions, but six really does suck), and once they’d sorted it out, restarting the comic book flick from Mickey Rourke’s gravelly opening monologue, there was a nagging feeling that they should have just left it off instead of turning it back on again. Granted it did provide a window to go to the toilet, grab a beer – essential in a film like this, if only for gripping the bottle in anguish when characters have their genitals mutilated -and get seated again before we’d caught up with where we’d left off. Not that you’d be missing anything if you weren’t back in time.
‘Don’t let the monster out. Never lose control!’ Josh Brolin’s unflaggingly torturous commentary during his act of the story begins to sound like cathartic self-assurance from Miller and Rodriguez, allowing them to justify the slaughtering of women on screen or depicting them as soulless, hyper-sexualised objects, all provided that they acknowledge afterwards that these are negative things. Even characters like the speciously omniscient Ava (Green) or the endearing Nancy (Alba), reputedly the most powerful denizens of Basin City, owe all their successes /failures to the whims of a few men, and the same can be said of the pimpless Old Town prostitutes, led by Rosario Dawson, who for all their strength prove no more than quivering waifs when Josh Brolin’s down and out sleuth raises an eyebrow.
As for the pseudo-philosophical mulit-multi-speaker narration, it’s a veritable audio book with pictures, the exposition-soaked discourse totally eradicating the need for cognitive function. Robert Rodriguez should take a leaf out of Tarantino’s notebook and stop making sequels; hell, at least Machete Kills was kind of almost funny!