Sin City, a place you go to run into trouble, a kingdom of breaking rules and embracing chaos, a place where the corrupt rule and the honorable fall. Such a world is inviting to so much mayhem, and entertained us so much years ago. My second review this weekend is on the second visual installment of Frank Miller’s popular series on unlawful antics. The first feature brought an interesting and fun presentation that made such a dark world both humorous and engaging at the same time. Can a second installment produce similar results, or does yet another movie fall to the sequel syndrome and tarnish the quality. Here are my thoughts.
Like always the black and white spread of Sin City is incredibly designed, with the slums having a comic book gloss to it. The design team did it again, recreating the world to maintain the novel splendor Miller created for us, without changing too much. Key elements and details are brought to our attention in color, with all colors of red shining forth on the screen to represent the animosity of the town. It’s vibrant and plain at the same time and helps you get into the spirit of a true crime film. Yet intermingled within the dark and sullen world is some more comical aspects in terms of the characters and blood. Many of the characers have a grotesque quality that paints them as a denizen of the city of evil, each quality perhaps representing the sin they most commit. Most of the looks are impressive, with the makeup and costumes sculpted into a look that is either unique, or stunning. Even when besmirched by artificial blood, the looks maintain their edge and continue to capture the essence of the character.
Let’s talk about the story of this movie next. The second installment starts with three unified tales each centered on one of our “heroes”. After a brief opening though, the tales diverge and the audience watches each tale unfold, mostly isolated from the other. Fans of the first series will know all the references and relationship ties in the group, but newcomers will get a brief review to help them catch up. The story still maintains it’s dark edge, with many of the optimistic qualities like hope, happiness, and justice pretty much absent in the entire film. It’s still a tale of greed and revenge, where self control is a virtue that many of the denizens struggle with. Now if you like focusing on one character at a time, then you’ll like this approach again, but this reviewer likes a little more connectivity between the characters in the grand scheme of things. Some of the tales were very rushed, with little happening in terms of plot development other than getting someone angry, or violently dismantling body guards in an overdramatic manner. Ludicrous action scenes attempt to support the story, but in truth it’s merely another opening to spill more blood. While you do expect ridiculous amounts of gore in the series, the mindless slaughtering got a little stale for me by the end of the first tale. However, if you like over the top usage of suspension wires helping scantily clad women kill things, then more reason for you to go.
However, what helped offset the split up stories for this reviewer were the characters that were stuck in this world. In particular was Marv played by the rough looking man himself Mickey Rourke. What is perhaps my favorite role he has ever played, Rourke brings life to some of the drab moments. A well placed line, an over the top stunt, and an attitude that is just overall entertaining. Rourke’s roughness finally fits suit and thanks to makeup, makes him look strong and intimidating without looking like he needs a bath. His character is the most “level headed of them all” and has the most balance in terms of skills, bravado, and laughs. Josh Brolin does a decent job as well, his internal monologue perhaps the greatest in terms of explaining the story as well as describing internal strife. Brolin’s desperado and solemn nature are perfect for this role, making the suffering of Dwight ever more alive. Mistress of evil Eva Green is back with her fiery charm, taking her ability to play a devious woman to a whole new level. Like always she has strategy on her side, her cold calculating mind and lack of compassion a perfect mix for the dame that runs the show. While a little more sexual than I would have liked, her character had all the qualities of being a powerful force not to be messed with. Biggest weakness for her character, not enough time in the movie and not enough time to cause some real havoc. Reprising their roles as Nancy and Hartigan, Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis are back with their same style. Alba’s gorgeous as ever, and the woman has some sick dance moves that she graces the screen with. Her character is a little more silent and insane than I’ve seen, but she plays her role quite well. Willis is still as calm as ever, as is most of his roles, but sadly he gets gipped of screen time and any real dialogue. The rest of the cast is good, but I’m running out of space, so let’s wrap this up.
Sin City 2 is quite a tale that is meant for those who like the darker side of things. While there is not a uniform tale, it’s got some good plot elements that may hook you into the characters. Action wise it’s not the greatest, but the art style and humor associated with the series explain its ridiculousness. Is it worth a trip to the theater? I don’t think so, especially not worth the 3-D price, so stay home and watch the first one if you need a fix.
My scores for this film are:
Movie Overall: 6.5