Film Review: Sin City 2: A Dame to Die For
The curse of the sequel to a truly original, stand-out movie can be summarised in three short words: unrealistically high expectations.
Fundamentally speaking, the chapter that follows the inaugural masterpiece will always be doomed to fail simply because it cannot be the same movie, and whether it decides to do something completely different, or attempt to emulate the preceding instalment, it’s highly that likely we, the audience, won’t be that impressed with the finished results.
While this may seem like a pessimistic, perhaps even melancholy approach to any new film following up on an old storyline, it’s learnt knowledge that has brought us to this realisation. With very few exceptions (The Godfather Part II being one of the most famous), no sequel has ever hit anything like the benchmark its forerunner set, but nevertheless we can’t help but feel rather excited about the prospect of another trip to Frank Miller’s violent, urban comic world for Sin City 2: A Dame To Die For , which arrives in cinemas on Friday 22nd August.
The initial outing was, after all, amongst the finest flicks to ever take inspiration from the oft-blighted world of graphic novels. Visually stunning, the stylisation evident in the aesthetics (monochrome with a hint of colour thrown in to accentuate certain aspects of each frame) continued into the script, which owes so much to classic Hollywood film noir and melodrama that you could be forgiven for thinking the writers walked straight off the set of an old Humphrey Bogart movie and smack bang into the production. In short, for what the movie makers Miller (who wrote the original stories) and Robert Rodriguez were trying to achieve, it was pretty much the perfect effort.
On to the second episode then, which sees the likes of Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, and Mickey Rourke reprise their respective roles – all citizens of the eponymous Sin City , a place where blood and guts are regularly spilt, redemption is all but non-existent, and hookers and gangsters must fight for survival against bent cops and corrupt politicians. Joining them for the first time in this saga (although no strangers to the murky filmic underworld) are Ray Liotta, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and Eva Green, making for yet another all-star cast that’s hard to argue with.
Plot-wise, audiences should expect the usual spate of murders, underhand dealings between rival crime lords, and a focus on love struggling to thrive because of the fact that it’s surrounded by the detritus of this imaginary society. Needless to say, then, the ability to derive pleasure from watching Sin City 2 will be very dependent on how much fist-pumping action and amorality you can stomach in one go, and your perspective on style matching (if not completely overriding) substance; but if those elements sound up your street there should be very few reasons not to take a look – remembering, of course, that there’s every chance it won’t live up to the standards set in that first adaptation.