“Sin City” is the place you go with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all. But is it even worth going to in the first place?
The next film in the series, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” arrives in theaters this weekend, and critics seem divided right down the middle on whether or not it’s worth your time. What worked in the past seems to work this time around: Stylized action and visual storytelling, with tough guy performances, bone-breaking and blood-spilling action, and nudity aplenty. But for other critics, “A Dame to Kill For” feels like too much more of the same old story — and in the case of some critics, that’s a very bad thing indeed.
For the most part, however, reviews are widely positive for the performance (and the visage) of Eva Green, who plays titular dame Ava Lord, starring in her second Frank Miller-inspired project of the year — and as was the case with “300: Rise of an Empire,” it appears that Green steals the show in “A Dame to Kill For.”
Read on for a collection of “Sin City” reviews:
The Story of “Sin City”
“For Sin City fans, ’A Dame to Kill For’ will likely feel like revisiting an old friend. As with the first, the film interweaves a collection of Frank Miller’s Sin City tales; two pre-existing – ’Just Another Saturday Night’ and ’A Dame to Kill For’ – and two original stories written specifically for the film – ’The Long Bad Night’ and ’Nancy’s Last Dance.’ The connective tissue between the four can feel manufactured and clunky in moments and the transition from one interlude to the next isn’t quite as seamlessly rendered as it was in the original.
“The stories themselves are stripped down mini-thrillers that follow the tropes of noir nearly beat for beat. There are no true twists or surprises in play, nor are these complex character explorations; as a result, it’s really the heightened theatricality of the style and the performances that drives the film.” — Roth Cornet, IGN.com
Flashes of Genius
“Miller is a cartoonist first, screenwriter far far second. The look he and Rodriguez have concocted is extraordinary. It’s a mix of animation and live action, color and black and white and it leaps from the screen even better than it did in their last picture from 2005. I won’t go so far as to say there are great sequences, or even great scenes, or even great moments. But there are great instances. Blipvert-sized flashes of genuine creativity and excellent craftsmanship – a crossfade here, a speeding tire there, a white-blooded quadruple decapitation everywhere – these sensational whispers that disappear as soon as they are discovered can safely be called brilliant.” — Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
Flashes of Eva Green as Ava Lord
“Pulp and noir were often built on the beautiful shoulders of such characters as Ava, and the main justification for seeing the film is to watch Eva Green claim membership in the pantheon of film noir leading ladies alongside Jane Greer, Gloria Grahame, Marie Windsor, Peggy Cummings,Lizabeth Scott and a few others. Frequently baring all in a way that was not allowed in the ’40s and ’50s and often lit by Rodriguez (who did triple duty as director, DP and editor here) in a high-contrast style accentuated by slatted light through blinds, Green more than earns femme fatale immortality by first reiginiting Dwight’s fire, then going through a succession of other admirers.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Flashes from the Past
“The veterans, meanwhile, are still on good form: Marv fits Mickey Rourke like a glove, and he’s just as dark and dangerous as ever, whether he’s punishing frat boys for killing tramps or helping Dwight with a mission of his own. Jessica Alba’s Nancy adds a few shades from the woman we met before — she’s now a damaged, gun-toting version of herself, scarred and sadistic, channelling her fury through her dancing and building up the guts to slaughter the powerful, dreadful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe, back on smug, cigar-chewing form).” — James White, EmpireOnline.com
Not For The Faint of Heart
“Anyone offended by graphic violence, kinky sex and eyefuls of nudity should stay away. But for those who like their fiction hard-boiled like a rock and naughty to the bone, expect to be pleased, if not thoroughly satisfied.” — Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
Really Not For Everyone
“The monochrome monotonous misogyny here wears out its welcome very fast, with every female character either a harlot, a harpy or homicidal or, in Green’s case, and in what this dimwit film probably considers ’complex characterization,’ all three. Brutal, boneheaded and boring, a glass-bottom boat ride through the sewer of writer-creator Frank Miller’s fetishes, ’Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ truly stands on its own clumsy, over-shot feet as potentially the worst film of 2014.” — James Rocchi, About.com
The Final Word
“The followup to 2005’s eye-popping ’Sin City’ is neither the dazzler I hoped for nor the disaster I feared. But ’meh’ is hardly the reaction you expect from a movie in which Eva Green and Jessica Alba shake their ta-tas and Mickey Rourke and Josh Brolin send souls screaming into hell. And this time they do it in 3-D. Fighters and femme fatales are the staples of Frank Miller’s just-famed graphic novels. And Robert Rodriquez was wise to ask Miller to join him again to direct. The movie looks good enough to inspire a million screensavers. It’s just that ’Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’ doesn’t explode onscreen the way the first one did. Miller’s monochrome palette, splashed with color that shines like a whore’s lip gloss, doesn’t startle as it once did. It’s like running into an ex-love and realizing that, damn, the thrill is gone.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is in theaters now.