Craig's Screening Room: Sin City 2

Photo Credit: © 2014 - Dimension Films

The most dangerous, beautifully rendered black and white city returns, finally after years of re-writes and production problems. Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Sin City” can’t help but look good on the screen; there’s even artistry to an arrow piercing a dude’s skull. You’ll get a lot of that here, along with many of the same noir genre clichés. The first movie is a shocking visual masterpiece, this is just piggy-backing off a good thing (similar to “300” earlier this year), but Miller’s sequel is also fairly one-note and dramatically inert.

What it boils down to is three pretty basic revenge plots. Josh Brolin takes over for Clive Owen as Dwight, a PI who comes to find that his ex, Ava (Eva Green), is using him to help her get rid of her rich husband. Other stories include Johnny (Joseph Gordon Leavitt), a card shark with a lucky hand trying put one over on evil Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), only to find that Roark doesn’t take kindly to losing, and another about Nancy (Jessica Alba), Sin City’s most notorious stripper, who mourns the death of her savior (Bruce Willis) from the first film while seeking her own vengeance. Also on hand to help whoever needs him is Marv (Mickey Rourke), the block-headed sociopath with a heart of gold.

None of these are strong but you’re going to get a lot of the same characters and cool from the first film. Toughs with ice water in their veins, all of which loners, all of which have their own hard-boiled, internal monologue to add even more mood to a gritty, evil city. As hobbies- beatings, torturings, head choppings, and other bloody murders- take up most of their time spent not drinking or ogling strippers. Sin City is also a place of no ugly or frumpy women, most are either seductive or seductive and deadly.  

The cast seems to enjoy themselves too, and Eva Green gives another fantastic performance, after being one of the only stand outs in “300: Rise of an Empire”, as this manipulative vampiress. Boothe has never played a character he couldn’t play to maximum sleaziness while Brolin, Leavitt, and Rourke are all tortured, unflinching coolness. The surprise is Alba, who digs a little deeper to find the tortured character beneath. It’s the kind of humanity this movie could have used more of. The “Sin City” sequel is cool and still a marvel to look at, but also lacking enough to make you just want to watch the first again.