Sequel makes tedious return to ‘Sin City’

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014 2:16pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

In the hard-boiled narration describing the gnarly nighttime world of Sin City, people are constantly talking about how rough it is and how lethal the people are. They left out one thing: You could also die of boredom here.

Or so it seems in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” a sequel to the imaginative 2005 film. With its all-digital black-and-white world and retro-film-noir mood no longer a novelty, the second film comes up short in inspiration and originality.

A batch of characters return from the first installment. One is Marv, the granite-faced strongman who idealizes a stripper named Nancy (Jessica Alba, also returning). Marv is played by Mickey Rourke, whose appearance has been freakishly altered by make-up and digital sculpting.

We also re-encounter a crooked politician (Powers Boothe), a tough street chick (Rosario Dawson), and a cop — or his ghost, I guess — played by Bruce Willis.

The stories collide, but for the long middle section of the movie we follow the ape-like Dwight (Josh Brolin), a none-too-bright private eye tormented by a green-eyed vixen named Ava (Eva Green, late of “300: Rise of an Empire” and TV’s “Penny Dreadful”). This plot line takes place before the events of the first “Sin City” movie, although the Marv/Nancy story takes place after that film. Good luck with that.

There’s also a particularly mystifying thread about a gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who challenges the corrupt politician to repeated games of poker. Like much in the Sin City world, this one is awash in revenge fantasies, ultra-violence, and images of women as either duplicitous hookers or innocents needing to be saved.

The stories are drawn from Frank Miller’s graphic novels, and once again Miller co-directs the film with Robert Rodriguez. The movie’s got some snazzy 3D images (the actors play their roles in front of green screens and the detail is filled in later), but the stories themselves are flabby.

Gordon-Levitt and the bounteously displayed Eva Green are the only performers with zip. Green’s story could be described as a parody of adolescent misogynistic fantasies, but the movie’s grasp of humor is so uncertain I think it’s meant to be taken straight.

The brutality from the first “Sin City” is intact, but this one’s shorter. It only feels longer. The fantasy world of Sin City is supposed to be full of sentimentally tough guys and dames, but really these characters just seem exceptionally dumb. That’s a recipe for tedium, as “A Dame to Kill For” proves.

“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (1½ stars)

Sequel to the 2005 film by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. Without the novelty of that film’s digital, graphic-novel approach, this one collapses in tedium. A mix of stories conjure up the corrupt world of Sin City, a film noir place where the people are supposed to be sentimentally tough guys and dames but really just seem dumb. With Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Eva Green.

Rating: R, for violence, nudity, language

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds Theater, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Meridian, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Thornton Place Stadium 14, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.

Talk to us

More in Life

Shawn McQuiller of Kool & The Gang performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Kool & The Gang and Average White Band are coming soon to a casino near you. Queensryche also is due in Arlington.

Preston Brust, left, and Chris Lucas of LOCASH perform during CMA Fest 2022 on Thursday, June 8, 2022, at the Chevy Riverfront Stage in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

The country music duo Locash drops by the Angel of the Winds Casino on Saturday. And there’s the Summer Meltdown festival at its new home near Snohomish all weekend.

‘Poco Orange’ Red Hot Poker. (Terra Nova Nurseries)
Warmer weather means brighter, hotter colors in the garden

Here are seven plants that will bring a blazing pop of color to your outdoor spaces.

An easy one-mile loop near the visitor center at Seaquest State Park explores the edge of Silver Lake.
(Scott Hewitt/The Columbian)
Discover seven hidden gems not far from the super slab

Weekend trips: Next time you’re making the I-5 slog toward Oregon, check out some of these parks and preserves just off the freeway corridor.

Caption: Now’s a great time to stock up on free Covid tests available to Washington State residents at:
COVID-19’s behind her except for a nagging cough

But things might have been much different — in a bad way — without testing and vaccines.

The blended-families challenge requires patience, maturity

Don’t expect miracles — it can be rough going for some time. Get professional help if you need it.

Her Turo rental was repossessed with valuable items inside

When Michelle Marshall’s Turo rental gets repossessed, the car-sharing company offers her a partial refund. But what about her son’s expensive epilepsy medication? Is Turo responsible for that?

Lee Oskar and his dog Tex inside his art studio in his home on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Harmonica whiz Lee Oskar is also a pro with a paintbrush

Oskar’s music and art studios are in his Everett home. The former member of the 1970s band War is now 74, and still rocks “Low Rider.”

The 2022 WM Recycle Corps interns are part of WM’s recycling education and outreach team.
WM Recycle Corps interns return after two-year COVID slowdown

The collegiate interns are back in the community to help improve recycling habits and reduce waste.

Caption: At Flight Room in Lynnwood, aerial fitness poses like “vampire” use every muscle in your body.
Fitness takes flight at new aerial studio in Lynnwood

Jennifer Bardsley finds benefits and “silk kisses” from doing aerial yoga at Lynnwood studio.

Photo Caption: This carved shelf brought $2,500 at New Haven Auctions. Decorations and symbols associated with the Odd Fellows add to its appeal.
Odd Fellows iconography adds to this carved shelf’s value

Fun fact: The Odd Fellows is believed to have originated in medieval trade guilds, with “odd fellow” meaning someone who did odd jobs for a living.

The Limelight Prime Panicle Hydrangea. (Proven Winners)
3 new “pee gee” hydrangeas for gardeners to salivate over

These new shrubs boast better flower color and, in some cases, more compact forms that fit better in smaller gardens.