Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

WRITTEN BY: Frank Miller
DIRECTED BY: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
STARRING: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
RATING: 3.5 stars

It has been several years since the original Sin City film, but the second instalment has been worth the wait. It is a visually stunning piece of film noir, although its pace is a little too slow. The graphics and sparing use of colour are as fantastic as the first film, if not better. Every frame looks like it has come directly out of a graphic novel. The timeline is confusing because the film is both a sequel and a prequel for different story lines. For example, it is after Hartigan's (Bruce Willis) death but before Dwight's (Clive Owen/Josh Brolin) facial reconstruction. Do not question it, just go with it.

While Marv (Mickey Rourke) was a key player in the first film, he is mostly used in A Dame To Kill For as pawn for Dwight (Brolin) and Nancy (Jessica Alba) in their respective story lines. Stripper Nancy has become a gun-shooting alcoholic in the four years since Hartigan's death as she tries to pluck up the courage to kill the villainous Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). In a separate tale, Ava (Eva Green) is the quintessential femme fatale, a seductive manipulator who uses Dwight and wants to destroy all men. In a third strand of the film, Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a very interesting character who pushes Boothe to his limits during a game of poker.

Rourke is brilliant as the cartoonish but likeable brute, and Brolin is a welcome addition as a replacement for Owen. Green spends much of the time naked but she suits the sultry role. Boothe is also convincing in such a creepy role. Alba lacks sex appeal despite her beauty and continues to disappoint with her acting. She is a weak link in an otherwise strong chain. Rosario Dawson returns as tough woman Gail and Willis is back just to play Hartigan's ghost in a few scenes. A raft of other talented actors appear including Dennis Haysbert as tough guy Manute, Ray Liotta as an adulterer named Joey, Christopher Meloni as love-sick detective Mort, Jeremy Piven as Mort's partner, and Christopher Lloyd as an unorthodox medical practitioner.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is a not like other recent comic book film adaptations we have become accustomed to – it is far darker and gory. But it certainly has appeal.