After the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis), Nancy (Jessica Alba) struggles to keep it together. Fuelled by a deep hatred for the man responsible for his death, she vows to kill Senator Rourke (Powers Boothe). He, in turn, has his own problems to deal with. A sleek, stylish new gambler named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has entered Sin City and is aiming to win big at his expense. Dwight (James Brolin) gets a visit from an old flame looking for his help (Eva Green) whilst Marv (Mickey Rourke) still struggles to find peace amongst the chaos of Sin City. Soon, all of these characters lives will intertwine with deadly consequences.
Sin City 2 is stylistically stunning, with explosive action around every corner. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a Sin City sequel and it delivers plenty of memorable moments. Never shying away from sex or violence, this is pulp crime at its smouldering best. The interlocking stories are strong (but not as engaging as the first movie). This doesn’t really affect the overall enjoyment though and leaves you wanting more, which is a good thing.
Given that it’s been almost ten years since the first film, it’s refreshing to see the tone and structure stay the same. Resisting the need to update the format, Sin City is its own beast and there’s something very welcoming by the fact that the residents of Basin City haven’t seemed to have changed one bit. Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel retains its artistic merit, with Robert Rodriguez finding form once again.
The overarching main story involving Nancy is played very well with Jessica Alba doing a sensational job. She has a lot more to do this time around and her characters fragility is beautifully balanced during the film. If Jessica Alba wasn’t enough for the eyes, Eva Green simply bewitches as Ava. There’s no actress out there today that can bring the same levels of sultry, raw passion as the former Bond girl, and she effortlessly convinces as a back-stabbing femme fatale that gets under the skin of Josh Brolin (taking over the role of Dwight from Clive Owen). And if you want even more, Juno Temple seduces her scenes as good-time girl named Sally who gets into a tricky situation.
Mickey Rourke personifies Marv perhaps more than any other character he has ever played on film and he hands in yet another scene-stealing turn in Sin City 2. In fact, there are lots of familiar faces returning including Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis and Jaime King. Powers Boothe is sensational as the despicable Senator Roark and is simply magnetic onscreen. It’s great to see Boothe get to play such a significant role as he’s frequently the best thing in all of his projects.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the pick of the new bunch, with his story the most interesting and volatile by a long stretch. Dennis Haysbert takes over from the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute. Ray Liotta is amusing as Juno Temple’s bit on the side and hapless cops Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven always raise a smile. Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd is also amazing as a shady doctor who works out of a dark and dingy apartment.
The star quota is high then, and the action set-pieces utilise all of their talents very well. The narration is as top drawer as you’d expect and the visual style still leaves you breathless 9 years on from the original. Perhaps the only criticism to level is that the middle story-lines are a little too predictable but that’s easily forgotten once Marv starts cracking skulls and Nancy starts to dance in that way.
Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For is more of the same, so if you enjoyed the first movie it’s a safe bet you’ll love this. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but with bags of style and a blatant disregard for moderation, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For is a loud, brash, violent and mesmerising ode to classic noir that delights throughout.