Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is like Paris after the zombie apocalypse. Beautiful to look at but not a living soul in sight.
The sequel to 2005’s visually groundbreaking “Sin City,” which in turn was based on Miller’s popular graphic novels, is once again an homage to the hard-boiled fiction and film noir of mid 20th-century America.
Its blend of live action, animation, CGI and comic-book sensibilities is full of long shadows and dark moods, its stunning black-and-white palette often violently streaked red with blood.
And it’s all narrated, in classic Raymond Chandler/James Cain tough-guy style, by men short on tact and timidity but well-versed in the poetry of the upper cut and the right hook.
Yet unlike the work of Miller and Rodriguez’s heroes, there’s little substance beneath the style, no art beyond the artifice.
A collection of four somewhat related stories, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” first plunges viewers into the perpetual nighttime world of Basin City, aka Sin City, through Marv (Mickey Rourke), the hard-drinking, hard-driving, hard-to-look-at slab of muscle from the first film who also weaves in and out of this story.
He wakes up after a rough night and wonders how he got there.
Then there’s Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a good-looking guy with a cool car and a casino’s worth of luck with the ladies and the slots.
But his luck may have run out when he goes up against devious Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who was also in the first film, in a game of poker.
And pity poor Dwight (Josh Brolin), a lug of a man and no stranger to Sin City’s bars, who’s still carrying the flame for his ex, Ava (Eva Green), even though she’s now with wealthy Damien Lord (Marton Csokas).
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‘SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR’
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin. (Strong, brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity and drug use)