2014 Running time: 102 Certificate: 18 Rating: 3

Synopsis

One-man studio Robert Rodriguez and graphic novelist Frank Miller drag characters old and new back to their comic book hellhole to add more blood-soaked chapters to 2005's iconic ultra-noir. Eva Green makes a striking entrance as the femme fatale who lures her former lover Dwight (Josh Brolin) into her deadly web, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt dices with death as a cocky gambler who makes an enemy of diabolical Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Meanwhile, grieving stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) is out for revenge... and if there's trouble to be found in Sin City, Mickey Rourke's brawler Marv is never far away. Sexy, stylish and brutal, it's enough to make your eyes bleed.

Directors

  • Robert Rodriguez

  • Frank Miller

Cast

  • Mickey Rourke

  • Josh Brolin

  • Eva Green

  • Jessica Alba

  • Powers Boothe

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt

  • Rosario Dawson

  • Bruce Willis

Review

Painting its population of hookers, killers, desperados and degenerates in a beautifully stylised light, one-man studio Robert Rodriguez and comic creator Frank Miller turned 2005's Sin City into a cinematic landmark. Misanthropy never looked so cool.

Visually at least, their somewhat belated sequel offers more of the same, with four more stories designed to delight the eye and darken the soul.

The opener, "Just Another Saturday Night", reacquaints us with Mickey Rourke's punch-drunk brawler Marv as he tries to remember how he came to be standing next to a pile of wrecked cars and dying frat boys. As written and performed, there's never a dull moment with Marv.

We also catch up with an old friend - albeit with a new face - in "A Dame To Kill For" as reckless private eye Dwight McCarthy makes his return in the form of Josh Brolin, having been played previously by Clive Owen.

The change is explained during an episode that sees Dwight fall once again for the rarely concealed charms of his former squeeze, Ava Lord (Green).

Needless to say, as the now-married schemer wraps every man she meets around her finger, Dwight is not the only person to have his face rearranged.

Meanwhile, "The Long, Bad Night" follows the misfortunes of Gordon-Levitt's Johnny, a young card sharp who ill-advisedly crashes a poker game run by Sin City's worst loser, the untouchable Senator Roark (Boothe). As the only thread written directly for the screen, this one plays a mean first hand but ends in a disappointing bust.

Finally, "Nancy's Last Dance" sees Jessica Alba's pole dancer plotting to avenge the death of Hartigan (Bruce Willis), the cop who sacrificed himself that she might live. It's not what Hartigan - or at least his ghost - wants, but when in Rome... Besides, the valiant Marv has always got her back.

It doesn't take a degree in demographics to realise that most people only go to Sin City for three things: sex, power and revenge.

In true noir tradition, it's a morality-free zone where most guys think from the groin and talk like Christian Bale's Batman with laryngitis. Another Sin City by-law dictates that the fewer the clothes, the deadlier the broad.

Which undoubtedly makes Green's nakedly duplicitous Ava the most lethal dame in town. No mean feat, given the competition from dirty dancer Nancy, Old Town's pistol-packing mama Gail (Rosario Dawson) and her band of ninja call girls, and Juno Temple as Dwight's honey-trapping accomplice.

As the latter's victim, Ray Liotta joins Christopher Lloyd, Jeremy Piven, Dennis Haysbert and Lady Gaga amongst numerous other major bit-parters queuing up to be shot - against the green screen - before Rodriguez creates digital havoc around them.

Blades flash, heads roll, limbs fly, and breasts heave, all in glorious monochrome, with any slashes of colour generally the result of lip gloss or blood loss.

Emotionally or physically, there's nastiness in every scene. Yet despite all the vendettas and manipulations ending with some kind of pay-off, there no sense of climax.

With the element of originality gone, this trip to Sin City just ain't as gripping as the first. But you gotta admire its style.

Elliott Noble

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