By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
Time can hurt if it’s been quite a few years since the previous film like it has here. Waiting nine years for the sequel meant a lot of fans lost interest into paying to see this so only having made $31 million so far at the box office and having a larger budget than the original isn’t great at all and probably puts to bed the hopes of another film. Comprising a story from the graphic novels and two new stories comes a second showing of three main stories into one film.
The all-star cast members are met with new faces such as Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd and Jeremy Piven and recasts such as John Brolin in place of Clive Owen, Jaime Chung for Devon Aoki and Dennis Haysbert for Michael Clarke Duncan. The film centers on a woman named Ava Lord played by Eva Green who is vindictive, sultry and malicious.
First impression is that visually, it looks far inferior compared to its predecessor. The rich detail of the surroundings were a joy to watch in Sin City, however the sequel looks very fresh off a computer. A lot of the elements within the image looked fake which is the most disappointing aspect of the film for me. 25 more million dollars were spent on the sequel which suggests to me that it went more on the actors than the visual effects. Too many shots looked green-screened which is against the whole point of the process. CGI is the illusion of that we’re looking at something that appears real even though we sometimes know it’s not so having a film were the visuals are depended on so heavily and having it look worse than it did nine years ago is frustrating to me.
The individual stories this time were missing the balance it had previously and didn’t keep me interested as much in how it would all turn out. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a great addition however to the giant cast as he had conviction in his role as a fearless gambler who never loses. The other new actors didn’t really excite me, especially Eva Green. I honestly did not see what was special about her character other than her body. I wouldn’t risk my life for her so why are all the men, unless they are all idiots. Green wasn’t believable in her role for me which is the center of the story.
Another negative is that the film had too much color put into scenes. Colored aspects of the image were carefully selected to create a highlight for the viewer to lock their eyes on, such as the character of Goldie being in full color. In A Dame to Kill for, quite a few actors were in full color and far too many objects were in color as well. Also a few scenes ended with a fully exposed white figure that transitioned from a black figure which made it seem cartoon-like for me.
The characters weren’t as likeable this time, even the returning cast members. Jessica Alba was underused for much of the film except for when she’s dancing and Mickey Rourke wasn’t placed well enough into the story as Marv was a very strong character in the first film. In this, his make-up even looked worse.
My score for the film is 59%. Lowest mark for visuals, highest for pacing. It’s a big disappoint that isn’t awful, but lacks in every way to the first. I don’t mean to just compare, however I feel it’s right to think how brilliant the first film did in terms of effects, characters, plot and action. A Dame to Kill for couldn’t get that essence and it was dull in comparison. It’s still got the pace, but not the fun to entertain.