Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sequel Pales in Comparison to Original Stylish 'Sin City'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sequel Pales in Comparison to Original Stylish 'Sin City'

Article excerpt

Forty dollars will buy you a backroom doctor who will remove a bullet from your leg in Sin City but not the anesthesia.

The average life span of an adult male on screen is about 22 seconds. The only food groups are vodka and whiskey, and yet everyone maintains a hard body. There appear to be two job opportunities if you're female in this world: Armed prostitute and unarmed prostitute who gets rescued by a brooding loner.

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, who collaborated in 2005 on the serialized, stylish and brutally satisfying "Sin City," should have stopped there. "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is still a visual buffet, but adding 102 more minutes of double crosses, slow torture and hookers with hearts of gold just exposes the tediousness of the exercise.

Comic book creator Miller and filmmaker Rodriguez are talented enough in their respective fields to survive the occasional disaster. The new "Sin City" isn't quite that, but it is, in almost every way, inferior to its predecessor. This world is on an endless revenge loop, where the good guy almost never wins, but his demise is noble so we can still sort of feel good.

By the end it's clear that every full house will be topped by four of a kind. Every cruel beating will result in stylish scars that double as religious symbolism. And no bad guy will ever shoot a good guy in the head, when five not-quite-lethal shots in the torso will do.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is based on the graphic novel series by Mr. Miller. Once again it's shot in black and white - with splashes of color - that duplicate Mr. Miller's grisly, minimalist, high-contrast visual style. Good detective Hartigan and thuggish hulk Marv (Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke) return, but they haunt the film more than inhabit it.

Mr. …

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