DVD review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 November, 2014, 11:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 November, 2014, 11:15pm

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

It took nine years for the one-two punch of director Robert Rodriguez and graphic novelist-turned-filmmaker Frank Miller to reunite after the critical and box office success that followed the release of Sin City (2005).

Back then, the cinematic rendering of Miller's highly stylised and ultra-violent noirish graphic novel series came across as breathtakingly fresh and inventive. This time around, the source material might be similar but the film lacks the same impact.

Visually, the production is still stunning, revisiting that same dark, brooding world of broken-down characters, spitting out their words and seeking some sort of redemption or revenge.

Mickey Rourke and Josh Brolin are both played up - through make-up and plot - to their brutish extremes and are well suited to the mean streets of Miller's imagination. And the interplay between Powers Boothe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes for an engaging sideshow to the main event (in a new story Miller created for the film).

But when it comes to the female characters, the film never seems to fulfill its potential - even when acknowledging that these are supposed to only be cartoon-like creations. It's one thing to have the likes of Jessica Alba and Eva Green strutting around in various states of undress, but it's another to make them do something we can care about. And while Green is the film's shining (or, rather, shimmering) light, the whole production leaves the viewer poised for the illumination of Alba and her character - and it proves to be the chapter with the least lustre of all.

Maybe Sin City gave us all we could possibly get from Miller's magic - on film, at least - but the major disappointment is how hard it is to stay focused for the full 100 or so minutes. The pieces are all there - crime and punishment, sex and sin - but they never fall into place. The result is a film that promises far more than it delivers, and one which one of Miller's characters might grumble, whisky bottle in hand, feels all fur coat and no knickers.

Extras: high-speed all green-screen version; make-up and stunts featurettes; character profiles.