Given the graphic and narrative nature of cinema, it is perhaps inevitable that genre cinema would come to be dominated by properties established in the realm of comics, almost a testing bed for many of the most successful films of the last years. From the Marvel roster headed by The Avengers, this year will further expansion with a new adventures for Captain America and Spider-Man, a further film featuring the X-Men plus the hotly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy, and originating from Dark Horse a second film of 300, also from the work of Frank Miller, the creator of Sin City. First released in 1991 as part of Dark Horse’s fifth anniversary, the world was expanded periodically over the following years, and the first film was released in 2005, co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Miller. Now, nine years later, it’s time to go back, to meet A Dame to Kill For.
Michael Flett – I’ve only seen the first one once, the weekend it came out, so my memory is vague, but I recall it as being brutal, stylish, stylised, uncompromising… and apparently, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Unlike the majority of comic or graphic novel adaptations, which try to transpose the action to the real world, this simply took that distinctive comic style and put it directly on the screen, allowing the action, the violence, the extremes of emotion and acting style to be as big as they could be, because they existed in a world where that was the norm.
The first film came out the year after Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which despite some specific flaws (Gwyneth Paltrow, how could you blow that role so badly? Did nobody tell you that you were supposed to be enjoying yourself?) I loved for the design and appearance, but that fared badly at the box office ($58 million takings on budget of $70 million) while both Sin City and 300 did far better ($158 million on $40 million budget and a crazy $456 million on a $65 million budget respectively) but that may be that science fiction, particularly wilfully retro science fiction, is a much harder sell to an audience accustomed to a gleaming future.
Presumably what is essentially one of the oldest film genres, crime, robbery, murder, dangerous dames and fast cars, is a much easier prospect, especially packaged for the new digital era.
Beyond the visual, which with Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller both returning as directors is pretty much guaranteed again, the key strength of the original was the stunning ensemble, and with Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Mickey Rourke all returning, it seems like all the pieces are back in place.
And just look at who has been added to the cast – Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach, Marton Csokas – the list goes on. With the visuals heavily processed, the passage of time shouldn’t matter to the cast, even though the storylines of the new film are set concurrently with the original.
Josh and Joseph are two of the best actors in modern cinema, and Eva is always beautiful and interesting, though she does seem to get landed with the crazy dame roles, between her twitchy eyed teacher in the splendid Cracks and what her character devolved to in Dark Shadows.
I may need to locate a copy of Sin City and remind myself of what’s going down before I see this… you don’t want to enter Sin City unprepared.
Garry Mac – I really liked the first Sin City, so I’m all over this. More of the same, but that’s to be expected. I love the idea of a comic book movie stuffed full of vignettes and the visuals look incredible as ever. It looks like they’ve not pushed it too far from the first, which I like, because they should really sit as companion pieces. I’m a big Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan, so it’s good to see him in there, and Mickey Rourke was fantastic in the first. So all in all, although I have next to no idea of the actual plot, I’ll be seeing this in the cinema, for sure.
Les Anderson – Classic car fetishism, lingerie and guns veiled in cigarette smoke. What’s not to like? One of my lesbian colleagues was very taken with it. I wonder why… Am also wondering if that’s Mickey Rourke’s real face these days.
Adam Dworak – I have never seen Sin City and after what I saw in that trailer I don’t think I want to see Sin City 2.
What I see in this trailer does not appeal to me. It’s just a group of disjointed scenes which don’t look interesting or telling an interesting story, nor does it look particularly original. It’s just some random crime story which we have seen before hundreds of times but to hide that fact someone decided to give it very stylised graphic style, perhaps the only original thing in it, but it’s not enough for me.
Neo-noir crime action thriller – yeah right, another artificially created genre to justify a lack of talent and fresh ideas.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For trailer is scheduled for release on 22nd August