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Movie review: Return trip to 'Sin City' isn't worth the fare

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Nine years removed from its predecessor, life in Basin City gets another look in the sequel: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Perhaps it would have been best for that groundbreaking first look to be the only one.

Dame, which opens Friday (Aug. 22), isn’t a bad film. There’s no way that a film that has such interesting, albeit creepy, characters could be wholly bad, but this one definitely lacks zip.

It’s a ho-hum affair that takes some of those characters through several predictable stories that lack surprises and leave you wanting for the original.

What remains is that trademark monochrome look with a splash of color that draws the audience’s collective attention to the item that Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller wants. It’s an eye-popping design, but doesn’t compensate for an overall flat story.

At least they had the decency to bring Marv (Mickey Rourke) back to lead the mayhem. After being reintroduced into his life, we meet Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a player and card sharp who comes in to take on the malevolent senator (Powers Boothe) from the original. He initially gets more than he bargained after taking the slimy pol for an impressive amount of cash.

That segues into the story of a private dick, Dwight (Josh Brolin) whose past in the form of a witchy woman named Ava (Eva Green) recasts a spell on him only to change his life forever. And what would Sin City be without Nancy (Jessica Alba) the kind-hearted stripper?

Only one of these stories offer anything compelling – barely – and that’s Johnny’s but that’s not enough to save Sin City.
Rodriguez and Miller, having paired in the original, reteam and know the material, directing with confidence. You even have to admire their willingness to treat the graphic novel based flick like a comic book, right down to how their performers deliver their dialogue.

Movie: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Eva Green, Josh Brolin and Bruce Willis
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Rated: R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use.
Running time: 102 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com

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