In 2005, Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn) collaborated with comic book writer-artist Frank Miller (300) to bring to life his Sin City universe on the silver screen, in a non-linear multi-story collection based on a number of Miller's works taking place in the seedy, criminal-infested town full of violence, sex and complicated characters. The first film proved to be a moderate success with a top-notch cast, some groundbreaking film-making techniques and a visual style that reflected the same appearance as the books.
Nine years later, fans finally get a long-gestating sequel this weekend in theaters that sees Rodriguez and Miller once again share the directorial duties. 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' continues the cinematic look of the original film (all filmed digitally on sound stages) but Rodriguez has taken the process one step further, utilizing similar 3D cameras and technology that James Cameron employed on Avatar, which means this will be Sin City's first roll-out in the 3D format, offering audiences a new way to immerse themselves in the visceral city.
The sequel is comprised of some stories that Miller already wrote including the titular yarn, but some segments for the film are completely brand new and will be seen for the first time in the movie instead of the printed page. One of these stories involves Jessica Alba's character Nancy, who seeks vengeance for the death of her protector, Detective Hartigan (Bruce Willis) by going after the powerful senator (Powers Boothe) who had a hand in Hartigan's demise. Also returning from the original film is Mickey Rourke as the brute Marv (who also headlines a segment called 'Just Another Saturday Night'), Rosario Dawson as Gail and Jaime King as Goldie/Wendy.
For 'A Dame To Kill For', Josh Brolin (Oldboy) takes over the role of Dwight McCarthy from Clive Owen (but hardcore fans will know why, considering the story takes place before 'The Big Fat Kill' in the 2005 film), as he encounters his old love Ava (300: Rise Of An Empire's Eva Green) who is bent on seducing and using him to kill off her husband. Viewers will notice a number of familiar supporting roles will have new faces, including Dennis Haysbert (24) as Manute (previously played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan), Jeremy Piven (Entourage) as Bob (previously played by Michael Madsen) and Jaime Cheung as Miho (previously played by Devon Aoki who could not return due to pregnancy).
New to the universe is Joseph-Gordon Levitt (Inception) as Johnny as a risk-taking gambler who gets more than he bargained for in 'The Long, Bad Night'. Added to the cast is also Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises), Christopher Meloni (Man Of Steel), Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future) and even Lady Gaga. While the current movie landscape is dominated by comic book properties, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For will have a tough task of cracking a similar success as the first film due to the waning demand to see more mature-oriented material on-screen over big studio superhero blockbusters.
But the sequel does carry a lot of firepower with its cast, visuals and creative talent behind the camera with one director who knows gritty-action and the other who arguably is one of the most influential talents in the comic book medium ever. Both have gone on record stating that this sequel is leaps-and-bounds an improvement over the faults and flaws of the original film, so hardcore fans who love this hard-boiled universe would be doing themselves a disservice by not going back for another raw helping of Miller's layered mythology.
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For opens wide in North America on August 22, 2014 to essentially close out the summer season line-up and will be playing in 3D at Cineplex Odeon First Markham Place cinemas for local Markham residents. The movie is rated 18A for brutal violence and sexual content.