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A 'Sin City' style with no story

The film is currently in theaters as of Friday, August 22.
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"Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for"

Rating:
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Despite being away from the fictional city of “Sin City” – Basin City – for about 10 years, some things never change in its sequel.

For a recap click here, before reading further, but if not, this review will get you up to date of the adventures from the first film.

The movie retains its novelty element of being primarily in black and white, and only painting its canvas with color to accentuate the feminine facial features and bloodshed.

Sex and violence runs rampant in a city in which the law is corrupt and power comes from a name and money. The city is stuck in the past that can only be forgotten by love for a price, alcohol and pain.

What made the first film a success was its format adapting the graphic novel into the big screen never seen before bringing a new crime-noir genre of a city with its stories of its inhabitants.

It still works to an effect but the film needs to bring new elements, which it attempts, on focusing the fragile psyche. The first film focus was primarily on romance and in the sequel its players and the stories are driven by revenge this time.

The film opens with the audience reuniting with Mickey Rourke as Merv, the tough-guy enforcer, who has a heck of a time remembering things. Mr. Rourke plays a prominent role in not only his story but also throughout the different vignettes later on.

The actors from the first film show up briefly within the stories as well as new actors. Names won’t be dropped, but one actor does make the most of their moment in an unexpected way.

The film does allow its actors to be featured prominently in their lives but as well as serving in the background to other individual’s story. The film also looks at other areas unexplored in the "Sin City" world..

Two new stories, written by its creator, Frank Miller, introduces the viewers to Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man with a bit of luck on his side, looking to cash in on a poker game featuring Senator Rourke (Powers Boothe).

Mr. Boothe shows his relentless as the corrupt senator who believes his title allows him to get away with whatever he wants while lamenting the loss of his son, to be discussed later on in the review.

The character of Johnny is not completely flushed as his back story is lacking. He’s introduced as a man with a sharp set of skills looking to cash in on his talent but finds himself in a city that known for its fair share of trouble.

Unlike the first film, stories commence but don’t end entirely before segueing to another story.

The best stories of the film, originally written by Mr. Miller, features the relationship of Dwight (this time played by Josh Brolin) and a dame worth killing for Ava Lord
(Eva Green).

Ms. Green, in all her grandeur splendor and green eyes, certainly does portray the dame in distress. She returns to an old love for protection from her husband, Damien Lord (Marton Csokas) and his bodyguard, Manute (Dennis Haysbert filing in admirably in a role portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan).

The role portrayed by Ms. Green should make her a well known just as it did for Ms. Alba and Mr. Rourke.

She conveys the helplessness and the emotionality of living with a mistake she's made in the past looking to make amends before it's too late.

Her presences on screen certainly entices the male gauze and those that come across her. It's easy to see why Dwight still harbors feelings for her.

Mr. Brolin does a good job in trying to make believe that the audience that he’s the same character portrayed by Clive Owens, but it lacks his voice-over narration and his presence.

With the help of Merv, Old Town’s purveyor of the night, Gwen (Rosario Dawson returning) and Jamie Chung, filling in as deadly Miho. They’re on a reconnaissance mission where bloodshed and bodies are disposed of an incomparable manner.

During this story, the anticipated matchup between two unstoppable forces – Merv and Manute – plays up to the expectations.

The last story features Jessica Alba returning as Nancy Callahan, the dancer haunted by her lost love, Detective Hartigan (Bruce Willis). For those not familiar with the storyline, the movie does take a moment to fill the audience before returing to the present.

When last seen, she was a young girl depending upon her savior to protect her from the senator's son, but now she’s a love-torn woman.

She’s given the distinct honor of being one of the girls allowed to do a voice-over narration of her life after being rescued by her protector but unable to continue on living.

Nancy is waiting for the right moment to avenge his death by murdering the senator, but is haunted by her love and tormentor. She can only find solace in alcohol and on stage in which she performs for the men who come primarily to see her.

The second “Sin City” features primarily on revenge, and the director Robert Rodriguez focuses more on the psychological aspect as he get into the heads of the damaged character haunted by their past and present.

If Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Miller are to complete the “Sin City” trilogy, they are both better off sticking with the original stories of Mr. Miller’s graphic novel as opposed to the new stories that only focuses on the violence and mayhem ensued in "Sin City."

Classification: In Theaters

Grade: 3.75 stars out of 5 stars.

The novelty element of the film with its black and white frame while retaining the graphic novel panels with a dab of color paints a splendid picture, but the image can only tell so much of a story.

Rating: R for strong brutal stylized violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use.

Timing: 1 Hour, 42 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Crime, Thriller.