Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sin City Sequel Gets Release Date

By Steve Evans

I've been waiting nine years for A Dame to Kill For, the sequel to Sin City. If it's only half as good as the original, it will still be the popcorn thriller of the summer. From the looks of the trailer, we're talking stylish trash to wallow in like film-loving pigs in the slop. Get it on the calendar: Aug. 22.

Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are again credited as co-directors.

Potential spoilers follow.

From the looks of the trailer, the sequel will dabble in non-linear narrative just like its predecessor. No other way to account for the return of Marv (Mickey Rourke) or Hartigan (Bruce Willis), both of whom died in the first film. Lots of other cast juggling going on, too. Clive Owen makes only a cameo as Dwight. Josh Brolin is taking over the role to account for Dwight's facial reconstruction surgery known by fans of the books. Brittany Murphy died in the intervening years between the Sin City films, so there won't be a Dwight-Shellie reunion. And Jamie Chung takes over as katana-wielding Miho, replacing Devon Aoki who was pregnant at the onset of production and thus unavailable. Always great to see Ray Liotta pop up in a supporting role, here identified as a character named "Joey," apparently a low-level baddie. Apropos.

The sequel offers a quartet of stories set in and around notorious Basin City, where just about everyone drops the "Ba" and calls it Sin City. Two of the tales will be familiar to readers of Miller's graphic novels; the other pair are originals written for the film. From the press materials:

"A Dame to Kill For”
Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) is summoned by his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who wants his help to escape her abusive husband, billionaire Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). However, Dwight soon learns that Ava's true intentions are more sinister than they appear.

"Just Another Saturday Night"
On the night John Hartigan (Willis) meets up with Nancy (Jessica Alba) in "That Yellow Bastard", Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by dead young men, and unable to remember how he got there.

"The Long Bad Night" (original story)

Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a cocky gambler, disguises a darker mission to destroy the biggest villain in Sin City at his own game. He beats the wrong man and events take a turn for the worse. Along the way, he meets a young stripper named Marcy (Julia Garner).

"The Fat Loss" (original story)
Set after Hartigan's suicide at the end of "That Yellow Bastard", this story centers around Nancy trying to cope with his death.

I never grow weary of the Sin City vibe, essentially noir taken to borderline ridiculous extremes -- almost to the point of parody. Rodriguez always dials everything up to 11, so we can enjoy a good match between a director and his material.

A couple final thoughts, and then I'll let the trailer speak for itself. It seems Rodriguez works best in collaboration with someone else, whether it's comic-book artist Miller or Quentin Tarantino. Since Rodriguez seems determined to make a career out of shooting grindhouse pictures, by working with Miller in adapting the Sin City stories he can at least make stylish grindhouse pictures.

As for that distinctive look, it's not just that the picture is technologically possible as a result of shooting on HD digital video, it's actually because of HD video that the images have that razor-edged sheen. That's what makes Sin City so alluring. And deadly.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2014 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

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