An emotionally invested enthusiast of pop culture in the guise of a Copywriter. Apathetic by design. Aesthetically offensive and eloquently candid. A sentimental heathen.

Sin City was admittedly one of my favorite movies because I really adore the noir tone and – of course – the violence. There’s just something savagely beautiful with the way yellow bloods was splattered everywhere when Hartigan ripped both of the yellow bastard’s weapons, a scene that still etched itself into my mind even until now. So I was really excited for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, especially with the involvement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt because, well, male eye candy for once. But the movie was deemed as R-21 here in Singapore… and with a bit of luck, I got in.

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The four stories of A Dame to Kill For seems to take place in the span of time after Sin City’s The Yellow Bastard but before The Hard Goodbye and The Big Fat Kill. It tells a story of Marv (Mickey Rourke), rampaging through as he fails to remember anything on a “Just Another Saturday Night”. Then there’s Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the cocky young gambler who is out to make his mark on the Sin City by gambling against the biggest fish in town – Senator Roarke (Powers Boothe) – on “The Long Bad Night”.

Meanwhile, Dwight’s (Josh Brolin) attempt to live a straight life might easily fell apart when his former lover Ava lord (Eva Green) return to him in “A Dame to Kill For”. And four years after John Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) death, Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) is struggling to cope with the suicide and try to set everything square in “Nancy’s Last Dance”.

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Did I enjoy A Dame to Kill For? Immensely. It still is the visual splendor that I had come to love so much. The black and white tone of the movie was really pleasant, and the bright white splatter of blood made me giddy. I also love the stark contrast when certain colors made their way against the monochrome background, like Juno Temple’s ginger hair or Eva Green’s enchanting eyes and lips and of course, her blue robe. And the violence, oh the violence was just beautiful. It was literally everywhere, turning me into a giddy kid inside a candy store. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez surely had their share of fun turning human into rag dolls that can be ripped apart with such ease as they invent the carnage of body horror. Not that I mind, oh not at all. I was one of those who had face splitting grin with every torned limbs and popped eyeball and severed heads.

There’s also the sex, of course. Blatant exposure of boobs and ass and other kinds of sexual stuffs that would guarantee a place in the gutter for your mind. Even I can’t resist the eroticism of Eva Green and Jessica Alba because, man, there is a naked Eva Green on the screen and she is a goddess. Her looks alone cemented her place as the dame to kill for, but it was also this elegant yet sultry aura that she exudes all the time on the screen. You just can’t deny her charm and it really wouldn’t take long before you succumb to her temptation. On the other side of the gender, much to my delight, there’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And I endlessly thanks Miller and Rodriguez for accommodating my female gaze – because although I do enjoy the male gaze, it is nice to finally have a man to appreciate on the screen. And Levitt does deliver as a cocky gambler that is both charming and somehow infuriating at the same time. His desperation though, the emotion he shows once his calm facade was ruffled, and that final scene of his, were just stifling – in a good way.

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Yet it bug me, how A Dame to Kill For rely so much in old characters from Sin City. They basically overused Marv’s strength and although it is quite nice to see his determined protective side once again, this movie sort of turned the driven avenger in Sin City into some kind of short tempered fool that could be easily manipulated into throwing his life away for others. Jessica Alba does explore more side of Nancy Callahan during “Nancy’s Last Dance”, turning into an unstable emotional wreck and actually kick some ass with a crossbow. Senator Roarke reappear as the old bastard that he is, earning more hate for his character. Rosario Dawson and Jamie Chung both established more badassery for Gail and deadly little Miho, while Jamie King’s short cameo as Goldie and Wendy got me crooning in delight. It is also nice to see Manute’s backstory, but Willis’ cameo as Hartigan just doesn’t bode well with me. Especially because it was being milked to add more dramatic love problem between him and Nancy.

Which is another thing that I dislike about A Dame to Kill For. There’s just too much needless drama in this movie. There were drama in Sin City, yes, but it was written as a complimentary to the gore and violence instead of being most of the focus. The drama in A Dame to Kill For was just distracting, and I found myself getting restless as I was forced to sit through it, wondering when the hell these bullshit will be over and I can finally got the serving of gore that I came for. Oh and the jumping timeline was also quite a bit of a downside. It confused me for a while and I got distracted as I try to piece the events on the time frame.

So yeah, it wasn’t quite as good as the first one, but there were more than enough fun to keep me around. And I’d watch it all over again just to see bloodied and bruised Joseph Gordon-Levitt, naked Eva Green, along with raggedy Jessica Alba with a crossbow. I will still enjoy the violence and bloodshed if I got to rewatch this movie, and if there’s anyone who could resist cocky-sexy-gambler!JGL, it surely is not me.

 

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Director: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. Writer: Frank Miller. Released on: 22 August 2014 (USA). Casts: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis.

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