Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
Steve Rogers, now finding difficult to fit in to the era of today then leads an assault against a friend turned rival from World War II, a Soviet emissary known as "The Winter Soldier" and his lead of a precarious uprising.
Samuel L. Jackson,
Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller's "Sin City" graphic novels back to the screen. Weaving together two of Miller's classic stories with new tales, the town's most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants. Written by
Frank Miller's Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For may seem like an excessively long title, but excessive and long do perfectly describe this film.
Filmed in black and white, with spatters of killer red blood to give it some panache, the film is a stylish crime thriller with live action and graphic (as in novel and/or violence) effects. Similar to its 2005 predecessor (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but now lacking in its originality and inventiveness, Frank Miller's Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill seems like a cheap knock-off. Its homage to film noir, with its femme-fatales and tough guys, wears thin by its gory conclusion, even if the package looks swell.
Evil is everywhere. After all, this is Sin City. The film's underlying sadism and misogyny is disguised by the film's surreal and artful use of stark black & white imagery with burst of color to accentuate every scene. Women remain highly sexualized beings, objects of desire. Men fall in the category of corrupt fools, desperate schmucks, romantic lugs, or bloodthirsty savages.
Some of the same characters are back. Deformed goon Marv (Mickey Rourke), pitiful stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba), seedy PI and hero type Dwight (now played by Josh Brolin), prostitute and dominatrix Gail (Rosario Dawson), corrupt politician and main villain Senator Roarke (Powers Boothe), even dead dick (Bruce Willis) appears briefly. But their pulp fiction story lines are monotonous reminders of better told tales from the original source. New characters do enter the multi-story format: A young gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), sexy slut Ava (Eva Green), who just can't keep her clothes on, and other unsavory characters come and go. Their stories give the film some needed energy, but most of the action is rather dull, even with the fancy facades.
The excessive nudity and violence is the predominant shock factor in this genre. Blood and boobs reign supreme. In fact, Ms. Green's breasts have a life of their own. Her ample bosoms seem to have more screen time than the actress herself. (But who's complaining? Certainly not the intended audience of fan-boys and adolescents.)
Directed by Mr. Miller himself and Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller's Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For is a pop extravaganza that implodes from its own excesses. Unlike its first incarnation which had an artistic execution and vision, this version is literally all execution without any artistic vision. The film's overall look has a flatness and artificiality, relying on garish make-up and far too many CGI visual tricks. Its narrative structure is as choppy as one of the film's Ninja Amazon killers.
Frank Miller's Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For just ain't any fun the second time around. Ultimately, this film parody becomes a parody onto itself. It tends to exhaust rather than exhilarate its movie-going audience. GRADE: D+
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