Marv is unconscious on a highway surrounded by corpses. When he awakes, he has amnesia and tries to recall his last steps from the Kadie's saloon on the Saturday night. He recalls that he found four playboys burning a homeless man alive and defended the poor man. Marv hunts them down and kills the group. The cocky gambler Johnny hits jackpot in slot machines in the Kadie's saloon and invites the waitress Marcie to go with him to play poker game against the powerful Senator Roark. He wins the game and suffers the consequence of his arrogance. The private detective Dwight McCarthy is contacted by his former lover Ava Lord that asks to meet him at the Kadie's saloon. Ava asks him for forgiveness for leaving him to marry the wealthy Damian Lord. However her strong chauffeur Manute takes her home. Dwight snoops around Ava's house but is found and beaten by Manute and the bodyguards. When he returns home, Ava is waiting for him naked in the bed and seduces him again. Then she tells that ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Almost ten years later, writer/directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller try to strike gold again with a second screen adaptation of the Sin City graphic novels.
Unfortunately, A Dame to Kill For suffers from all the afflictions of a bad sequel: an overcomplicated plot forcing a resolved story forward, recasting of previous roles and the addition of new but significantly less compelling characters, and exploiting the spark that made the first film great while still not having that magical appeal.
Once again we find ourselves in hardened and corrupted town of Basin City where the inhabitants exist and resist against the sinful city, while others revel in its reprehensible environment.
Producers started working on a sequel seven years after the initial film was released. In that time Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan passed. Though they portrayed minor characters, their characters, Shellie and Manute respectively, were vastly effectual and favorites in the film. Rodriguez elected to retire Shellie, smartly, but recast Manute with Dennis Haysbert, but he did not stop there. He also chose to recast Devon Aoki's Miho with the exceedingly inferior Jamie Chung and Michael Madsen's Bob with Jeremy Piven. Further, Clive Owen's Dwight McCarthy is seemingly recast and played by Josh Brolin. Mickey Rourke's Marv makes a surprise appearance considering he died in the previous film. Eye candy Jessica Alba dons the stirrups once again as Nancy but this time gets an unnecessary and boring principal role.
It's almost impossible to write a summary for the film without giving away key aspects of the plot. Note, the term 'spoiler' was not used deliberately as nothing would be spoiled. Despite having several fascinating and explicit story lines from the comics, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez decided to force five seemingly unconnected and irrelevant segments worth of content into a Sin City sequel that is really a pointless prequel-sequel hybrid. Within thirty minutes at least seven main characters and their associated stories, all in infancy, branch out with no time to become invested or even care about the outcome.
The revolutionary awe and savagery of Sin City is gone. The inventive techniques that made the first film extraordinary are exploited and bludgeoned to death. Rodriguez and Miller over-utilize popping colors against the stylized black and white motif so that the significance in these items and moments diminishes to nothingness.
The witty dialogue that succinctly dripped with a retro film noir edge falls flat on the tongue of the, arguably, main character portrayed by Josh Brolin. Brolin lacks the debonair and commanding force that Clive Owen has in the first film. Peppered with lazy and lame metaphors, the script sounds like the banal ramblings of a poorly followed twitter account of a desperate writer. Example: "An atom bomb goes off between my legs. A freight train barrels into my jaw." Then to keep up with the gruesome and shocking content of its predecessor, A Dame to Kill For randomly adds violence as an obvious afterthought.
It is incomprehensible that, after seven years, the producers would rush into filming besides a hefty paycheck with this paltry, tame and inconsequential movie. A Dame to Kill For is painfully contrived and completely pointless.
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