Two-and-a-half out of five stars
It took nine years, but we finally have "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," the sequel to 2005’s ground-breaking "Sin City." Those nine years have given Hollywood and the gaming industry ample time to replicate, enhance and proliferate the original aesthetic to the point that what was once so eye-popping is now boring. The solution? Apparently, take that same look and produce it in 3-D.
"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" features some familiar characters from the original, starting with Mickey Rourke’s Marv. After Eva Green’s Ava (we’ll get to her in a minute), he’s the second-most visually arresting character in the movie: He looks like he was carved out of solid rock.
Marv also introduces us to the action when he wakes up on the street next to a dead guy after a helluva bloody night, of which he has little recollection. Like the first film, Marv narrates his own story, retelling the events that led to this moment, and showing us he’s a cold-blooded killing machine with a heart of gold.
Also returning is Jessica Alba’s stripper, Nancy; the specter of Bruce Willis’ hard-boiled cop, Hartigan; and Powers Boothe, whose portrayal of Sen. Roark is one of the movie’s true highlights, so palpable and absolute is his brand of evil.
Speaking of evil, let’s talk about Eva Green, whose Ava is the dame to kill for from the title. Green is ideally cast. As she recently proved in “300: Rise of an Empire,” she’s the perfect combination of deadly and gorgeous. She’s got her ex-lover -- newcomer Josh Brolin’s private eye, Dwight -- wrapped around her monochrome little finger and she’s going to literally bleed him for all he’s worth.
You may have heard that Green spends most of this movie naked. She, in fact, spends more time naked in this movie than she would if she lived in a nudist resort, which many will consider a very good thing.
In another storyline, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a slick, cocky gambler named Johnny, hell-bent on embarrassing Sen. Roark in a game of poker. It turns out to be a very painful decision.
All of the performances are fine and the decision to go 3-D keeps the visuals tantalizing, but "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" would’ve been considerably more entertaining had it been a music video or video game. The through-line connecting all of these stories is tenuous, at best, and the violence soon becomes boring, simply because we never care enough about these characters to give a lick what happens to them.