Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For Movie Review

Genre – Comic Book, Noir

Director – Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez

Cast – Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, many others

Alluring element – Ten years ago, you loved Sin City, so the second one should be just as awesome, right?

Plot – 4
Acting – 6
Representation of Genre – 6
Cinematography – 6
Effects/Environment – 7
Captivity – 5
Logical consistency – 4
Originality/Creativity – 4 
Soundtrack/Music – 5
Overall awesomeness – 4 

Ten years ago, fanboy director Robert Rodriguez had blown the comic book movie genre wide open with his adaptation of Frank Miller’s first Sin City graphic novel. The 2005 film had plenty of star-power, and really revolutionized the way the green-screen was used. Nearly the entire movie had been filmed in front of one, allowing for various props and scenery to be added artificially during post-production. It was a concept that looked aesthetically pleasing, and made it satisfyingly similar to the comic books that the movie was borrowing from.

Thanks to the movie bombs that were Robocop 2 and Robocop 3, Frank Miller had been all but turned off from Hollywood adaptations, but Rodriguez was determined to make it work. He put together a short vignette for Miller to show him what he wanted to do with Sin City (video below) and even withdrew from the Directors Guild of America in order to credit Miller as a co-director. The film was a commercial and financial success, surprising an industry who was growing drunk on the premonition that only big-name comic books like Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men could carry their own films. Establishing the nickname “One Man Film Crew,” Rodriguez just about does it all. Nearly a decade later, Rodriguez and Miller teamed up once more for the sequel, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For.

Sherif Elkhatib

I just recently picked up the Sin City comic books in order to really get the inspiration for the movies. I was very impressed how exactly like the books the movies are. There is, of course, the neo-noir style filming. Then there are the character designs, gore style, and even the dialogue. I could recite lines from A Dame to Kill For and they were exactly how they came out of the actors’ mouths. There were times when this was satisfying, but others that felt down-right ridiculous actually coming out from somebody’s lips. For better or worse, A Dame to Kill For was the exact same story on film as it was on paper. Unfortunately, it happened to be one of the worst stories I have ever read.

Before I utterly rip into this film, I want to express that A Dame to Kill For could have been good. There are a lot of “almost”s and “if only”s we threw around after the credits rolled – and, although not realistic, the movie could have been saved by actually omitting some of the more crude content and deviating a bit from the source content. There’s no denying that this franchise is a one-trick pony. You’re guaranteed two hours of obscene language, over-the-top sadistic violence and a bunch of boobs. What I wasn’t expecting was how disturbingly weird and misogynistic this installment would be. There’s something to be said when I raise an eyebrow more to A Dame to Kill For than the first film, which is centered around a guy who kidnaps women, eats them and feeds the scraps to his dog.

There’s really no way of getting around the fact that Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For was a bad movie. The best way I can describe Sin City 2 is that it’s Sin City with erectile dysfunction. The same moves are there, the acting is in many cases better, but there just isn’t enough to make it enjoyable.

Adrian Puryear

I’ll put it out there: Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For sucked.  I also apologize to the group of people who love me enough to come see the movie with me for my birthday this past weekend.  Our time would have been better spent  doing absolutely anything else.  Harsh you say?  No, not really.  Unlike my other half, Sherif, I have not read the graphic novels.  It was a plan of mine to read them and then review, but after seeing the follow-up film, I don’t plan on continuing on with the franchise.  I feel so strongly about how bad Dame was, that it may have tainted the first Sin City for me, a film I really loved.

I could nitpick that the green screen was badly done this time, that the dialogue was corny, Eva Green was badly cast as “A Dame to Kill For”, or that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was only cast because he is awesome, but that ultimately his character had no point.   But the reality is that the movie failed on two much greater levels.

Let’s talk about the plot first.  Sin City is famous for its vignettes, and the comics (there are six volumes) did a great job of showing the same vignettes from different point of views (thanks Sherif for telling me that).  But that translation onto the screen wasn’t so great.  Perhaps it was because there was 10 years between the first and second movie, but the timeline seemed very disjointed, and in actuality, not possible.  There were three main plots in the sequel, and all of them made me wonder why I should care.  Plot A: Joseph Gordon-Levitt gambles against the Senator, then he gets his fingers broken, gambles again, and then wins forever, except he dies.  Oh by the way, spoiler alert.  Plot B: Eva Green AKA Ava shows her boobs a lot, screws men, calls herself a slut, kills said men, and then shows her boobs some more.  Plot C: Nancy Callahan drinks herself into a tizzy, learns to shoot a gun to avenge Bruce Willis, dances at the saloon more but 10 years later so its not as sexy, and then she dresses like a Matador and says “Fucker” in the most hilarious way possible before the credits roll.

To be frank, I cared most about Joseph Gordon-Levitt just because I think he is cute.  However, the story was fruitless.  It related the least to the rest of the film, and then he died.  Why am I supposed to care about him?  I know nothing of his background and he had no redeeming qualities.  Then there was the black widow, Ava.  I don’t really care that she is crazy and kills her lovers.  Usually, that sort of story is slightly intriguing, but it was acted badly by Eva Green and in the end it didn’t matter.  Because she died.  And then there was Nancy who was avenging the forced suicide of John Hartigan (Bruce Willis).  I suppose this was the draw for many people, but it wasn’t fascinating to watch an exotic dancer becoming a self-abusing drunk.  Particularly because it wasn’t a convincing act while she was contemplating the murder of Senator Roark.  Avenging death is cool and all, but when you weaken yourself in the process, I don’t have much sympathy for you.  Since the movie was made 10 years later, I would have liked a reminder of why I should care.  Instead, I walked away feeling like I just wasted two good hours I could have used playing Diablo 3; a story that equally doesn’t matter, but at least I get to shoot stuff.

Now let’s get into what is more important about why this film disgusted me.  I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t the overly cheesy nachos I ate, but I’m sure that didn’t help.  It was the Bechdel Test.  If you don’t know what the Bechdel Test is, it is a test for film that must follow these three rules: It must have two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man.  There are some modifications of this rule that say the women must have names, too.  Sure Dame has more than two women in it, but they are nothing more than props for the use of men, no matter if Ava was killing some of those men.  The women only talked to each other in one brief scene with the vigilante prostitutes, but it was about men.  More often than not, women were not called by their own names, but rather by epithets for women that are not only overly used in our society, but were so overused in the movie, that I forgot the names of the characters.  You could say that most movies don’t fit the Bechdel Test, and you would be right.  Some of my favorite movies don’t, yet I don’t find them overwhelmingly offensive to women.  We are not props to use for “lucky” gambling.  Watching us dance in a saloon is not the solution to your problems.  Sleeping with us is not the solution to your problems.  Calling us “Bitch”,”Slut”, and “Whore” will not garner respect.  Portraying us by showing overt sex scenes and implying we have the power by showing promiscuity is not women’s liberation.  It was appalling at how poorly women were portrayed.  Even the “strong” female, Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) was a drunk who cut herself all in the name of a man who she thought was her only protection.  And she got shot at the end, sans the dying, but she still was weakened.  And for God’s sake, put Eva Green’s boobs away.  Yes they are nice, but it crossed the line of “Great rack,” to “Yeah, I get it.  She has a nice set of breasts.”  I am painfully aware of Frank Miller’s writing style and his personal bigotry, but in the modern day, is it too much to ask that if you are going to make a movie based off his work, its a little less …misogynistic?

Sherif Elkhatib

All this being said, A Dame to Kill For is not a complete loss. Robert Rodriguez’s green screen filming method adds a lot of character to the film, and even if the characters run in place like Adam West and Burt Ward in Batman, a part of me gets lost in the moment. There’s also no shame in admitting that the Sin City franchise has completely captured the neo-noir atmosphere better than any major motion picture has in the ten years since the original came out. Now the heavy sigh… maybe we should just come to the conclusion this Sin City movie didn’t need to be made.

There’s no doubt that Frank Miller the writer is a legend, with books like The Dark Knight Returns, Robocop300Ronin and some of the best Daredevil books ever published under his belt. His best work is gritty, ultra-violent, and has severe political “fuck-you”ness tattooed on each page. On the other hand, he’s also the stereotypical chauvinistic a-hole that today’s industry is fighting against – the middle-aged straight white man, who wants the industry to stay straight, white and male. He uses racial slurs liberally and openly pokes fun at the gay and mentally challenged. Just see what he did to Batman in All-Star Batman & Robin, or the ridiculous black-face he gives his African-American characters. Or the whole damn Holy Terror book.

For better or worse, though, this has been the same Frank Miller for over thirty years, and asking Robert Rodriguez to tone down Frank Miller’s source content is just unrealistic. There are plenty of other books of his that deserve our attention, that aren’t riddled in reminders of how far we have come as a nerd industry, only to regress using special effects. Honestly, I’m ready to put this whole thing behind me if Robert Rodriguez can admit that the All-State guy is not a suitable replacement for the late, great Michael Clarke Duncan. There will always be a demographic that loves what A Dame to Kill For was made of, but unless there is some sort of compromise on content, Miller and Rodriguez will see this franchise fail time and time again.


all media belongs to Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Dark Horse Comics and Dimension Films

Monthly Movie Preview: August 2014

July has come and gone in the blink of an eye. August promises to close out the summer in style, with a few notable blockbusters and some good independent films sprinkled in. Check out what we have to say about August’s films:

August 1 – Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

I’m hooked on a feeling… that this might be the greatest Marvel movie ever made. Although the Guardians have been around in comic books for decades, and the team being used for the film having existed since 2008, the number of people who can name any of the individual team members is far surpassed by the volume of fans who have no idea what is going on – and that will work to the film’s benefit. Nobody has any expectations of this rag-tag group, whose diversity is its strongest card. A talented set of actors, endless humor and explosive action will round out the intergalactic adventure that, at worst is a thrilling movie to see with the family, and at best could be this generation’s Star Wars. One thing is certain – we will be at the theaters on Friday to find out. – Sherif

August 1 – Get on Up

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis (True Blood), Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Octavia Spencer

HEEEYYY!!! Now one more time, say that with your best James Brown impression. Couldn’t do it? That’s okay, because Chadwick Boseman sure can when he plays James Brown in the upcoming biopic titled Get on Up. If you are a fan of James Brown, soul, funk, music, and history, this movie is for you. Be prepared to get on up and enjoy this movie directed by Tate Taylor (The Help). However, get on up silently because, well, you are still in a movie theater. I honestly believe this movie is going to be great and it’ll make you feel so many emotions including excitement, happiness, sadness, and sorrow. Despite this movie being about the music of the godfather of soul, it is also about his family and his life, which has not been struggle-free. Basically, I think this movie is going to be fantastic; however, if James Brown and his music is not your thing, it is possibly the drama and the history will be enough to hold your interest. So one more time, get on up, and give it your best HEEEYYY!!! – Evan


August 5 – Dragonball Z: Battle of the Gods

Starring: Original voice cast

I’ve been trying to get into DBZ since I recently signed up for Crunchyroll, but there are just so many other great animes out that I haven’t gotten a chance to get to really dive into the series. What really has me interested is the fact that a year after its release, Funimation has taken it upon themselves to get the American theatrical release rights and is showing this in select theaters for a few nights. Something happened with a Tekken animated movie a few years back and it was definitely worth the trip. I don’t personally care about this movie and I figure that any major fan would have already seen the dubbed version, and while I don’t really care for some of the business practices of Funimation, this gives me hope for the future. Anything that gets a big enough following could be a potential candidate for the big screen. There are plenty of animes I would pay to see so if this is your type of thing, make sure to get out there and support it as it will give companies a reason to continue doing this in the future. – Robert


August 8 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Starring: Johnny Knoxville (voice only), Tony Shalhoub (voice only), Megan Fox, William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Whoopi Goldberg

August is here, and whether or not fans burn down the House that Bay built depends on this film. Long-time fans are either reserved or outraged, whether it be the way the Turtles look, the fact that Megan Fox is playing April O’Neil, or if it’s just based off the fact that Michael Bay is the director. All of these points are quite valid, but I can’t help but want to take a chance on this new take on the Heroes in a Half-Shell. We all have our own impression on what we consider the Turtles to be, and I think that any major motion picture attention to the franchise is a win in my books. There’s simply no way this TMNT incarnation will be as amazing as the originals, or even the new Nickelodeon television series, but as long as Bay can capture the magic of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that made it such an instant classic 30 years ago, it may continue to be at the forefront of pop culture for all ages. – Sherif

August 8 – What If

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver

Originally titled The F Word for its initial 2013 debut, What If is the tale of Harry Potter trying to avoid being put in the friend-zone with a decidedly hot blonde. It sounds like a cliché concept, but What If has already garnered a lot of critical acclaim, earning Best Adapted Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards. Daniel Radcliffe is finally believable as an adult actor, and his best friend in the movie is played by Adam Driver – who is the one sole reason that HBO’s Girls is a watchable show for me. This movie won’t break any new ground, but for any guys looking to get over the Friend Zone hump, this would be the movie to take her to (unless she likes TMNT, in which case you should just marry her). – Sherif

August 8 – Step Up: All In

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani, Stephen Boss, and Cyrus Spencer

Confession time:  I have seen every single episode of So You Think You Can Dance.  Every. Single. One.  I haven’t seen any of the Step Up movies, but I am always happy for the contestants of SYTYCD when they make it to gigs beyond the show.  For Stephen Boss aka tWitch and Cyrus Spencer aka Glitch, this is exactly the case.  And really, is anyone going to see these movies for the plot?  No, its a dance movie.  But the dancing should be worth seeing this film, even if it is just for the SYTYCD alum.  – Adrian

August 15 – Frank

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson (AKA Bill Weasley), Scoot McNairy

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this movie. It looks like Deadmau5 has a crack-head brother or something and we are getting to watch the story of his tomfoolery. The story of a guy who wears a fake head and never ever takes it off seems like it could be humorous but I don’t know if this is my kind of comedy. After watching the trailer my interest is definitely piqued but there are too many other things I would rather see so I would say that I will wait to rent this at Redbox or something, but truth be told I will probably forget about this movie once I’m done writing this. – Robert


August 15 – Life After Beth

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon

As much as I love these actors and zombies, I am rather sick of people being in love with monsters. Although the idea may be over done in this we see upcoming actor Dane DeHaan (Amazing Spider-Man 2) as Zach, a young man who we see struggling emotionally due to the loss of his girlfriend. This quickly changes as Zach sees Beth (Aubrey Plaza), his lost girlfriend and finds she has been resurrected somehow, and although she initially shows no signs they start to figure out she is a zombie and needs to eat human flesh. This will almost guaranteed bring laughs if for nothing else due to the cast, but ultimately it will be lost among the other blockbusters this month. It is definitely not a family film and is marketed towards the teen and young adult community. Although the film itself may be easily forgotten due to other massive films this month don’t forget it as it will likely be a well liked film among certain groups. – Jacob

August 15 – The Expendables 3

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer(?), Terry Crews, Victor Ortiz, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Initially sold as a man-gasm inducing thrill-fest, this franchise is two strokes away from permanently shooting blanks. I love action flicks as much as the next guy, and I genuinely thought the franchise was a good idea, but is there something really so wrong with just letting the legends ride off into the sunset without having to sit through multiple hours of screaming, slow-motion firefights and catchphrases that barely worked twenty years ago? Let’s be honest; nobody is watching this film for the acting, or the storyline. Twenty & thirty-something men get to see some of their action star idols duke it out as one last hurrah. The third installment gives us Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson (the new bad guy), Harrison Ford, a post-prison Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer. If the fate of the world is in Frasier Crane’s hands, we’re all screwed. There’s no way I’m influencing you’re decision to see The Expendables 3, as you’ve likely already made your decision before reading this. – Sherif

August 15 – The Giver

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift

I won’t lie.  When I see the trailer for The Giver, I get chills.  Based off the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, the movie will be a look into one boy’s world… a utopia that isn’t actually that perfect.  It feels odd to be writing a preview on this for two reasons.  One being that practically every millennial and younger have read the book in school.  The other being that if I say much more for those who don’t know the plot, there is a lot to give a way.  In short, go see this movie.  You will not be disappointed.  -Adrian

August 22 – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Starring: Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Bruce Willis

Is it 2005 again, or did Robert Rodriguez just find a way to make Jessica Alba hot again?? It’s been nearly a decade, but Frank Miller’s Sin City is coming back to the silver screen in its second installment, A Dame to Kill For. Just like last time, the star-studded cast will take turns adding their pieces to the puzzle. Sin City vets like Alba, Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin are back, but several big name newcomers will also be sharing the spotlight, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Viewers should expect multiple plot twists, both in a sequel and prequel aspect to the original. Miller and Rodriguez’s visual style also looks to be prevalent throughout the film. This is going to be a fun movie any way you look at it. If you can’t wait for the movie to come out, you can also read the graphic novel of the same name, as it was released over 20 years ago. – Sherif

August 22 – To Be Takei

Starring: George Takei

Oh my! To Be Takei is a documentary depicting the life of brilliant and ever-exuberant George Takei. It tells his story from his childhood in a Japanese internment camp to his ground breaking role on Star Trek to his coming out story and marriage. This promises to be an incredibly inspiring film, especially for anyone who has felt trapped by society just for being who they are. George cleverly reminds us in the tagline that “It’s Okay to Be Takei!” As a Trekkie and proud member of the LGBT community, I’m extremely excited to see this movie hit the big screen, On Demand, and iTunes on August 22nd.  – Charlotte


August 22 – Are You Here

Starring: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler

This movie looks like it could be a more light-hearted sequel to Due Date. The movie stars Zach Galifinakis as yet another crazy person with a myriad of issues, only this time he inherits a small fortune and everybody seems to be out to get it from him. It actually looks pretty funny but looks like it might have more of those light-hearted friendship moments than I would prefer from a movie with him in it. His usual style of comedy hasn’t yet grown old to me so this definitely looks like something worth checking out. – Robert

August 22 – If I Stay

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jaimie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Mireille Enos, and Joshua Leonard

Honestly, I have never read If I Stay.  However, it doesn’t look half bad.  The story follows a teenage celloist named Mia who has a pretty good life going on until her family gets in a fatal car wreck.  Mia experiences an out of body experience while in a coma and must decide whether to go back to living or go… elsewhere.  I don’t know whether this will appeal to the masses, but anything that gets teenagers to read seems pretty decent to me. – Adrian

August 29 – Life of Crime

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Yasiin Bey

Life of Crime reminds me of the type of comedy that my parents would have watched when I was a kid, and one that I wouldn’t have understood for the life of me. I have a feeling this could be the same way. Tim Robbins plays a rich man whose beautiful wife (Aniston) is kidnapped. When the kidnappers attempt to collect the ransom, Robbins refuses to pay. If it sounds like an idea that’s been done before, that’s because it has. The 1986 movie Ruthless People had pretty much the same premise, and Life of Crime is credited as being based off the book The Switch. I’d be lying if I said that Jennifer Aniston, Mos Def and Tim Robbins didn’t sell me on seeing the movie, but otherwise, Life of Crime doesn’t bring nearly enough to the table to make me want to sit through it. – Sherif

So Far this Week… March 5, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here bi-weekly.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

Those sneaky bastards at Rocksteady took a year off (Arkham Origins was developed by WB Montreal) so they could work on Batman: Arkham Knight, the finale to the Arkham trilogy. Coming out this year for next-gen consoles, my mind is exploding with excitement. I mean, just look at the trailer:

Norman Reedus, Daryl Dixon himself, will be joining Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show in just a few hours. I can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans they pull tonight. Just a couple days ago, Fallon, The Roots and Idina Menzel did a back-stage performance of “Let it Go” from Frozen.

People got legitimately upset when Tony Hawk and Funny or Die duped everybody into thinking hover boards had finally arrived.

The Iron Throne meets the wheelz of steel! HBO has gathered a bunch of rappers to create their very own Game of Thrones mixtape. It should give us enough material for our “Diggin’ Through the Crates” article for months. It’s expected to drop on Friday.

It’s about to go down in Arrow. Ollie may be fancied a hero in Starling City, but he’s made plenty of enemies – namely Suicide Squad and Deathstroke.

It’s been quite some time since Michael Bay has blown some shit up. A full-length trailer of Transformers 4 has been released, and, sad to say, I don’t really care what it’s about; I just wanna see Optimus Prime pimp-slap a Dinobot.

More casting for DC television shows Constantine and Gotham, among them being Harold Perrineau Jr. (one of my favorites on HBO’s Oz), who will play an angel who looks over Constantine.

To promote their upcoming Original Sin event, Marvel will be supplying the retailers willing to put up the big bucks with eyeballs. Awesome…Your move, DC.

As Deadpool has been fighting with and against everything in the Marvel universe, it was only time until he took on one of the symbiotes. Deadpool vs. Carnage comes out within the month.

He might be a nice guy in real life, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is looking mean in the brand new teaser for Sin City 2.

LeBron James’ 61 point game inspired Marvel to post a drawing of him with a Captain America mask, probably to detract from the Batman comparisons made with the black one.

Lando was one smooth guy in Star Wars, but can Billie Dee Williams still pull off the moves when he joins the cast of Dancing With the Stars?

The Justice League is flying back onto the shelves of your local grocery stores. General Mills cereal boxes with contain comic books starring the DC team of all-stars throughout the month of March.

The conclusion of The Walking Dead: Governor novels is finally here. Released on Tuesday, Fall of the Governor: Part 2 completes a long-winded series of books. We loved the first book, but the rest of them have been so lackluster, we’re debating whether or not to finish it out.