The world of Frank Miller’s Sin City was a stunner when it first appeared in print in the early 90’s and on the big screen in 2005. Basin City, as imagined by Miller, was a gritty, sleaze-infested, noir-inspired sinkhole dropped into the middle of the American West. Smoke curled into tendriled, threatening plumes, guns fired like lightning cracks in a stormy night, and the men and women who lived there chewed nails and spit out lurid pulp afterwards.
Sin City was called neo-noir, but the truth is that it was far and away from the slow-cooked, curdled tension of that genre. Instead it played like the violent, hyperactive visions that the down-trodden, ne’er do’well inhabitants of noir conceived in their wildest dreams. It was mean, overcooked, juvenile and fascinating. The problem with returning to the well of a stylish original with its hair-on-fire is that familiarity tends to replace surprise and wonder.
It figures then, that Sin City: A Dame To Kill For manages to up the original’s ante of stylized, gob-smacking visuals, lusty affairs, nubile babes, and brutal encounters while still feeling like the reheated leftovers of 2005. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller return to a very similar cast and milieu as the original—in some cases trading out one actor for another—and retain the segmented, anthology structure that tells three stories that intermittently intersect with one another.