The worst thing I can say about this brutal, sexy and surprisingly enjoyable screen translation of two stories from Frank Miller’s Sin City series of graphic novels is that it’s a sequel. The first film was released in 2005 and it was damn good. Naturally, fanboys expected a follow-up. But they had to wait nine long years to get it. Robert Rodriguez was wise enough to ask Frank Miller to direct with him once again. And it’s always good to see Mickey Rourke as Marv, the ex-con with a Frankenstein jaw line. The first story focuses on Joseph Gordon Levitt, who plays a young gambler who dares to take on senator Roark in a game of high stakes poker. That guy is asking for trouble, and he gets it. Then there’s Eva Green (still naked from that “300” sequel), who is the definition of…wait for it…a dame to kill for! P.I. Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin, replacing Clive Owen) falls under her charm and finds himself in hot water. I’ve already said too much. The kick is watching Rodriguez try to top himself with gross-outs. Of course he goes too far. Blood and violence are one thing, but eye gouging? Ouch! The downside of this entertaining sequel is that it feels a lot like deja-vu. Unlike the first film, this one doesn’t always explode onscreen. It’s a shame, because there is so much to enjoy here, and yet the film is weakened by a dull final act. These shortcomings don’t seem to bother some fans. I wish they didn’t bother me as much as they do…but I can’t help thinking how much better and stronger the film could have been.
But hey, it is a sequel after all. We shouldn’t expect miracles.