REVIEW: SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL FOR

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Mickey Rourke (Immortals)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Eva Green (Dark Shadows)
Powers Booth (Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Christopher Lloyd (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Lady Gaga (Machete Kills Again)
Alexa Penavega (Spy Kids)

Just Another Saturday Night

Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car, and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling that since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy,” which Marv mishears as “Bernie.” They flee; Marv follows, stealing a Police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up. With the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called “Bernini Boy” and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy’s throat, he considers his coat and realizes he can’t remember how he acquired it.

The Long Bad Night (Part I)

Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner), with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game led by the all-powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out. One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella), warns him to flee the city, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roark’s goons suddenly attack him. He fights them off and tells Marcie to meet him at a hotel before he is escorted into the Senator’s waiting limousine. In payment for the humiliation he suffered at the card game, Roark takes back his money and uses a pair of pliers to break the fingers of Johnny’s playing hand. They toss him from the car and the Senator shoots Johnny in the leg. Roark then reveals that he recognized Johnny as his illegitimate son. However, he remarks that he only considered his dead son Roark Jr. his flesh and blood. He leaves Johnny alive, preferring to let him suffer, and Johnny swears revenge.

A Dame to Kill For

Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of Sally (Juno Temple), young hooker, who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta), he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees. When Ava arrives, she begs forgiveness for leaving him and implies she is afraid for her life before her massive chauffeur, Manute (Dennis Haysbert), arrives to escort her home. Unable to get her out of his mind, Dwight sneaks into Damien Lord’s estate, where he observes Ava swimming, but is caught and beaten. Dwight is returned home, where a nude Ava waits for him. He tries to throw her out, but can’t resist her and they make love. She tells him that Damien and Manute torture her physically and mentally, and she knows Damien will kill her soon. Manute arrives and viciously beats a naked Dwight, sending him out the window with a single punch.

Determined to rescue Ava, Dwight recruits Marv to help him, and they mount an assault on Lord’s compound. Marv attacks Manute, putting him in traction and tearing out his eye. Dwight confronts Damien Lord, who denies Ava’s accusations, and an enraged Dwight beats him to death. As he reacts in horror, Ava appears and shoots Dwight several times, taunting him and thanking him for helping her murder her husband and take over his fortune. She shoots him in the face and forces him to fall out of a window, where Marv rescues him and takes him to Old Town. Dwight’s old flame, Gail (Rosario Dawson), recognizes him and saves his life. With the help of Gail and the deadly assassin Miho (Jamie Chung), Dwight undergoes reconstructive surgery on his face and plots his revenge.

Meanwhile, two detectives, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven), investigate Damien’s death. Ava claims Dwight was an obsessive ex-lover, and he killed her husband in a jealous rage. Bob is skeptical but Ava seduces Mort, who believes her every word. They begin an affair and Ava pressures him to find and kill Dwight. When Mort, obsessed with Ava, attempts to track Dwight down in Old Town (an action that would break the truce between the police and the prostitutes), Bob attempts to stop him. An enraged Mort shoots Bob in the face, then commits suicide afterward. Out of options, Ava reluctantly partners with the mob boss Wallenquist (Stacy Keach).

Dwight (with his reconstructed new face), accompanied by Gail and Miho, poses as Wallenquist’s man from Texas. Inside Ava’s estate, however, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight’s car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .45 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims shakily at Dwight as Ava unexpectedly grabs one of Manute’s guns, shooting Manute several times. She attempts to convince Dwight to pair with her, and that the pain he suffered revealed his true intentions, but Dwight shoots her mid-kiss, and she dies in his arms.

 The Long Bad Night (Part II)

Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd), who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last $40 and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny rushes to his hotel but finds the Senator waiting for him, along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roark, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roark’s game the following night. Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roark to taunt him about his dead mother. He once again cons Roark into going all in, then reveals his winning hand. Johnny taunts his father, reminding him that tonight’s story of how the same man beat him twice will follow him for the rest of his life. His vengeance completed, Johnny smiles resignedly, a single tear running down his face as Roark shoots him in the head, commanding his men to get rid of the body.

Nancy’s Last Dance

Four years after “That Yellow Bastard”,” Nancy Callahan is in a deep depression over John Hartigan’s death. She is obsessed with getting revenge on Senator Roark for having driven Hartigan to kill himself. As she wallows in despair, the ghost of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) watches over her, unable to reach her but still attempting to help. On the same night that Johnny joins the backroom poker game, Nancy attempts to shoot Roark from the stage of Kadie’s, but she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger.
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Nancy hallucinates a visit from Roark, and shortly thereafter cuts her hair and smashes a mirror…using its shards to cut her face. She decides to get Marv to help her kill Roark by showing him the scars and making him believe that Roark was responsible. As they step out of the club, they meet a motorcycle gang there to shoot up the place. Marv kills two but leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark’s compound: Marv slaughters Roark’s bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, but Nancy continues on alone to confront Roark. Roark shoots her first in the side then the leg and is about to finish her off. Suddenly, Hartigan’s ghost appears in the mirror –startling Roark long enough for Nancy to recover and kill him.
sin-city-2-dame-to-fill-for-jessica-alba-bruce-willisThis is as visually stunning and as jaw dropping as the first film. I was thoroughly engrossed for 90 odd minutes, with the comic books faithfully reproduced. Something over and above many comic book adaptations is happening here, with plots stuck to with few liberties taken

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REVIEW: SIN CITY

CAST

Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Rosario Dawson (Clerks II)
Clive Wwen (Inside Man)
Devon Aoki (D.E.B.S.)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Alexis Bledel (Girl Walks Into a Bar)
Powers Boothe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Jaime King (Pearl Harbor)
Michael Madsen (Bloodrayne)
Brittany Murphy (Don’t Say A Word)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)

The Customer Is Always Right (Part I)

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) steps out of the elevator and walks onto a penthouse balcony overlooking Basin City, where The Customer awaits. He comforts her, the two briefly talk, share a kiss and he shoots her. As she dies in his arms, he ponders what she was running from

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That Yellow Bastard (Part I)

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) tries to stop serial child-killer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing his fourth known victim, eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan. Junior is the son of Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has bribed the police to cover up his son’s crimes. Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen) tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, only to get knocked out.  Hartigan, fighting off the pain caused by his bad heart, confronts Roark Junior, shoots off his ear, right hand and genitals. Bob shoots Hartigan in the back, revealing himself to be on Senator Roark’s payroll. As the sirens approach, Bob leaves and Nancy comforts him. Hartigan passes out, reasoning his death is a fair trade for the girl’s life.

The Hard Goodbye

After a one-night stand, Marv (Mickey Rourke) awakens to find that Goldie (Jaime King), the woman he’d been with, was killed while he slept. He flees the frame-up as the police arrive, vowing to avenge her death to repay her kindness. His parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino) warns him to give up on this mission, believing Marv may have imagined it all due to his “condition”. Marv interrogates several informants, working up to a corrupt priest who reveals that the Roark family was behind the murder. After killing the priest, Marv is attacked by a woman who looks like Goldie, which he dismisses as a hallucination caused by his “condition”.

Marv goes to the Roark family farm and is subdued by the silent stalker, Kevin (Elijah Wood), who is also Goldie’s killer. He awakens to find Lucille has been captured after looking into his story. She tells Marv that the killer is a cannibal and that his victims, including Goldie, are prostitutes. He and Lucille escape their holding cell, but Lucille is shot by the leader of a squad of corrupt cops. Marv kills the squad, interrogates the leader and finds out that Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark (Rutger Hauer) arranged for Goldie’s murder.

Marv goes to Old Town (Sin City’s prostitute-run red-light district) to learn more about Goldie, and is captured by her twin sister, Wendy, who Marv previously dismissed as a hallucination. He eventually convinces her that he is not the killer and she resolves to help him avenge Goldie. The pair return to the farm, where Marv kills Kevin. He brings Kevin’s head to Cardinal Roark, who confesses his part in the murders. Marv kills the cardinal but is then shot and captured by his guards.

After Marv’s wound are treated, he is forced to confess to killing Cardinal Roark, Kevin and all their victims. He is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Wendy visits him on death row and thanks him for avenging her sister.

The Big Fat Kill

Shellie (Brittany Murphy) is harassed by her drunken and abusive ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benecio Del Toro). When Jackie goes to the bathroom to urinate, her new lover Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen), dunks his face into the toilet, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. Angry and embarrassed, Jackie Boy leaves Shellie’s flat, and Dwight follows him to make sure he doesn’t take out his anger on another girl. Jackie Boy and his crew arrive in Old Town, where they harass Becky (Alexis Bledel), a young prostitute. Dwight runs into Gail (Rosario Dawson), Old Town’s leader and Dwight’s on-and-off lover, and the two watch the scene. When Jackie Boy threatens Becky with a gun, Miho (Devon Aoki), Old Town’s enforcer, kills the whole group. As Dwight and the prostitutes check the corpses’ personal effects, they realize Jackie Boy is actually Detective Lieutenant Jack Rafferty of Basin City Police. If the police learned how he died, their truce with the prostitutes would end and the mob would be free to wage war on Old Town

Dwight takes the bodies to a tar pit to hide them from the police. There he is attacked by mercenaries who retrieves Jackie’s head to bring back as proof of his death. Dwight nearly drowns in the tar before Miho saves him. The two kill the remaining mercenaries, retrieve the head and return to Old Town. Meanwhile, Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan), an enforcer for mob boss Wallenquist, kidnaps Gail to force Old Town to surrender without a fight. It is revealed that Becky is the one who tells the mob of Jackie’s death. Dwight offers to trade Jackie Boy’s head for Gail’s life, and meet Manute’s group in a narrow alley. As he detonates the grenade stuffed in the head, all the prostitutes, who have been waiting on top of the buildings on both sides of the alley, gun down the mob gang and kill Manute, leaving no witnesses. Becky escapes the onslaught.

That Yellow Bastard (Part II)

As Hartigan recovers in a hospital, he learns that Roark, Jr. is in a coma, the Roark legacy is in serious jeopardy and he will be framed for Junior’s crimes. A grateful Nancy, who was denied the right to testify and vindicate Hartigan, promises to write Hartigan every week while he is in prison. Hartigan goes to jail, though he refuses to confess. He receives weekly letters from Nancy for eight years. One day, the letters stop arriving and he receives a severed finger instead. Worried that the Roarks somehow tracked down Nancy, Hartigan confesses to all charges, leading to his parole. He searches for Nancy and finds her at Kadie’s Bar, where she has become an exotic dancer. As Hartigan realizes everything was a ruse just for him to lead Roark to Nancy, she recognizes him, runs off the stage and leaps onto him.

The two leave the bar in Nancy’s car, pursued by a disfigured yellow man. Hartigan wounds him and the two stay in a small motel outside of town. Nancy confesses her love for Hartigan, who rebuffs her advances citing their significant age difference. The yellow man, who turns out to be Roark Jr., overpowers Hartigan and takes Nancy to the Roark farm. Hartigan gets to the farm, kills Junior and saves Nancy. Knowing that Senator Roark will never stop hunting him, Hartigan commits suicide to ensure Nancy’s safety.

The Customer Is Always Right (Part II)

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. In the elevator she encounters The Salesman, dressed as a doctor. He offers her a cigarette, calling her by name, and she abruptly ends the call with her mother, realizing that The Salesman is preparing to kill her.

This is one of the most striking, memorable, imaginative and violent films to have come out in a long, long time. It is a cliched ridden flick where nothing is taken too seriously – especially life – and where anything goes.