Film Face-off: 'Sin City' vs. 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Film Face-off: 'Sin City' vs. 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Aug 25, 2014

In 2005 we were given the gift of the beautiful, graphic, black, white and bloody violent good time known as Sin City. People clamored for more, and Hollywood listened... eventually. Just less than a decade later, we have Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Now we can get on with this week's Film Face-off of Sin City versus Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which we'll now just refer to as A Dame to Kill For.


The Dames

Sin City

Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) strips, Goldie and Wendy (Jaime King) are twins, Shellie (Brittany Murphy) and Becky (Alexis Bledel) are annoying, Miho (Devon Aoki) cuts, Lucille (Carla Gugino) is fetching, and Gail (Rosario Dawson) likes her outfits.

A Dame to Kill For

Nancy still strips, Goldie and Wendy are still twins (and both alive), Gail really likes her crazy outfits, Marcy (Julia Garner) is arm candy, Sally (Juno Temple) is a hooker, and Ava (Eva Green) is the titular dame to kill for.

Winner: Sin City. This isn't even close. Alba doesn't do herself any favors in returning to the character of Nancy. This time, she drinks, takes some target practice, and half-asses it up onstage at Kadie's Bar. She decides to mope about Hartigan (Bruce Willis) killing himself in Sin City for her sake, which is understandable, but not enjoyable to watch. The highlights of the first film consist of Nancy being worthy of saving, Gail being tough, and Gugino simply being in the film. A Dame to Kill For offers Green doing a very poor channeling of Katharine Hepburn. She's the only one truly trying to play this as a period piece, and she doesn't have the chops. They tell us time and time again that Ava is worth it, but we don't see it (beyond the nudity). In fact, Alba can take pride she's not the worst actress in the film.


The Guys

Sin City

Marv (Mickey Rourke) is dumb and strong, Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is a no-nonsense cop, the Man (Josh Hartnett) is a hit man, and Dwight (Clive Owen) defends his girlfriend, along with all women.

A Dame to Kill For

Marv is dumber and stronger, Hartigan is a ghost, and Dwight (Josh Brolin) is a lot angrier. Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is really good at cards, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven) are detectives.

Winner: Sin City. This isn't even close. Piecing this together, Marv's last chapter occurred in Sin City. He was dumb, but had a heart of gold. This time around he just thinks it's fun to hit and hurt. He's mainly reduced to the role of sidekick muscle. In A Dame to Kill For you can hear Willis' Hartigan attempt to channel his Sixth Sense tone, but it just doesn't work. Brolin's Dwight is good, but he's going at full tilt right away, and comes off as a mini Marv, which didn't feel like the case at all with Owen's Dwight. Johnny is really lucky or really good at gambling, the film never bothers to explain. Since Johnny's story is split in two, it feels really odd when he sheds a tear for someone who dies, mainly because death doesn't matter in this world. Ultimately, Johnny's journey feels hollow. Stacy Keach and Christopher Lloyd show up for a few seconds in A Dame to Kill For, which is odd, confusing and amusing.


The Evil

Sin City

Roark Jr./Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl) likes little kids too much, Kevin (Elijah Wood) is a quiet killer, Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) is possessive, and Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan) is tough.

A Dame to Kill For

Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) is extremely evil, Manute (Dennis Haysbert) is still really tough, Joey (Ray Liotta) is in the film for a second, and yes, we know Ava is evil.

Winner: Sin City. This isn't even close. There was a grotesque level of evil with Sin City that A Dame to Kill For never reaches. In A Dame to Kill For, Senator Roark seems to suffer from sitting at the top of Mt. Evil, so he constantly has to think about even worse things to do to people. Mainly, he just wants to talk about how mean he is. There is a little sadness with Manute this time around, but that's not something we were craving. It's Kevin, Yellow Bastard and Jackie Boy that really crush the competition here. Kevin and Yellow Bastard make you believe bad things can happen to the scarred heroes. Jackie Boy is simply fun, especially when he's got a gun sticking out of his head.


The Violence

Sin City

There is a lot of death. From fists, to knives to guns there are many weapons of choice.

A Dame to Kill For

There is a lot of death. Yes, fists, knives and guns are used, but also arrows.

Winner: Sin City. This isn't even close. Sure, the white arrows in this mostly black-and-white world are nice to see fly into the heads of our nameless victims. That's not enough. Miho is much more cartoonish in his graphic novel world. Here she bounds around, flicking off everyone's head with her sword. There are just too many moments in A Dame to Kill For when the hero is just a few feet away from bad guys with guns firing, yet there are no consequences. Marv takes care of Kevin in Sin City by removing his limbs. Hartigan takes care of Yellow Bastard by pulling off his penis. These are moments that stick with you. The violence is extreme, but not mindless.


The Nudity

Sin City

While many characters are scantily clad, Lucille is topless, and we also see her butt. Goldie is topless in a heart-shaped bed (and dead).

A Dame to Kill For

Once again, scantily clad is a theme. Sally is nude while seducing Joey. We can't remember a moment when Ava is wearing clothes.

Winner: Sin City. Green, with the help of directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, makes her boobs boring. Look, we didn't plan on having a "Nudity" category, but that's what A Dame to Kill For wants you to focus on. Ava does occasionally have clothes, but it becomes amusing, and pointless, with how many different ways she can go topless. Lucille leaves you wanting more. Ava makes you realize you can get tired of looking at perfect breasts. What has this film done to us?


OVERALL WINNER: Sin City beats Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, 5-0.

We haven't had a clean sweep in a while, but Sin City easily deserves it. Sometimes less is more (nudity), and sometimes more is more (violence that matters), but the important thing here to remember is that A Dame to Kill For is more of what you don't need. Everything you loved about the first film is slightly worse the second time around. This is mainly true about Marv, Hartigan and Nancy. We wanted more, we got it, but it wasn't worth the wait.




Categories: Features, In Theaters
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