Returning to Sin City: What To Expect From A Dame To Kill For
*SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST FILM AND THE SEQUEL FOLLOW*
It’s been nine years, but the memories of my first trip to Sin City are still as vibrant as the first time I saw it. It’s a twisty-turny story filled with hardened anti-heroes, gorgeous babes, and repulsive villains. It was grim for sure, but the combination of blazing action set pieces and a classic noir atmosphere was brilliantly realized. Now Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are aiming to give us a double dose of vice, misery, and mayhem with the sequel to their 2005 Neo-Noir hit, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Like it’s older brother, A Dame to Kill For is told through a series of hard-boiled vignettes which star some of Hollywood’s brightest. Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and Powers Boothe all return to reprise their roles from the first film while newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, and Juno Temple prepare to add their own brand of madness to the series. Because of some scheduling problems and heartbreaking tragedies (RIP Michael Clarke Duncan), it was also necessary to find actors who could step into the shoes of previously established characters. Jeremy Piven will be replacing Michael Madsen as Willis’s dopey partner Bob while Dennis Haysbert steps into Duncan’s place as the towering behemoth Manute. But the wild card in this deck of psychos is Josh Brolin who will be taking over Clive Owen’s role as Dwight McCarthy, a private dick whose attempts to stay out of trouble only serve to give him big heaping helpings of the stuff.
While most cast changes tend to be distracting, the addition of Brolin actually serves to follow the story’s continuity quite well. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie or read the comics, so let’s just say Dwight ain’t the same guy he is between A Dame to Kill For and Sin City. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, you should know that linearity isn’t in the filmmaker’s vocabulary. These stories will bound back and forth between timelines, so characters that you once thought were taking the big sleep could be alive and well in the next scene. In other words, leave your expectations at home, you won’t be needing ’em.
With all that said, here’s the skinny on the short stories that will be showcased in A Dame to Kill For:
1. A Dame to Kill For
Rodriguez, Miller, and William Monahan (Academy-Award winning screenwriter of The Departed) adapted this part of the film straight from the second volume of the Sin City series. When Dwight McCarthy bumps into his ex-lover, the lovely, predatory Ava Lord (Eva Green) he learns that she’s trapped in the grip of her abusive, scumbag husband Damien (Marton Csokas). Not one to see a lady in trouble, McCarthy decides to help her take down the creep with the hopes of rekindling the relationship they once had. But, as with most “love” stories in Sin City, things aren’t exactly as they appear, and Ava’s intentions are far more sinister than she lets on. Although Brolin is now cast as Dwight, one can’t help but wonder if there is going to be a cameo by Owen for the latter part of the story after Dwight’s gotten his facial surgery. After all, the first film did take place after the whole Lord incident so it’d make sense. Marv, Gail, and Miho are all players in this story so it stands to reason that we should probably expect a good chunk of screen time with Rourke, Dawson, and Jamie Chung. The clash between Marv and Manute will undoubtedly be heavy and harsh and it’ll probably put Marv’s scuffle with Kevin to shame.
2. Just Another Saturday Night
This one’s all Marv. Lifted from the pages of Miller’s short story collection Booze, Broads, and Bullets, this story begins with Marv waking up from one hell of a bender to find himself overlooking the Projects. To make matters worse he sees that he’s surrounded by a bunch of dead college kids. For Marv, it isn’t a question of who wasted these clowns; he knows beyond any doubt that it was him. The real conundrum is why he killed them. With nothing better to do, he sets out to piece together the events of that hazy Saturday night. This story takes place just after Hartigan takes Nancy from Kadie’s in That Yellow Bastard but that doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing a lot from them. As previously stated, the focus is going to be on our most beloved brute Marv and how he figures out what these punks did to piss him off.
3. The Long Bad Night (original story)
If you haven’t heard of this one, don’t fret; it’s just as new to you and me as it is to the filmmakers. Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a cocksure gambler who’s looking to take down one of Sin City’s biggest crooks at his own game. But after Johnny’s scheme goes belly up, he has to fight for his life against a whole criminal organization. Along the way he meets a pretty stripper named Marcy (Julia Garner) who could be the help he’s looking for… or another unwelcome addition to his list of woes. Questions are everywhere with this one; who’s the villain Johnny’s gunning for? Is he new to the series or something the filmmakers cooked up special for us? And are we going to get some cameos from Sin City’s other miscreants? It has been confirmed that Stacy Keach has been cast as Herr Wallenquist, the leader of the Basin City mob so who’s to say that he isn’t who Johnny’s after. The secrecy surrounding this story makes me think that it may have the biggest surprises in the film.
4. The Fat Loss (original story)
For those of you wondering what ever happened to skinny, little Nancy Callahan after the events of That Yellow Bastard, it looks like there’s gonna be some answers. After Hartigan iced himself in order to protect her, Nancy has been having an understandably hard time coping with his death. Miller and Rodriguez have hinted that Nancy’s not the shy young lady that she used to be. After all the crap that she’s had to put up with, she’s looking to get some retribution, both for herself and her fallen guardian angel. She’s out for blood, and it looks like her main target may be Senator Roark, the father of the lecherous mongrel that tried to rape her. Or maybe she’ll be going after some other breed of slime that’s been causing her trouble. We’ll only know once the film is released.
While a lot has changed in the ten years since Rodriguez and Miller gave us their first noir extravaganza, it doesn’t seem like the time has hindered their passion for the project. If anything, the advances in CGI-tech have allowed the directors to make the film even more vivid and stylized. The classy monochrome from the original is still a sight to behold, so one can only imagine how crisp and brilliant A Dame to Kill For will look like. We have yet to see a trailer, but I’m sure once it hits theaters it’ll make a big splash. Moreover, the Rodriguez/Miller team have decided to shoot the flick in 3D. Plus, it looks like the filmmakers are already placing a lot of stock into the quality of this picture; ideas for Sin City 3 are already being tossed around. Hopefully we’ll get to see what they’ve got cooking before the next century.
If Sin City was just the tip of the iceberg, there’s no knowing what manner of lunacy is in store for us come this August. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be pretty. This is a town where the weak perish by the bushel, where the wicked thrive and luxuriate in spitting on the noble. The only justice is that which people are willing to take for themselves. Heroes don’t exist; there are just people who are willing to become bad guys to take down the worse guys. It’ll be mean. And it’ll be messy. Sin City; who wouldn’t want to visit?
What do you think? Leave a comment.