Frank Miller’s Sin City has finally made its way back to the big screen, so far removed from the original film that I wonder if there is anyone who even remembers in great detail what happened in the first installment. I’m not sure that it matters because this film, like that one, is just a jumble of plots and characters, that have a little overlap but nothing like comprehensive story. The film is visually breathtaking. There is not a single negative thing I can say about what how it looks, every image, every shot, every sequence is like a work of art. But you can only stare at the Mona Lisa for so long before you want it to do something. Anything.

Eva Green as Femme Fatale in "Sin City 2"

Eva Green as Femme Fatale in “Sin City 2”


The cursor blinks on off on off on off. The blinding snow white of page, electronic vessel of judgment, sits in front of me. How did I get here? What have I done? I don’t remember.


The truck pulls into the parking space. BEARS (30’s), larger, heavy-metal-haired film programmer and journalist, gets out; he looks around. It’s a mall on the outskirts of town. There used to be people here, many shopping people, but they’ve moved on, to other retail options, mostly north to a trendy enclave called The Domain.


Bears pushes through the glass doors into the sterile, empty halls. Here, in the protection afforded by roofs and air conditioning, the teens are left to find gifts at Spencer’s and discuss topics that are hot and to see movies. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guardians of the Galaxy. This is not what he is here for. He steps inside, searching for a long line, a throng of excited fans, maybe even dressed in character, black and white costumes from tonight’s film. He finds about 20 people clutching their paper invites. He asks someone in a uniform:


Is this the Sin City 2 screening?

My fingers reach out to the keyboard, I pause. Never lose control. Never let the monster out. But they have it coming. I still smell days later from the stink of that night.

Sin City 2: Joseph Gordon Levitt

Sin City 2: Joseph Gordon Levitt

The directors have thrown together four storylines, all tied to one location. One of them directly refers back to the original film, the Jessica Alba – Bruce Willis storyline. I know this because their entire storyline consists of both of them talking in the past tense as voice over about things not happening on screen. That and a few laughable image flashbacks. They are laughable because out of context, a two second shot of Nick Stahl as That Yellow Bastard feels like it is coming from a different movie. It plays as comedy. As do a lot of the fight scenes, which are so over the top and unrealistic they were met with giggles at the screening I attended, and not the good kind. Or maybe they were. I don’t know. Everyone seems to be pushing their way to the front of the line to praise this film, one which I found pointless, lifeless, ridiculous and derivative.

How did I get here? I love to write about film and to support filmmakers. I want to amplify their voices, give their films wings to soar. But they said the name of the film in the film. And they even used it in the trailer.


Bears selects a seat on the end. With a monolithic soda, he usually doesn’t make it through a film without having to leave during the end of the act two. Other journalists have already staked their claims, struck up conversations.

Enter ERIN, Bears’ wife. He waves to her. She’s a lawyer and carries the baggage of her important day doing important things with her as she sits down next to Bears.


Did you even like the first one?


I don’t remember. I think so. It looked good.


Are we going to need to remember what happened?


I don’t think so.

The cursor mocks me. On off on off. I want to send a fist through the pretty twenty-seven inch iMac, but I don’t. Writing a review for Sin City 2. All of a sudden this doesn’t seem like the brightest idea I’ve ever had. I close my eyes, knowing full well that cursor will still be blinking when I reopen them. Taunting me from the screen like the film did last Tuesday night. Sin City’s what you watch with your eyes open, or what’s the point at all? How did I get here? I don’t know.

Sin City 2: Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis

Sin City 2: Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis

I wouldn’t say I am a Robert Rodriguez fan, but I enjoy a lot of his work. And I love that he refuses to play the game, refuses to get pigeon-holed into one type of genre. He follows his passions and does what he wants. This is one of the reasons Sin City 2 is so disappointing. It’s not only an incredibly dull film, its also wholly unnecessary. Whereas 9 years ago, the style and processes used to make the original film were fresh and different, and putting a comic book on screen was a novel idea, now it’s just once more down the same street. Plus nine years later, you’d thing they’d be better at it. I don’t care that the original comics are disjointed and tell unconnected stories. I don’t go to the movies to see the comics. I can read the comics. Tell me a story that transports you into another world. The one storyline that has any sort of beating human heart, featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a card shark who can’t lose, is given the least amount of screen time. In fact none of the storylines ever really seem to get going, as overwhelmed as they are with the constant need to narrate every single moment of the film.

I begin. Or rather, something inside me has started, and I cannot stop it. The monster. Never let the monster out. The monster wants that time back. Rodriguez is like a saint in this city, is it safe to speak out against him? Don’t avenge me, monster. It’ll be the death of you.


Erin takes Bears’ arm and leads him away from the theater. They walk in silence. A car pulls out of a parking space, hesitates, and then drives on. They reach Erin’s car.


That movie wasn’t very good.


I’m sorry. It looked pretty though.


Well, at least it was free.


It’s never free.


What are you going to write?

Never let the monster out.


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