Sin City: A Dame to Kill For ***Dirs: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez. With: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin. 102 mins. Cert: 18
Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s noir-inflected portmanteau Sin City offered a storehouse of lustrous CG imagery to global ad agencies, so it’s surprising how much of this follow-up – technically a prologue, reviving several characters who met their makers in 2005 – still looks fresh, each frame now adorned with Rodriguez’s typically playful 3D. The weakness is in the material: these are second-string Miller yarns, populated in a couple of instances – Josh Brolin for Clive Owen, Jamie Chung for Devon Aoki – by second-choice faces. Two out of its three tales prove snappy enough: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is nicely spry as a gambler crossing the wrong guy, while a pay-off finally rescues Jessica Alba from bland gyration. Only with the centrepiece, a torturous quadruple indemnity with the reliably bosomy Eva Green luring middle-aged masochists to their doom, does the pulp become punitive and hard to swallow. The vision remains uncompromising, however, and it dazzles far more than any sequel should.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For opens in London's West End today, then in cinemas nationwide from Monday.