Glass review

GLASS

Director : M. Night Shyamalan
Cast : James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard
Genre : Thriller/ horror
Run Time : 2 h 9 mins
Opens : 17 January 2019
Rating : PG13

Every studio wants a cinematic universe. M. Night Shyamalan sprung a surprise on viewers, as is his wont, with the reveal at the end of 2017’s Split that the film took place in the same shared universe as 2000’s Unbreakable. The ‘Eastrail #177 trilogy’ culminates with Glass.

Kevin Crumb/The Horde (James McAvoy), a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder who harbours 24 distinct personalities including the animalistic Beast, is still at large after the events of Split. When the vigilante David Dunn/The Overseer (Bruce Willis) attempts to capture Kevin, both are inadvertently caught and placed in Raven Hill Memorial Hospital. At the hospital, Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), believing Kevin and David to have delusions of grandeur, attempts to rehabilitate them. She has a third patient: Elijah Price/Mr Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), a self-styled supervillain and former comic book gallery owner with brittle bone disease.

Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), a girl who was captured by Kevin but let go; David’s son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and Elijah’s mother Mrs Price (Charlayne Woodard) band together to discover the truth behind what afflicts the three characters. Dr Staple is convinced that there are rational, non-fantastical explanations for the ‘powers’ manifested by Kevin, David and Elijah, despite appearances to the contrary. Elijah, who has been feigning catatonia the whole time, hatches a plan of escape, a plan that involves both Kevin and David. The stage for a showdown between two supervillains and a superhero is set.

At the time of Unbreakable’s release, the comic book movie boom was still around a decade away. General audiences were not yet as well-versed in the tropes of comic book storytelling as they are today, so now seems like a good time to release a follow-up to Unbreakable. Unfortunately, Glass squanders this opportunity, winding up as a colossal disappointment that seems to get in its own way at every conceivable turn.

It’s a shame because Glass isn’t a mess from the outset: we see the glimmers of potential, then watch as they are dulled, until the film seems like a big smear. The movie sets up a dynamic clash between three fascinating characters, but they feel like shadows of the people we met in earlier films. McAvoy is more annoying than unsettling as Kevin, Willis’ David is straight-up boring, and Jackson’s portrayal of a conniving mastermind is serviceable but nothing captivating.

Shyamalan gets a few pleasingly tense moments in but is unable to sustain the viewers’ attention. The film feels hemmed in by its mental hospital setting, promising a set-piece finale that winds up severely underwhelming. This undercuts the promise of a grand, explosive conclusion to the trilogy. The dialogue is unbearably clunky in spots, with Shyamalan struggling to weave in references to story arcs and devices commonly found in comic books. His trademark cameo is also entirely awkward.

Split deservedly drew flack for its use of mental illness to signal life-threatening villainy. This reviewer’s friend compared it to a Universal Monsters film, except Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy aren’t real and Dissociative Identity Disorder is a real thing. While McAvoy sinks his teeth into the challenging role, the hints of hammy over-acting in Split have all come to the surface. As a result, Kevin is never truly scary and is sometimes unintentionally funny, and it just blends into a mass of silly voices.

While it is nice to see Willis back as David Dunn and there’s also strong continuity in seeing Spencer Treat Clark reprise his role as David’s son Joseph, the character just isn’t that interesting. Perhaps it’s a side effect of how Willis has spent much of his recent career sleep-walking through many direct-to-DVD action movies. The sense of inner turmoil and the compelling nature of an ordinary man coming to terms with extraordinary gifts drew audiences to David in Unbreakable, but here, Willis just shuffles along.

Samuel L. Jackson was by no means an unknown in 2000, but now he’s just ubiquitous, and perhaps that takes away some of Elijah Price’s mystique. The character’s gimmick, that he was a self-styled supervillain, seemed novel when Unbreakable was released, but Glass does surprisingly little with it. While there’s an attempt to flesh out the relationship between Elijah and his mother, with Charlayne Woodard delivering a heartfelt performance, it seems rote rather than adding to the mythos.

Sarah Paulson is typically reliable, but seems unnatural and stiff, hamstrung by sub-par material. Anya Taylor-Joy puts her very emotive eyes to great use as Casey, but the character’s bond to Kevin feels forced, even coming off Split.

There was every opportunity for Glass to be an original, unorthodox, engaging exploration of what it means to be a hero or a villain, and of the implications of superpowers being real. Just when he seemed on the verge of a credible comeback, Shyamalan blows it with an excruciatingly clumsy movie that breaks every promise of a thrilling threequel hinted at before.

RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

 

Death Wish (2018) movie review

For inSing

DEATH WISH (2018)

Director : Eli Roth
Cast : Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris
Genre : Action, Crime, Drama
Run Time : 1h 44m
Opens : 1 March 2018
Rating : NC16 (Coarse Language And Violence)

Charles Bronson had a death wish all those years ago, and now Bruce Willis has one too. Willis picks up the mantle of Paul Kersey, Bronson’s most iconic character, in this remake of the 1974 film.

Bronson’s Paul Kersey was an architect; in this remake, the character is an emergency room surgeon instead. The good doctor’s world is torn apart when a brutal break-in to his house while he’s in the hospital leaves his wife Lucy Rose (Elizabeth Shue) dead, and their daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone) in a coma. Taking matters into his own hands, Paul tracks down the perpetrators, leaving a bloody trail through Chicago. He becomes known as the ‘Grim Reaper’, attracting the attention of Detectives Rains (Dean Norris) and Jackson (Kimberly Elise). As Paul enacts his brand of vigilante justice, he becomes blind to the further consequences his actions might have.

The first Death Wish film was based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Brian Garfield. A Death Wish remake has been in the works for a while – Sylvester Stallone first announced his intention to star in it in 2006. Joe Carnahan was attached to the project and wrote the script, but had an acrimonious falling out with the studio and disagreed vehemently with the choice of Bruce Willis as star. Gerardo Naranjo and the duo of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado then came and went, with Eli Roth finally taking the director’s seat.

This turns out to be a whole lot of trouble for nothing. The 2018 iteration of Death Wish is underwhelming and unintentionally funny. While the 1974 original was gritty and nasty, this remake doesn’t have much to say. In an attempt to update the premise, we get things like people posting memes of the Grim Reaper online. It’s all rote and pointless.

It’s not like there haven’t been any other vigilante revenge thrillers between the release of Death Wish V and now. Nearly every action star has been in a similar film, with Liam Neeson’s Taken series coming to mind. Then there are direct-to-DVD films like the John Travolta-starring I Am Wrath and the Antonio Banderas-starring Acts of Vengeance. There are hints that Death Wish might delve into the socio-political implications of modern day vigilante justice, but it treads no new ground.

Bruce Willis is a big part of why this doesn’t work. He’s appeared in mostly straight-to-video action films in recent years, and seems so checked out. The character’s extreme grief and rage never crystallises, and while Willis still has the residual action hero cred from the Die Hard films, Paul Kersey never registers as a real person.

Vincent D’Onofrio, who can be downright intimidating in the right roles, is awful as Paul’s younger brother Frank, coming off mostly as whiny and annoying. The two police detectives appear laughably incompetent, missing the most obvious clues to the Grim Reaper’s identity. The villains are generic thugs, and the female characters exist only to have horrible things happen to them to motivate the hero, just as in the source material.

Director Eli Roth is strongly associated with the horror genre, having helmed Hostel and its sequel. Roth loves his gore, and there are plenty of messy headshots and a particularly painful-looking DIY surgery scene. However, there’s a surprising lack of tension, and the film never generates real intensity. Perhaps this is a result of him being hired as a replacement, hence this feeling like work for hire.

Death Wish is the culmination of a huge amount of behind-the-scenes fuss that adds up to nothing much. While the involvement of cinematographer Rogier Stoffers ensures the film doesn’t look as cheap as Death Wish’s numerous direct-to-DVD brethren, both star Willis and director Roth seem like bad fits for this unnecessary reboot.

RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

Once Upon a Time in Venice

For F*** Magazine

ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE 

Director : Mark Cullen, Robb Cullen
Cast : Bruce Willis, Thomas Middleditch, Jason Momoa, John Goodman, Famke Janssen, Adam Goldberg, Stephanie Sigman, Jessica Gomes
Genre : Action/Comedy
Run Time : 1h 34min
Opens : 15 June 2017
Rating : M18 (Sexual Scenes And Nudity)

           In this action comedy, Bruce Willis is a dick. A private dick. Willis plays Steve Ford, a disgraced former LAPD officer who has set up shop as a detective. Steve’s domain is the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, and with the help of his beleaguered assistant John (Middleditch), Steve helps track down missing persons. The house of Steve’s sister (Janssen) is burgled, with Buddy, Steve’s beloved Parson Russell Terrier, among the stolen items. The culprit, a drug lord named Spyder (Momoa), holds Buddy hostage, demanding that Steve run several errands for him before he can have his dog back. With the help of John and surf shop proprietor Dave (Goodman), Steve must retrieve Buddy by any means possible.

Willis has been absolutely slumming it in direct-to-DVD action movies, continuing that streak with Once Upon a Time in Venice. The movie is written and directed by brothers Mark and Robb Cullen, who wrote the Willis-starring Cop Out. It’s painful to watch Once Upon a Time in Venice strain so hard to be even remotely funny. This is listless, incoherent stuff which feels like it was rejected from a network TV comedy. The best set-piece, which involves Steve skate-boarding buck naked, takes place early in the movie, with nothing approaching that level of zaniness for the rest of its duration.

The premise and the posters try to sell this as a John Wick spoof, and Once Upon a Time in Venice would have been much better had it actually been an all-out parody of John Wick. There are also shades of the far more energetic and innovative Keanu, in which a hitman’s missing cat was the linchpin of the plot. Even with swearing, nudity and violence, Once Upon a Time in Venice fails to generate even a scintilla of excitement.

The cast that the Cullen Brothers has at their disposal is not too shabby. Willis is a shadow of his former A-lister self but his declining clout notwithstanding, he still was John McClane. One would think any filmmaker would be smart enough to play up that persona in an action comedy. Silicon Valley star Middleditch can play neurotic without being unbearably annoying, but in this movie, he’s saddled with dreadfully unfunny lines. The voiceover he performs is grating.

The dependable, talented John Goodman is completely wasted, and this movie makes poor use of Jason Momoa as well. He spends most of Once Upon a Time in Venice lounging around, participating in very few action scenes. Janssen shows up for a couple of scenes, and swimsuit model Jessica Gomes is only in this movie so she can go topless. She has a sex scene with Willis, who is 30 years her senior, which is as awkward as it sounds. Adam Goldberg plays a character named “Lou the Jew”, in one of several uncomfortable moments in which mild anti-Semitism is played for laughs. Kal Penn plays a store clerk in one scene, veteran character actor Christopher Macdonald shows up in a throwaway part, and for no discernible reason, there’s a David Arquette cameo.

At once a terrible comedy and a terrible action flick, Once Upon a Time in Venice is excruciating to watch. It’s uninspired, often tasteless and awash in wasted potential. A silly, devil-may-care action comedy spoof of John Wick could have been, if nothing more, diverting entertainment. Once Upon a Time in Venice isn’t even in the same area code as entertainment.

Summary: A dismal demonstration of how low erstwhile movie star Bruce Willis has sunk, Once Upon a Time in Venice will test the tolerance of even the most hardened direct-to-DVD action movie connoisseur.

RATING: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

Marauders

For F*** Magazine

MARAUDERS 

Director : Steven C. Miller
Cast : Christopher Meloni, Bruce Willis, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Texas Battle, Lydia Hull
Genre : Action/Crime
Run Time : 1 hr 47 mins
Opens : 15 September 2016
Rating : NC16 (Violence and Coarse Language)

marauders-posterIt’s time to plunge back into straight-to-DVD action thriller purgatory with Marauders, which is being theatrically-released in places like Russia, Kuwait, and here in Singapore. Branches of Hubert National Bank, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, have been hit by brutal bank robberies executed with utmost precision. FBI agent Jonathan Montgomery (Meloni) is put in charge of investigating the robberies. Montgomery is at loggerheads with local Cincinnati cop Mims (Schaech), whom Montgomery believes is trying to sabotage the investigation. Stockwell (Bautista) and Wells (Grenier), agents working under Montgomery’s command, find clues pointing to T.J. Jackson (Battle), a rogue Special Forces soldier. Only problem is, he’s dead. As Montgomery digs further and the bank robbers strike again, he is convinced that the bank’s CEO, Jeffrey Hubert (Willis), knows more than he is letting on.

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Marauders has mediocrity coming out of its ears. At first, it seems like the film might have a certain stylishness, and the opening bank robbery is staged fairly well. However, any attention the sequence might have earned quickly falls away as the leaden and airless plot unfolds. Being convoluted is not the same thing as being compelling, and that’s the crucial mistake that Marauders makes. There is an attempt at creating a layered mystery, but director Steven C. Miller’s lack of finesse results in there being no tension or excitement whatsoever. The writing is also to blame: Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson’s screenplay heaves with clunky tough guy dialogue that’s all machismo and no impact. There is potential in the germ of the idea that it’s the bankers and not the robbers who are the ‘real’ bad guys, but even then, that’s been done before and with exponentially more pizzazz.

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This is a film in which one character’s primary motivation is the death of his wife, and another’s is his wife’s terminal illness, both played painfully straight. Christopher Meloni of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit fame has ably played tough guys who are also charming, but Montgomery is a wholly unlikeable character who’s difficult to sympathise with even after we learn his tragic back-story. Willis seems to have settled comfortably into expending no effort at all in disposable action thrillers. Here, he’s playing the head of a bank instead of the typical cop or secret agent, meaning he isn’t involved in any action scenes and thus gets to give an even lazier performance than usual.

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Marauders that would like to think it’s gritty and hard-edged, but Grenier detracts from that significantly. Even at age 40, he’s still too much of a pretty boy to be convincing as a combat veteran-turned FBI agent. Grenier pretty much is his character Vincent Chase on Entourage, albeit less successful. Despite being in Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre, Bautista is still a mainstay of direct-to-DVD films. For the bulk of Marauders, the physically-imposing actor is seated in a briefing room or at a desk, and is puzzlingly excluded from the bulk of the action.

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Ironically enough, it’s likely that Marauders would have been more watchable if it were merely a run-of-the-mill crime thriller and didn’t take stabs at social commentary. The larger conspiracy is meant to raise questions about government corruption, institutionalised banking and the way the American military conducts its operations overseas, but because Marauders lacks the wit to pull all that off, it ends up being pretentious and boring.

Summary: While Marauders wants to be more than your average direct-to-DVD crime movie, it’s woefully lacking in thrills and its mystery is too muddled to be engaging.

RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

Rock the Kasbah

For F*** Magazine

ROCK THE KASBAH

Director : Barry Levinson
Cast : Bill Murray, Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, Scott Caan, Arian Moayed, Leem Lubany, Beejan Land
Genre : Comedy
Run Time : 106 mins
Opens : 5 November 2015
Rating : NC16 (Some Drug Use And Coarse Language)
Bill Murray is out to get Afghanistan in the groove in this comedy-drama. Murray plays Richie Lanz, a washed-up rock manager whose glory days are far behind him. When he takes his remaining client Ronnie Smiler (Deschanel) to Afghanistan to perform for American troops, Ronnie abandons him, leaving Richie high and dry, stranded without money and a passport. A seasoned wheeler-dealer, Richie comes into contact with a variety of colourful personalities, including American prostitute Ms. Merci (Hudson), mercenary Bombay Brian (Willis) and cab driver Riza (Moayed). While staying the night as guests of Pashtun elder Tariq Khan (Fahim Fazli), Richie is struck by the remarkable singing voice of Tariq’s daughter Salima (Lubany). Richie makes it his mission to get Salima on the televised singing contest Afghan Star. However, an enormous uphill battle lies ahead of Salima and Richie, as it is forbidden for a Pashtun woman to sing, and doing so is life-threatening. 
Rock the Kasbah takes its name from The Clash’s song Rock the Casbah, though that song doesn’t feature in the film. Richie’s daughter informs him that he won’t find any Kasbahs in Afghanistan; the walled citadels are in North Africa. The premise is ripe for both comedy and drama, but the film’s execution does leave a fair amount to be desired. Director Barry Levinson, working from a screenplay by Mitch Glazer, attempts to gingerly balance the big belly laugh moments with some serious, sensitive thematic elements, and it doesn’t always work. Afghanistan as depicted in Rock the Kasbah plays into all the stereotypes ingrained in western popular culture: rubble is strewn through the streets, bombings are an everyday occurrence, warlords rock up to villages on horseback packing AK-47s, the whole works. At the same time, there are attempts to subvert said stereotypes and the film is dedicated to real-life Afghan Star contestant Setara Hussainzada, a woman who risked her life to pursue her musical dream. 
Rock the Kasbah has something to say, but instead of finding a meaningful way to say it, the film frantically exclaims “look! Bill Murray!” in the hopes that audiences will be more forgiving of anything else because of the film’s star. Rock the Kasbah does play to all of Murray’s strengths as a comedic actor. Richie Lanz is an experienced huckster who claims to have discovered Madonna and is eager to regale anyone with tall tales about rubbing elbows with music’s biggest stars. It’s the “loveable scoundrel” archetype through and through. He mangles Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water while strumming a rubab in front of unamused Pashtun tribal leaders and wakes up tied to the bed in a compromising position after a particularly wild night. Richie Lanz is the brash American abroad who thinks he can talk his way out of anything, and that’s right up Murray’s alley. 
The thing is, this really shouldn’t be a story about Richie Lanz, it should be about Salima Khan, the aspiring songstress. Levinson wants to avoid the standard treacly “fight for your dreams!” angle, even though that story seems like one that can be meaningfully told. Salima is played with quiet dignity and understated vulnerability by Palestinian actress Lubany, who starred in the Oscar-nominated 2013 film Omar. She performs some very pleasant covers of Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) songs, including Peace Train (this is not a subtle movie), but the focus is never really on Salima’s journey; it’s about how the wily American rock manager who helps her along. Naturally, there are other Afghan characters who are positively portrayed, namely Beejan Land’s charismatic and canny Afghan Star host Daoud Sididi and Arian Moayed’s friendly cab driver/translator Riza, but they all play second fiddle to the American characters. 
Rock the Kasbah is a reasonably star-studded affair, with big(-ish) names brought in to play what essentially are caricatures. Deschanel’s long-suffering Ronnie Smiler is only in this as a plot catalyst, bailing out on Richie after being fed up with her lack of prospects under his management. Willis brings his comedic chops to bear, though we are disappointed that the movie doesn’t reference his blues singer alter ego Bruno Radolini. Hudson seems miscast as the temptress “hooker with a heart of gold”, since she’s more sunny than sultry, but she is better here than in many of the sub-par romantic comedies she’s headlined. Rounding out the cast are Danny McBride and Scott Caan as a pair of con men/arms dealers. They appear to have been inspired by the real-life stoners-turned-gunrunners who are the subjects of the book Arms and the Dudes
Entertaining and funny but occasionally misguided, Rock the Kasbah seems afraid to dive into the weighty material at hand in order to avoid alienating audiences, counting on Murray to make everything go down smoother. Rock the Kasbah touches on America’s involvement in Afghanistan and the way woman are treated in the Middle East, but coming at this from a humorous angle is about as tricky as it sounds. 
Summary: Rock the Kasbah leans heavily on the comic presence of its leading man, sometimes at the expense of meaningfully digging into the themes it sets out to shed light on. 
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
Jedd Jong 

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

For F*** Magazine

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR 

Director : Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Cast : Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Juno Temple, Jaime King, Bruce Willis, Jamie Chung, Lady Gaga, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven
Genre : Action/Thriller
Opens : 8 August 2014
Rating : R21 (Violence, Nudity & Sexual Scenes) 
Running time: 102 mins
SC2_1sh_FINALBasin CITY. A cesspool dripping with BLOODand ALCOHOLand SEXand GRIME. A grimy CESSPOOL. NINE years after the FIRSTmovie, we RETURN. FOUR interlocking stories. “Just ANOTHERSaturday NIGHT” – Marv (Rourke) BEATS up PUNKS and hangs off the side of POLICE CARS. “The Long BAD Night” – Johnny (Gordon-Levitt), a self-assured young gambler, beats Senator Roark (Boothe) in a GAMEof POKER. Big MISTAKE. “A DAMEto Kill For” – Ava Lord (Green), sly WICKEDNESS taken the form of a WOMAN. She CASTSher SPELLupon former flame Dwight (Brolin) once more. Can he ESCAPE this enchantress’ GRASP? “Nancy’s Last DANCE” – stripper Nancy (Alba) is victim no MORE. She seeks to AVENGE the death of Hartigan (Willis), her PROTECTOR. AVENGINGhis DEATH. Her crosshairs are SET on Roark.
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            This reviewer had planned to write the whole thing in the style of Frank Miller but gave up after that paragraph. The first Sin City film broke its share of ground by hewing closely to the stylisation Miller had drawn into his graphic novels, using visual effects and cinematography to replicate the striking aesthetic of the Sin City books. Black and white with occasional violent bursts of selective colour, often lapsing into animated silhouettes. Miller was initially reluctant to allow an adaptation to be filmed, but Robert Rodriguez won him over and they became co-directors on both movies. It’s nine years later and it’s not quite so novel anymore. In-between then and now we’ve had the likes of 300 and the dismal The Spirit, the latter directed by Miller himself. It’s still a great gimmick and we bet this movie is stunning in 3D (we saw the 2D version). However, any gimmick can only carry a film so far.

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            The movie is clearly striving for a noir feel but so much of the Frank Miller dialogue, in reaching for a hard-boiled attitude, comes off as laughably silly. “It’s another hot night. The kind of night that makes people do sweaty, secret things,” Dwight says in voiceover. When he gets kicked in the crotch, he describes it as “an atom bomb go(ing) off between my legs.” The intensity of all the brutal, wince-inducing violence in the film ends up being undercut by the writing. “A Dame to Kill For” has as its central character an evil, manipulative, often-naked seductress. Eva Green vamps it up entertainingly as is her speciality, but there’s not much more to Ava Lord than that – she’s a textbook femme fatale. The character’s speech about the nature of insanity and evil from the graphic novel, which would have added a layer or two, is cut. “Nancy’s Last Dance”, an original story written for this film, also undoes everything the character went through in the first film. Nancy, that narrow beam of light that was able to escape the darkness of Sin City, is now just another avenging angel. “The Long Bad Night”, the other original story, is carried by Gordon-Levitt playing against Boothe but is never wholly compelling.

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            The film’s ensemble cast gets to play it up in ways few other movies would let them, to mostly entertaining results. Josh Brolin, playing Dwight before the character had plastic surgery to look like Clive Owen, is convincingly tough and grizzled. Powers Boothe is a hoot as a “love to hate” villain of the most extreme variety. Gordon-Levitt sinks his teeth into playing Johnny in his transition from cocksure and feeling untouchable to wounded and seething. The afore-mentioned Green, taking the role long-linked to Angelina Jolie, does look like she’s having a ball and seems extremely comfortable with the nigh-gratuitous nudity. Speaking of showing skin, Jessica Alba famously has a no-nudity clause but given Nancy’s get-ups in this film, she might as well be naked. Her attempts at playing an angry Nancy galvanised into taking up arms against Roark are ropey at best. Bruce Willis plays a ghost. Odd sense of déjà vu there.

            In 2005, before the full-on boom of movies based on comic books and graphic novels that we’re experiencing now, Sin Citywas unlike anything else out there. It was striking, bold and impactful. Now, the cool factor of the film being shot on a digital back-lot with everything but the actors and key props computer-generated has subsided. As over the top as A Dame to Kill For is, it falls short of the visceral oomph the first film had. Comic book fans know Frank Miller as a writer and artist who helped define the medium with the likes of The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, but who seems to have lost his mind, judging from the atrocious likes of Holy Terror and All Star Batman and Robin. His misogynistic attitudes and obsession with dark faux-poetry are on full display in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Robert Rodriguez serving as little more than his errand boy.

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Summary: There’s no kill like overkill –Sin City: A Dame to Kill For brims with eye-catching imagery and uncompromising depictions of violence and sex, but there is little beneath its glossy, lurid surface.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Jedd Jong