“This rotten town soils everyone,” Jessica Alba gravely intones in one of Sin City 2‘s many overwrought, Vin-Diesel-Facebook-status-update-esque narrations. To its credit, the movie delivers. I do feel soiled. Not scandalized, just dirty, thoroughly scummed on, like I just spent an hour watching groupies f*ck a sand shark for Korn tickets. And I mean f*ck a sand shark for Korn tickets in 2014, not f*ck a sand shark for the 2014 equivalent of Korn tickets. I don’t think Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller even know what the 2014 equivalent of Korn tickets is.
That’s the worst thing about Sin City 2, actually. Where I expect it to be morally bankrupt like it pretends to be, it’s also creatively bankrupt, with Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller content to keep reliving their Outsiders rebel fantasies as if Harleys and switchblades were still subversive. It’s all posturing dressed up as nihilism, but so pathologically nostalgic for a “good ol’ days” (as experienced through Elvis songs and Brando movies) that it almost seems wistful. Tough guys and muscle cars and leather oh my! It’s fetish, it’s fantasy, which is fine, but also kind of a gross fantasy to have where all the female characters are whores and the only black guy is a valet. (Also, his name is “Manute”). And not just gross, but boringly so.
Sin City 2 has essentially four types of characters:
1. Good sluts (Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, who use their sex appeal for good)
2. Evil sluts (Eva Green, who uses her constant toplessness to lead good men astray)
3. Good tough guys (Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis)
4. Bad tough guys (Powers Boothe, Stacy Keach)
There’s no real nuance or innovation to their toughness or sluttiness either, just your standard genre totems – muscle cars, motorcycles, garter belts, fedoras, f*ck-me boots, and many, many elaborately bedazzled bras. There’s also a strangely ubiquitous crucifix motif, which I’m not sure is an attempt at symbolism or just in keeping with the Like A Prayer-era Madonna sartorial theme.