Sin City

Bomb Rating: 

I'm all for shameless female nudity in movies, but Rodriguez trots out his actresses sort of like boxing promoters trot out ring girls between rounds.

After watching this film, here's my question: Do Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino lick each other's balls? Seriously, there must be the biggest circle jerk in the history of cinema taking place between these two guys and all their pals in Hollywood.

There's some kind of credit at the beginning of the film for "Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino." I mean, like it's not enough that every geeky comic book freak in the universe is going to be in line at this film opening night, Rodriguez has to create a bona fide spoogefest by offering up Tarantino's name like he's the "New Sucking Power" on Rodriguez's spiffy vacuum.

While Rodriguez may feel that he's giving Frank Miller the credit he deserves by making him co-director, the film is an absolute homage to "Pulp Fiction." It's "Pulp Fiction" with funny colors. It amps up the style and it amps up the dialogue until we feel like we're watching film noir straight out of the Mike Hammer School for Failed Writers. To top it all off, it has the same storytelling device used in "Pulp Fiction," in which a bunch of different stories intersect.

There's a brief scene with The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) and then we skip to Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saving a little girl about to be raped by Junior (Nick Stahl). Then we're off to the story of Marv (Mickey Rourke) who wakes up next to a dead hooker named Goldie (Jaime King) and gets all vengeful, leading to Kevin (Elijah Wood) and a bunch of trouble. Then there's Dwight (Clive Owen), who goes after Jack Rafferty (Benicio Del Toro) after Rafferty does his girlfriend (Brittany Murphy) wrong. Dwight's story gives us the full glimpse of old town where the women run the place. Then it's back to Hartigan and Nancy (Jessica Alba) for the final touches.

I'm all for shameless female nudity in movies, but Rodriguez trots out his actresses sort of like boxing promoters trot out ring girls between rounds. Hey, look, Rodriguez got the mom from "Spy Kids" to be butt-ass naked in a film. Then, the hooker played by Rosario Dawson is wearing a see-through top over a skin-colored piece of spandex and we're left to ponder the wording in her contract. Jaime King is naked. Jessica Alba isn't. It's kind of like breast roulette.

"Sin City" is not just an exercise in style over substance; it's a retread of a film that was itself a retread. Perhaps there's some lingo in postmodernism that would make that sound like an achievement, but I doubt it.

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