Directed by: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Powers Boothe, Ray Liotta, Jaime King, Juno Temple, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Chung, Stacy Keach, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Piven, Dennis Haysbert
A Dame To Kill For or A Dame To Die For? There's been some confusion as to just what title this movie would be released under. The print I saw sported the former moniker, but A Movie To Forget (As Quickly As Possible) would be a more fitting label.
Screenwriter Frank Miller brings his own graphic novel to the screen, but this might as well have been adapted from a Victoria's Secret catalogue, one that's had its pages welded together by a young boy discovering the joys of puberty. Every female character here is either a hooker, a stripper or a back-stabbing bitch. Eva Green spends most of her screen time naked, though well-placed shadows conveniently prevent her from revealing too much, presumably out of fear of scaring the basement dwelling, Mountain Dew chugging, Cheeto eating virgins that make up this franchise's target audience. Between this and the equally misogynistic 300: Rise of an Empire, Green might as well make the switch to porn; at least the scripts would be better.
As with its predecessor, Robert Rodriguez (who, along with Eli Roth and Rob Zombie, forms a triumvirate of filmmakers who give the impression of never having progressed beyond a mental age of 12 in their collective obsession with cheap and ugly screen scuzziness) apes the look of the source comic book (sorry - graphic novel!); it's black and white, and red all over. The bloodletting and explosions are of course delivered in colour, because those are two of the main obsessions of a 12 year old boy, but the rest of the film's colour choices seem completely arbitrary, like a teenager's first Photoshop project. It's a look that's bearable for about five minutes, but it quickly wears thin, and the tackiness of its green screen backdrops combined with the designer grime aesthetic creates an effect akin to watching The Room while being smothered by an Ed Hardy t-shirt.
The film is comprised of three storylines, but I use that term loosely. They're really just jokes with no punchlines, and are so uninspired they would have been rejected by the producers of the worst of those many anthology series that clogged up Cable TV schedules in the 80s. The climax of each leaves you asking "Is that it?," except for the final segment, which just leaves you thinking how quickly you can get to the nearest bar and drown the memory of this travesty.
Please let this be the end of the noughties revival.
By Eric Hillis