Mike Gold: Sinful Sin City

I had a whole rant plotted out in my mind, but when my fingers hit the keyboard I decided against it. Perhaps I’m mellowing in my antiquity. I hope not, as being not-mellow is how I make my living. Maybe it’s because I’m going to this weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con, always a wonderful event, and I’m awash in breathless anticipation.

Well, either way, I’ve got a deadline and ComicMix’s editor-in-chief is an asshole (not to be confused with this column’s editor, Adriane Nash, who is not an asshole) and I’ve got all these Sin City thoughts attacking my brain like anti-bodies at a clown orgy and I’m willing to share. Let’s see how long it takes for me to become non-mellow.

Fellow ComicMixer Martha Thomases and I saw Sin City: A Plot To Kill With last week. I enjoy going to the movies with Martha because, together, we tend to like just about everything we see. We have a spirited and usually positive conversation afterwards, often at the fabled Katz’s Delicatessen on New York’s lower east side, where we both enjoy the pickles.

This time, well, not so much. Maybe it’s because we were creatively filling time before the Doctor Who season debut. Maybe because we went to an Italian restaurant where they didn’t serve pickles, although the garlic bread was great. But, you see, I’m spending all this time talking about food instead of the movie. That alone should tell you something.

It’s not that A Plot To Kill With was a lousy movie. It was, essentially, a remake of the first one. The rule of thumb for sequels and remakes is “what about this is different from the original and, at the same time, worthwhile.” There are plenty of sequels that equal or exceed the source material: From Russia With Love, Godfather II, Spider-Man II (the real one, not the doppelganger featuring the Flying Nun), and quite a few others. But if “they” were to do a sequel to The Maltese Falcon (and they sort of did, and it sucked) it would have to pick up a dozen years later with Humphrey Bogart waiting for Mary Astor to get out of prison.

Oh, wait. They did that. It was called Blues Brothers 2000.

Sin City Il Secondo brought us nothing new. The Frank Miller comics-to-movies style is no longer new. It’s been used in most subsequent Frank Miller films. These days, I watch that stuff and I wonder if Lynn Varley gets royalties. Most of the multiple plotlines simply vanish into a haze that is more boring than it is confusing. There’s some truly fine performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni and Christopher Lloyd, but storywise I’m reminded of what happened when they poured acid on the Toons in Who Killed Roger Rabbit.

Worse still, the amazing thing about the first movie – the surprisingly powerful performance from Mickey Rourke – was just lame. His character was predictable and not engaging and, even worser, his Marv prosthetics weren’t as impressive as they were in the first movie. He looked like he was wearing a Ben Cooper mask.

Sin City Le Deuxième was one of those unfortunate movies that got worse upon reflection. When we left the theater we didn’t particularly feel we wasted our time. With each passing day, that feeling faded and by now I want my time back.

I looked up the opening weekend box office receipts. Sin City Zwei pulled in $24.00. That means: a) we didn’t see it in 3-D, and b) we were the only ones in North America who paid to get in.

And that means the entire rest of North America is smarter than we were.