“Prove you’re still worth a damn…”
It’s a statement uttered by more than one citizen of Basin City, a place generously painted with the impossibly dark shadows of classic noir, where everyone smokes filterless cigarettes, drinks their bourbon straight up, and a smile is a sign of weakness, madness, or both. It’s a place where it’s easy to lose your way, and, if you’re not careful, lose everything else, as well. So when three of Sin City’s biggest hard luck stories are given a chance to do something to prove that they are still worth a damn, it’s no surprise that they do so without any concern for themselves. In Sin City, life is cheap. Redemption is forever.
For Marv (Rourke), a disfigured psychopath with a soft spot for the fairer sex, his redemption comes in avenging the murder of Goldie, a prostitute who he only knew for one booze fueled night, but was nicer to him in that short time than anyone in his entire life.
Meanwhile, Hartigan (Willis) lives only to protect Nancy (Alba), a girl he rescued from the clutches of a murderous pedophile named Junior (Stahl) when she was only eleven years old. However, Junior is the son of a powerful politician, and Hartigan finds himself taking the fall for Junior’s crimes. He is sent to jail for eight years, where the only thing that keeps him going is Nancy’s weekly letters. When Hartigan gets out, he senses the girl is in danger, but when he tracks her down at the club where she now dances, he realizes that he’s led Junior (disfigured and jaundiced as a result of Hartigan’s brutal “arrest”) right to her.
And, finally, there’s Dwight (Owen), a good man with a good heart who stands up to Rafferty (Benicio Del Toro), the abusive ex-boyfriend of Dwight’s current gal. When Dwight’s pursuit of Rafferty takes them into the prostitute controlled territory of Old Town, Rafferty’s secret leads to a breakdown in the fragile truce between Old Town’s girls and the crooked police who have left them to their own devices. Gail, the leader of the hookers (and Dwight’s former flame), sees a war brewing, but Dwight is convinced he can undo the mess he helped to create.
Robert Rodriguez’s digital ode to Frank Miller’s pulp comic series is more than just an adaptation of the writer/artist’s work; it’s the comic come to life, panel by high contrast panel. Shot in black and white (with occasional splashes of red, yellow, and blue) on a soundstage, with the grimy streets, classic cars, and dank atmosphere of Miller’s permanent midnight world digitally inserted in afterward, this is both Rodriguez’s love letter to the comic genius (Miller is even credited as co-director, which, sadly, led to his green-screen raping of The Spirit), as well as the digital maverick’s greatest argument for the medium yet. It’s a meticulously crafted example of something that simply could not have been done with traditional cameras and film, and makes for the most faithful comics-to-film translation yet. However, Sin City is so much more than a simple piece of eye candy. It’s a sexy, bloody, brilliant and completely exhilarating joyride through the darkest alleys of the human condition.
Sin City shoots its way onto Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p 1.85:1 transfer that is nothing short of a visual knock-out punch. The film's limited color spectrum (black, white, grey, and the occasional splash of red and yellow) is reproduced perfectly, with an astonishing sense of depth and dimension that, as with many of the "animated" films I've seen on Blu, gives the film a three-dimensional quality. Blacks are inky and true, lines are clean and well-defined, and, as for the detail, well, just give Marv's craggy, scarred visage a look-see, and you'll get just about all of the detail you can handle, bub.
Audio is no slouch, either, with gut-busting bass rattling the floorboards throughout, accompanied by a symphony of surround effects, crisp dialogue, and Rodriguez' hard-as-nails score. This is just an incredible presentation all the way 'round, folks. Spin this disc and prepare to be amazed.
This two-disc special edition set is packed with extras, including some all-new stuff created exclusively for this Blu-ray release.
We get both the theatrical and "Unrated, Extended, Recut" versions of the film, as well as a pair of great feature commentaries; one with Rodriguez and Frank Miller, and one with Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino. There's also a Cine-Explore feature which is essentially a PiP version of the Rodriquez/Miller commentary that offers screen comparisons to the graphic novel, green screen footage, behind-the-scenes shots, and more. It's a fantastic feature, and my favorite extra of the lot.
The other Blu-ray exclusive extra is "Kill 'em Good", which is a fun little Flash-based video game/"interactive comic book" set in the Sin City universe, where you take on the role of various characters and do everything from throw money at strippers to race against police cars. It's not something I'd actually shell out money for, but it's a nice little diversion, and more than welcome addition to an already solid roster of supplements.
The rest of the features are carried over from the previously released DVD collector's edition, and are presented in Standard Definition, but don't let that sway you; these are some killer extras, including an extended take” (seventeen minutes) of Tarantino’s scene, the entire movie in green screen (presented at high speed with Rodriguez’s score serving as an accompaniment), seven (count ‘em SEVEN) in-depth featurettes, teasers and trailers, a bloopers reel, and, one of my favorite features on a Rodriguez disc; his ten minute cooking school segment. This time out we learn how to make some tasty looking Sin City Breakfast Burritos, with instructions on how to make our own flour tortillas. My wife made his Cochinita Pibil recipe from the Once Upon a Time in Mexico DVD and it’s a household favorite. Not only can this guy make killer movies and play a mean guitar, he knows his way around a kitchen.
The full roster o' goodies is presented below:
o Chapter One- That Yellow Bastard
o Chapter Two- The Customer Is Always Right
o Chapter Three- The Hard Goodbye
o Chapter Four- The Big Fat Kill
• Rodriguez Special Features:
o 15-Minute Film School
o All Green Screen Version
o The Long Take
o Sin City: Live in Concert
o 10-Minute Cooking School
• How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make The Film
• Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino
• A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars of Sin City
• Booze, Broads, and Guns: The Props of Sin City
• Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-up
• Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes of Sin City
• Teaser & Theatrical Trailer
It’s clear that Rodriguez had a vision when he set out to make this film, and it’s equally clear that his all-star cast trusted the director implicitly, as they step into some of the boldest and most daring roles of their respective careers. The actors effortlessly blend into Rodriguez’s techno-noir universe, and deliver Miller’s hard-boiled dialogue with absolute conviction, existing in a timeless universe that is equal parts Mickey Spillane and Sem Peckinpah.
Sin City is a digital film with an analog heart, a pitch black soul, and a boundary shattering independent spirit that embraces its source material with unfaltering commitment and not a single hint of compromise. Packing both the theatrical and unrated versions and an arsenal of extras, this Blu-ray is an essential addition to your collection, and one of the most comprehensive and well packaged BD releases yet.