Sin City (2005) - Theatrical & Recut, Extended, Unrated Versions [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller
Miramax || R - 124 minutes - $35.99 || April 21, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-04-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino
Writer(s): Frank Miller (graphic novels)
Cast: Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood


Theatrical Release Date: April 1, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Cine-Explore
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 11 Featurettes
  • Interactive Comic Book
  • Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

[Note: Portions of this movie review comes from my theatrical review which you can read here.]

"The truce of Sin City will be shattered. There'll be arrests, there'll be deaths. Nothing can stop this." There were deaths alright, mighty number of them indeed.

It’s been about 4 years since the release of Sin City and while the magic isn’t quite there as it once was, this is still a fantastic graphic novel adaptation with brilliant visuals and an all-star cast.

In "The Hard Goodbye", Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) plays Marv, an ugly mofo who, after having a good 'ole time with prostitute Goldie (Jaime King), he wakes up and finds her lying next to him very much dead. Marv feels the need to exact revenge for her death because she was the only one who seemed to really care, so he tears through Basin City with corpses in his wake trying to find her killer.

"The Big Fat Kill" stars Clive Owen as Dwight, a poor soul who has a fling with waitress Shellie (Brittany Murphy) while also mixing it up with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Jack Rafferty (Benicio Del Toro) which, after a nasty situation, leads to a turf war between in a section of Basic City called "Oldtown", which is run by a gang of prostitutes with saucy and hot Gail (Rosario Dawson) leading the way; part of Gail's crew includes martial arts specialist Miho (Devon Aoki).

Lastly, "That Yellow Bastard" is the story of old-timer detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) who takes on a powerful senator's son, Junior (Nick Stahl) who’s kidnapping, torturing and killing young girls. Hartigan finally tracks down Junior to an old warehouse/pier where he's about to torture his latest victim, Nancy, but fortunately, he saves her despite his ex-partner's (Michael Madsen) protest... A few years later, Hartigan manages to track down an older Nancy (Jessica Alba) who has "filled out" -- and indeed she has as she now works as a stripper at a seedy nightclub.

As a movie fanboy myself, I can appreciate the strong feelings many (and I do mean MANY) have for Sin City, but outside of some amazing camera work and visual effects, I wasn't all that interested in the movie. The only plotline I enjoyed was Dwight's but I have to admit that might've been because of Rosario Dawson's wardrobe. It's not to say that SC is a bad film, hell its WAY better than average, but so much was built up via forums and the trailers themselves, that I expected more. I liked just about every character, including Josh Hartnett as "The Salesman", but the storylines didn't hold much suspense for me.

And that's what it comes down to. There have been a few movies in the past few years that offered up amazing visual/special effects but the story seemed to fall through the cracks. Where films like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow had lousy stories, Sin City had some interesting premises with very unique characters, but I found the flow to be a bit choppy, which took me out of the picture for the most part.

Many debates will (and are) being made over who his/her favorite character was, not that anyone cares (though perhaps you, since you're reading this, may), but my favorite was probably Dwight. I think the reason for it was (quite possibly) the performance of Clive Owen, an actor that I have felt has been overrated by some in the media and online. His turns in such films as King Arthur (a bore) and Closer never really gave me the feeling that the guy could be a leading man, but after Sin City, I think that given the right character, he may just have what it takes, though with every year he seems to be proving otherwise.

The rest of this ensemble all give good to great performances, for purposes of brevity, I will chat about my highlights. Bruce Willis as the hardened cop is, well, what you'd expect from Willis. It's not an overpowering role nor is it one of his best, but I do think that's it was a hell lot better than the stuff he has done lately. Mickey Rourke plays the tough but loveable thug trying to do the right thing, and as such, he pulls off a role that reminded me a lot of Ron Perlman as Hellboy in which both actors have to perform underneath a good amount of makeup, an accomplishment that must be noted. Jessica Alba as Nancy wasn't all too involving but come on, she's a stripper! How can THAT be bad? Seriously, though, Alba I think does a decent enough job for what's there.

And finally, my hottie of that year (2005, and probably even to present) goes to Rosario Dawson as feisty Gail. I dunno why, but with this and Alexander, she has that bad girl routine down pat (and that is perfectly fine with me). Now, the worst performance for me had to go to Brittany Murphy. Although I think Murphy is a darling, she was left in the dust compared to the performances opposite Owen and Benicio Del Toro. I think I actually cringed every time she showed on-screen mainly because of a phony "accent" (if you could call it that).

The best part – outside of Dawson, of course – was the brilliant direction and special effects from the Miller/Rodriguez/Tarantino team-up. Most of the film is done in black and white except for the blood, guts (literally), Yellow Bastard, and some other moments. The lack of color actually (beyond that it fits the novels) gives the color an even better glow. Add to that, are the rain drops we can see falling around the characters that makes you believe that you are watching a living comic book.

Recently Miller tried to duplicate this style in The Spirit with mild success but it lacked a good story/screenplay and thus no matter how good a film looks, it at least needs a solid basis to make a memorable movie, which, for all its flaws, Sin City is.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Everything from the “Recut, Extended, Unrated” DVD release have been ported over and include a couple exclusives. Some features are in 1080p HD while others are in 480i SD.

DISC 1:
The first disc includes the “Restored Theatrical Version” and 2 feature commentary tracks and an audio track with an Austin audience reaction as they watch the movie. While the latter track is cool in theory, it does get old quick but the commentaries are both great as one would expect. The first track features Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller while track two has Rodriguez joined by Quentin Tarantino.

There is also a ** Blu-ray Exclusive ** called Cine-Explore, a PiP feature where you can watch the film and on separate boxes is the green-screen version and/or panels from the graphic novel.

DISC 2:
On disc 2, and I am going to include this as a feature, there is Recut, Extended and Unrated Version of each segment/chapter (including “The Customer is Always Right”). Obviously if you somehow have never seen Sin City you should watch the theatrical version first, but this is a unique way to watch a movie, much like reading the graphic novel.

Kill ‘Em Good is an interactive comic and a ** Blu-ray Exclusive **. This is basically a video game where you use the remote control to do various chases and whatnot.

Under the “Rodriguez Special Features”, we get 5 featurettes:

15-Minute Flic School (12:24) – Robert Rodriguez, in a voice over, talks about using the green-screen digital filmmaking for Sin City and includes some test shots he did in preparation.

All Green-Screen Version (12:27) is a cool feature where you can watch the entire movie, in record speed, with just the green-screen. It gives a good look at just how much work these actors had to do with almost nothing around them.

The Long Take (17:45) – This is Quentin Tarantino’s take in the car, the exchange between Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro. This is just an uncut take that also includes outtakes and adjustments. Rodriguez explains that because they’re using digital rather than film, they can shoot longer versus film.

Sin City: Live in Concert (9:15) – The cast and crew have a party in Austin, Texas where Bruce Willis performs with his band, The Accelerators.

10-Minute Cooking School (6:24) is actually one of my favorite Rodriguez featurettes where he teaches you how to make authentic dishes. This one goes over breakfast tacos. Do not watch this on an empty stomach!

Finally there are another 6 featurettes (all presented in full frame):
How it Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller to Make the Film (5:41) – Robert Rodriguez talks about bringing Sin City to the big screen as well as getting Frank Miller on board with the project (using a test scene starring Josh Hartnett).

Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino (7:13) – A unique look at the “shockingly harmonious” union of Tarantino, Rodriguez and Miller. This goes over the relationship between Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez that began with Four Rooms and From Dusk Till Dawn.

A Hard Top With a Decent Engine: The Cars of Sin City (7:34) goes over the numerous cars used in the movie, mainly from the 1950s and how they came to find them from all around.

Booze, Broads and Guns: The Props of Sin City (10:57) features more interviews with the crew including Rodriguez/Miller as well as the prop masters using the graphic novels as the source for what props to get/make.

Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-Up (9:04) – Cool featurette that goes over the make-up on the characters like Marv, Yellow Bastard and Jackie Boy (amongst others) and getting them right to match the graphic novels.

Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes of Sin City (7:34) – This time we get a look at the various costumes used in the movie trying to get a unique look, some from the graphic novel (and making clothing that would look good with the style).

Last we get the teaser and theatrical trailers.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Sin City finally comes to Blu-ray, in the U.S. anyway, with an absolutely amazing high-def transfer that truly captures the beauty of this living graphic novel. Obviously because parts are devoid of color, the limited amount that might be in one scene or another (i.e. Marley Shelton’s eyes during “The Customer is Always Right” segment) pop off the screen quite nicely. The movie is presented with a 1.85 aspect ratio and comes on two 50GB Blu-ray discs (MPEG-4 AVC).

Not only is the video a solid upgrade, but Disney has given this Blu-ray release a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (their now norm for BD releases) that sounds great. While it’s not a significant (and I say that with all due respect) upgrade over the previous DTS 5.1 track on the DVD, there is a noticeable difference. Dialogue is clear and the score by Robert Rodriguez/John Debney/Graeme Revell sounds great. Everything has a crisp, clean and natural feel to it like you are at the theater.



.::OVERALL::.

This Sin City Blu-ray is probably one of the best I’ve seen and heard probably since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. While I appreciate the style and even some of the stories, I’m not quite in love with the movie as much as most. However, it is still a film that holds up well after four years.