January 27, 2006

Sin City (2005)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

126 mins. · R
Letterboxed · 1.85:1

Format
UMD

Audio
E

Subtitles
English, Spanish

Extras
Behind-the-scenes Featurette

Starring
Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Woods, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Muphy, Josh Hartnett

Review by
John Nieves


Rating



(2005)

Sin City: the movie is proof that picking a winner is not always obvious in Hollywood. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller respectively (with Quentin Tarantino coming in as a "special guest director" for one of the scenes), Sin City is based on four of Frank Miller's stories; The Customer is Always Right, The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard. Comic book movies have been hit or miss over the years. With every Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2, we also get a Daredevil or Punisher thrown in to balance things out. So does Sin City disprove or disappoint?

As some Frank Miller fans may already know, Miller has been weary of handing out the movie rights to his comic book works and Sin City was no different. To convince Frank Miller to let him transform Sin City from graphic novel to film, Robert Rodriguez went ahead and filmed a short film based on "The Customer is Always Right" starring Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton. This short film was created to show Miller that his graphic novels could be done justice in movie form. It was enough to convince Miller that an accurate translation of his work could be done, and this short served as the first scene in the film. Rodriguez was so intent on this movie being faithful to the source material that he used the graphic novels as storyboards for the film.

The Hard Goodbye deals with Marv (Mickey Rourke), a man that is described as probably being, "right at home on some ancient battlefield swinging an axe into somebody's face." After having the best night of his life with Goldie (Jamie King), a prostitute that apparently felt bad for him and slept with the bruiser, he finds her lying dead next to him, with the cops already there. His search for her killer lands him in places that surprise even Marv, who's seen it all.

The Big Fat Kill deals with Dwight (Clive Owen), a man with a shady past and a girlfriend that has an abusive history with Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro). Dwight gets himself involved with Jackie Boy and learns more about him than he cared to know.

Finally, The Yellow Bastard deals with Hartigan (Bruce Willis), an honest cop in a world full of crooked ones who has one last loose end to tie before he calls it quits. This leads him on a search for Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba), to make sure that Junior (Nick Stahl), son of the Senator of this crooked city and a pedophile doesn't try to finish the job he started on Nancy when she was a kid.

All of these stories seem like they are separate entities until the end when they are all shown to be intertwined somehow. Although this has been down before in movies, it's rarely been done with this much style, quality as well as craft. Every person was great in their respective roles and eerily looked much like the character they were portraying.

Robert Rodriguez sheds the funk from the less than stellar films he has been making lately (The Spy Kids franchise and Once Upon A Time in Mexico for example), and creates something that carves its on niche in cinema. Welcome back to the Major Leagues, Robert.

Sin City is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and looks just as great as it did in theatres. Considering that this is a movie that was done completely in monochrome black and white with a few bursts of color here and there for effect, it's impressive to see how crystal clear the picture is. It's also just as impressive to see how well the digital shots meshed together with the principal photography. There is no artifacting or compression present either, just a great overall picture.

The Audio is impressive as well. It's loud enough that you'll be able to hear without headphones, although they would be the way to go. When wearing headphones, you'll notice that the quality of the audio is significantly higher, which is common in UMD movies so it's hard to knock Sin City for this deficiency. One thing I do fault the UMD for is that I wish that the audio packed more of a punch than it did. Even with this minor complaint, the audio is clear and clean and does a great job, especially considering that this is a dialogue-heavy movie.

Extras are definitely scarce on this UMD with a behinds the scenes featurette being the only extra on the disc (I refuse to consider forced trailers an extra). Although it does run for 8 minutes and has some tidbits of information that are interesting, I wish there was more. Seeing as this was released in conjunction with the bare bones edition of the DVD which contains the same exact featurette, I find it hard to fault the UMD too much for the lack of extras.

Overall, Sin City is a worthy addition to your UMD library. What it lacks in extra features and deleted scenes, it more than makes up for with exemplary video quality, and crisp, clean audio.

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