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Tuesday, February 14, 2006 |
( 2/14/2006 08:46:00 AM ) Bill S.
CIRCLING THE BASIN – Watched Rodriquez & Miller's Sin City in its cable premiere on Starz last weekend: a visually engrossing exercise (which I definitely regret missing on the big screen) that still unmoved me despite all the eye-popping effort put into building a believable facsimile of Frank Miller's world. For me, the biggest problem lies in the GN source material, which takes too abundantly from Mickey Spillane for me to enjoy it. There's a reason Spillane, as successful as he was in the fifties and sixties, isn't mentioned in the same breath as tough-guy crime fictioners like Chandler and Hammett – he was a crap writer with a shot-loose sense of plotting. Every time I heard a tin-eared piece of dialog being read in movie voiceover, I said to myself, "Yeah, that's something Spillane would've typed," and I pulled away from the movie just a little bit more. It kept me from accepting the conclusion to "That Yellow Bastard," which came across more theme-dependent than character based.
I did like Mickey Rourke's performance and character in "The Hard Goodbye." Perhaps if the flick had focused purely on Marv's story instead of stringing three books together in the now established Pulp Fiction format, I'd have stayed with it more whole-heartedly. I wasn't bored watching the thing; a lot of it is darkly amusing (as when Rodriquez picks up on Miller's tribute to Mssrs. Kidd & Wint from Diamonds Are Forever), while the over-the-top violence provided plenty of kicky charges. (If one of the underling elements in James Bond films is castration fear, than Sin City puts that threat front-and-center.) But in the end my response to the movie was more, "Will you look at how they recreated that underwater panel!" than it was a full immersion in Miller's Universe . . .
NOTE: An hour after I posted this, I remembered that this isn't the first time on this blog that I've slammed one-time comics writer Spillane for his pernicious influence on otherwise sharp modern pulpsters. I also did it in my review of Johnny Dynamite.
NOTE II: Just for the heck of it, I took a gander at Focus on the Family's Steven Isaacs review of this ultra-violent exercise. Made the flick look more entertaining than it actually was . . .