Mickey Rourke's hulking ex-con heads a stellar cast in this follow-up to the 2005 original. 3/5 stars
It's another set of startlingly gory, brazenly depraved tales drawn from the comic-book series by Frank Miller (who also directed, with Robert Rodriguez).
Along with Rourke, Jessica Alba's haunted stripper, Rosario Dawson's Amazonian hooker and Powers Boothe's corrupt Senator Roark are among those who also return.
New faces include Joseph Gordon-Levitt's brash young gambler and Eva Green's femme fatale, who ensnares Josh Brolin's private eye and every other man she encounters.
Second time around, the film's much-imitated, highly stylised look fails to make the same impact and its brash pulp-noir sensibility feels a bit jaded, but many of the images dazzle - and the cast is perfect.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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