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Brutal and breathtaking, Sin City is Robert Rodriguez's stunningly realized vision of Frank Miller's pulpy comic books. In the first of three separate but loosely related stories, Marv (Mickey Rourke in heavy makeup) tries to track down the killers of a woman who ended up dead in his bed. In the second story, Dwight's (Clive Owen) attempt to defend a woman from a brutal abuser goes horribly wrong, and threatens to destroy the uneasy truce among the police, the mob, and the women of Old Town. Finally, an aging cop on his last day on the job (Bruce Willis) rescues a young girl from a kidnapper, but is himself thrown in jail. Years later, he has a chance to save her again. Based on three of… Miller's immensely popular and immensely gritty books (The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard), Sin City is unquestionably the most faithful comic-book-based movie ever made. Each shot looks like a panel from its source material, and director Rodriguez (who refers to it as a "translation" rather than an adaptation) resigned from the Directors Guild so that Miller could share a directing credit. Like the books, it's almost entirely in stark black and white with some occasional bursts of color (a woman's red lips, a villain's yellow face). The backgrounds are entirely digitally generated, yet not self-consciously so, and perfectly capture Miller's gritty cityscape. And though most of Miller's copious nudity is absent, the violence is unrelentingly present. That may be the biggest obstacle to viewers who aren't already fans of the books and who may have been turned off by Kill Bill (whose director, Quentin Tarantino, helmed one scene of Sin City). In addition, it's a bleak, desperate world in which the heroes are killers, corruption rules, and the women are almost all prostitutes or strippers. But Miller's stories are riveting, and the huge cast--which also includes Jessica Alba, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Elijah Wood, Nick Stahl, Michael Clarke Duncan, Devin Aoki, Carla Gugino, and Josh Hartnett--is just about perfect. (Only Bruce Willis and Michael Madsen, while very well-suited to their roles, seem hard to separate from their established screen personas.) In what Rodriguez hopes is the first of a series, Sin City is a spectacular achievement. --David Horiuchi On the Blu-ray disc Sin City looks and sounds great in high definition, with its rare colors looking especially splashy contrasting with the stark black-and-white and powerful 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (try Marvin's early escape scene to get a taste of the sound). Like the 2005 recut DVD, the two-disc Blu-ray edition has both the theatrical cut and the recut version that shows each of the four stories by itself. (Billed as "Recut, Extended, Unrated," the four separate stories are extended by only about 6.5 total minutes of movie action; the rest of the added running time is the splashy new title shots, named by the title of the story or book, and the four minutes of credits that run at the end of each segment.) New to Blu-ray on disc 1 is Cine-Explore, which plays the theatrical cut accompanied by the Rodriguez-Miller commentary track and drops in picture-in-picture panels of either the original graphic novel, the green-screen shots before the special effects were added, or both. This is a great way to watch a movie that was (1) based heavily on the look of the graphic novel and (2) shot almost entirely on green screen. Occasionally the shots are flipped as well, giving us the large green-screen shot with the theatrical cut in one of the inner panels. The other new Blu-ray feature is "Kill 'Em Good," an 8.5-minute condensation of The Hard Goodbye that combines Mickey Rourke's narration with scenes from the graphic novel similar to a motion-comic style. There's also some gameplay elements added: use the Blu-ray remote to drive the getaway car, toss money at Nancy, or battle Kevin and henchmen in the woods. As with most home-video set-top games, the controls are a bit clunky, but the last activity is worth making an effort to learn. Also on the discs are almost all the other features that were on the two-disc unrated recut edition, though they're in standard definition. The theatrical cut has the two commentary tracks (the first is by Rodriguez and Miller discussing the concepts and the cast, and the second is mostly by Rodriguez, but Tarantino drops in briefly for the scene he directed as does an enthusiastic Bruce Willis for his segment) and the alternate audio track with a live audience in Austin, Texas. There are also 47 minutes of featurettes covering Miller, Tarantino, cars, costumes, props, and special effects; a 14-minute take in which Tarantino can be heard coaching the actors; Rodriguez's usual "flic school" (among the topics is how scenes were created by merging footage of actors who never actually met); footage of Bruce Willis's band performing in Austin at the time of the shooting; another Rodriguez cooking school (this time it's breakfast tacos); and the "green screen version" of the film: the entire film as it was shot in front of the green screen, sped up to play in only 12 minutes. --David Horiuchi