Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller shot Sin City using high-definition cameras, so it makes sense that the Blu-ray release of the film would be no minor effort, filled with thorough, layered bonus features, that make it a worthy edition to consider owning. The new Blu-ray release features two very unique cuts of the visually stunning crime epic, plus eight hours of bonus material, including innovative special features created exclusively for the high-definition format.
Sin City contains four intertwined stories spinning tales of depravity in Basin City. All of the stories within the film that make up the complete subtext are explorations of where urban landscapes can go when political and moral frameworks breakdown. The many distinct characters that inhabit ‘Sin City’ are magnifications of the best and worst of society, all part of a world steeped in violence and corruption.
Frank Miller could be considered a modern-day Hieronymus Bosch, using his tales to warn us of coming doom, with his pen as his weapon.
The first story – The Customer is always right – is short, and revolves around a depressed woman (Marley Shelton) that pays a hitman (Josh Hartnett) to make her feel loved just before he is to kill her. The next story – Part 1 of That Yellow Bastard – follows a cop named Hartigan (Bruce Willis), who tries to save a young girl from being raped by a sociopathic pedophile (Nick Stahl). The third story – The Hard Goodbye – features Marv (Mickey Rourke), a disfigured brut seeking revenge on the heartless killer who murdered a prostitute (Jaime King) that gave him the night of his life. The fourth story – The Big, Fat Kill – centers on Dwight, who must dispatch a dead cop’s body to tar pits located just outside of Basin City, and the physical and mental hurdles he must face, in order to do it.
Sin City is about as good as action thrillers get. Rodriguez nurtured the story and truly cared about honoring the material that spawned it. His Hollywood outsider mentality saved the film from being a corporate roman numeral-seeking piggy bank, and made it a true piece of art that launched a unique new visual style catapulting from the screen. It’s a riveting tale of killers, cops, hookers and hit men, all inhabiting one very dangerous, criminal and sexy city.
The Sin City Blu-ray features an array of bonus material that make the disc well worth the purchase, even if you already have previous editions. There are multiple versions of the film, including the theatrical release; a recut, extended and unrated version, which fills in some story holes, and adds new dimension to the traditional ‘deleted scenes’ extra; and a green screen version, that contains only the footage of the actors that was used in post production.
To begin with, Disc One features the theatrical cut of the film, along with the following bonus material:
- All new Cine-Explore – Blu-ray technology allows viewers to experience an interactive visual commentary. When selected, you’ll see picture-in-picture green screen footage, along with original art synced with the filmmakers’ commentary, which features Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, and a separate commentary with Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
- DTS 5.1 Audio Track featuring a recording of the Austin, Texas audience reaction, during a screening of Sin City. This was a fun feature to watch once, and acts a nice fill to the hefty bonus material in the overall presentation.
Disc Two features the Unrated, Recut Extended Version of Sin City. The film is re-cut to tell the story in sequence. So you don’t see Marv pop up at the bar, after he’s been fried in the electric chair. There are also numerous deleted scenes added back into the film, including a segment where Marv goes back to his mother’s apartment, and has a conversation with her, before going to get revenge for Goldie’s death. The recut version is told in four distinct chapters, including:
- Chapter One – That Yellow Bastard
- Chapter Two – The Customer Is Always Right
- Chapter Three – The Hard Goodbye
- Chapter Four – The Big Fat Kill
Disc Two also includes the following special features:
- All new “Kill ‘em Good” Interactive Comic Book – A well-made interactive game that tells the story of the movie, while you’re fighting you’re way through Old Town, with guns ablazing.
- How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make The Film features interviews with Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller discussing how Rodriguez convinced the comic icon to take part in the production. This included Rodriguez self-funding a short film featuring Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton, which ended up the opening sequence of the film.
- Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino explores what Tarantino’s contribution to Sin City meant to the overall production. It includes behind-the-scenes production clips, and interviews with Frank Miller, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and other involved in the production.
- A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars of Sin City – This featurette explores the cars that were featured in the film. It gives a good overview of what it means to have vehicles play such a major role in motion picture production. It also decribes the logistical issues involved with using vehicles in green screen production.
- Booze, Broads, and Guns: The Props of Sin City – This was one of my personal favorite featurettes on Disc Two. It describes the weapons used during the production, and includes interviews with weapons experts, the co-directors and other members of the cast and crew, that used the weapons in key scenes.
- Making the Monsters: Special Effects Make-up – This short features interviews with crew involved in creating special make-up effects during production. This featurette also added texture to the bonus elements, giving more detail than your standard make-up effects videos.
- Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes of Sin City – Another great featurette that focuses on the costuming elements within the film. it describes how the main characters’ clothing added to their individual personalities.
- The Teaser & Theatrical Trailers are also included in the mix of features.
- Rodriguez Special Features are some of the most informative and entertaining on the disc. Rodriguez believes in sharing his what he’s learned during his years as a professional filmmaker, and he continues that tradition with the following vignettes:
- 15-Minute Film School – Rodriguez offers detailed information on green screen shooting techniques, visual effects on a budget and working with the actors and crew during the shot.
- All Green Screen Version – Here the director cuts together all of the green screen footage he used during post-production on the film. It really gives new dimension to the final on-screen product, without the lighting effects, backgrounds and CGI. This version might be considered overkill, because of the Cine-Explore feature on Disc One, but it does add layers to the production techniques used.
- The Long Take – While Quentin Tarantino was directing a scene during the film, an extended take during Dwight’s (Clive Owen) drive to the tar pits with a very dead Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro), resulted in this microcosm of what it was like during principal photography. Rodriguez lets the entire take play, without edits, resulting in some funny moments when Del Toro wakes from his death between takes and gives suggestions on how his corpse should be treated during the scene.
- Sin City: Live in Concert – One night near the end of principal photography, Robert Rodriguez put on a rock concert at a local Austin, Texas nightclub. His own band Chingon was the opening act, and the headliner was Bruce Willis and his band, The Accelerators. The concert was attended by the movie’s cast and crew, as well as the cast and crew of A Scanner Darkly, which was filming nearby at the same time. All profits from the show were donated to charity. Rodriguez shot Willis’ band, which is actually a pretty good blues performance.
- 10-Minute Cooking School – This light-hearted, but real cooking show features Rodriguez preparing egg tortillas, which he says helped the crew get through many the late nights of creating Sin City.
Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Frank Miller (based on his graphic novel series)
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Maria Bello, Josh Hartnett, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rick Gomez, Rutger Hauer, Carla Gugino, Michael Madsen, Nick Stahl
Original Release Year: 2005
Blu-ray release date: April 21, 2009
The film presentation is in 1080p High Definition (1.85:1), with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, along with Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, with Subtitles in English SDH, and Spanish.