CRIME pays handsomely in this visually arresting sequel to the 2005 neo-noir anthology based on Frank Miller’s comic series.

Blessed with the same black-and-white aesthetic, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, is festooned with corrupt cops, gun-toting hoodlums and scantily clad molls.

Directors Robert Rodriguez and Miller linger on the darker side of human nature, leaving this film wearing its 18 certificate like a badge of honour as three stories entwine on Sin City’s godforsaken streets.

This is a grimy universe where a bullet to the head settles most arguments.

Style pummels emotion into submission and snappy dialogue from the comics – "I was born at night, but it wasn't last night" – enhances the feeling that characters talk at, not to, each other.

Real set pieces, including a car chase and sword fight at a breathless lick, meld heavily stylised live action with animation.

It’s Eva Green in particular who sheds her inhibitions to play an archetypal femme fatale with lip-smacking gusto, enforcing what we already knew from the first film: the female of the species is far deadlier than the male.