A faithful graphic novel adaptation that show on screen Frank Miller's corrupt city where good men usually die, women either get abused by men or abuses them and are either whores who love sex or man-eaters. The film feel perfectly cast, especially the actors who only pop up for a glorified cameo leave a lasting impression. Only wish that they had filmed all the Frank Miller stories at once.
It's already been said ad nauseum that this is a triumph of comic book style over substance (not always a bad thing), EXCEPT in the key element of Rourke's performance. He single-handedly tips his story into genuine noir. That his legitimately great performance is sprung from a macho comic book fascist fantasy only makes his devastatingly human grotesque all the more impressive.
Seductive and noirish aesthetics turn this exploitation epic into timeless capsule that will probably remain fresh for generations to come. But it's a lot more than iconography and ultra-violence that puts this among the greatest comic book adaptations. Grotesque self-parody of disintegrated society feels ever relevant, while the perfect casting sweeps the entire ensemble from the very leads to the most miner roles.
Visually interesting, and as an alternate reality experience due to the deft balancing of different registers within each shot and across the whole thing. BUT. Disgusting in human terms. I got the sense of a nod and wink from juvenile (thankfully, in this case) Rodriguez, but I get the sense that Miller is a disgusting human being and he knows it but can't admit it. He is the infantile yellow creep, inside and out.
This film reads a lot cheesier than it did when I was young and it had first come out, but taking it less seriously has only made it way more fun to watch. All the iconic and memorable scenes hold up well, even though the movie shows its age in many other ways. Still as compelling and gritty as ever.