Gonna try to do something impossible here. As per my stated criteria for review I am gonna try to go over this flick without comparing it to the first. I know, impossible and especially this one.
Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance is a full on nostalgia trip for the first film with only a mere 25 year gap to get the audience warmed up.
Now I am going tell ya right off the bat, I had a lot of fun watching this film! Can we expect its named mentioned during the upcoming awards season...nope but if you liked the first film or even just this type of film you will have a ton of fun viewing. Let me break this down.
The movie has enough of a plot to keep things moving and that is all it really need. It is over the top and self aware which is just fine for this film. The original entry is a cult favorite and this one seems to be shooting for the same status right off the bat.
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Not sure when the phenomenon started but at some point in cinema history movies began to look for cult status rather than letting it just occur. The first I can remember to do this was the epic Ramones film " Rock N Roll High School". Before you could only fine repeat viewings at independent movie houses or on late night TV. It was with the appearance of the VCR and movie rental that this actually became a viable option for films. In the modern age it is about the only way to get hits and views. With Samurai Cop I being in this category it is actually quite logical for the filmmakers to go this directly. Being crowd funded it is a most effective way to get support and to find your key audience.
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For this film the whole gang is back and is working on getting to what those of us who analyse films like to call, the "moments of cool". Let me define what i mean. I was not expecting or looking to find any deep insights into current affairs or the human condition with this film what I want is scenes/shots/moments/etc that make me stand up and say "dang thats cool". I am glad to report there is a plethora of them in this film. Be it fight choreography or the look of a certain shot i was just able to find things that made me smile and lean in to this flick. From the fight on the airplane or the "swordangels", if I read their credit correctly, it was just a fun movie. Now to break it down by my criteria.
Story- There are two warring clans. Really that is all you need. What we want out of this is an excuse to get us to the action sequences and it does. Everything else is just window dressing and while windows are nice what we want here is action.
Acting- Good enough. Got some cult favorites in here, I did not know Joe Estevez was still alive and good to see him. What we want here are people who know what they are making and work with it. No board faces and everyone plays it over the top. Sure they look silly but that is exactly what this film needs. To go any other way would be unintentionally silly and that is never a desired outcome
Look- Now this is the part that i really loved. Lot of cool stuff going on here. From fights that were exciting and you could actually see what is going on! To some sets that were just cool (are you catching the theme here) and looked great, especially considering what the budget was. This movie looked good. Nice costumes, design, all the stuff you learn in film school and no one in the real world openly notices unless you screw it up. Good job guys.
Technical expertise- Now for the annoying film scholar in me to come out and also, sorry to explain my biggest DISLIKE about the movie. Gotta mention it because I stated it specifically in my guidelines and it really did bug me in this flic. Everybody ready? Well to bad, here we go.
music - No, not the instrumental music in the background. I am talking the songs with lyrics. Maybe just not my taste but I mentioned about using songs that don't fit the feel in my earlier rant and this was the case here. Some did nothing for me and others outright distracted me. Probably caused me to lower my rating of the film to be honest. Did not ruin it but certainly hurt. Okay lets end on a positive
energy- Sometimes you can feel when cast and crew do not want to be on a film and sometimes you can feel when they are having a blast. The latter was the case here. This film has energy. Despite everyone being 25 years older than they were before. Special note here for the fight choreography. I have seen many a film ruined by bad fight arrangements and in an action film that is the worst sin of all. Not here. Good moves, good pacing, coulda used some more blood and guts but that is just the horror fan in me and budget can restrict that.
Okay, that is my foray into the sequel of a film from my college days. It is back to the horror genre for me and a look at some short horror films inspired by a writer causing much hubbub recently. Check out the next post to find out. Hugs to you all