“The Good, The Bad And The Hardly Ugly.”
If its predecessor (reviewed here as Sukeban Hunters) echoed the tropes of pinky violence, this one seems to have much more in common with Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns. A mysterious stranger with a dark past rides into town, only to find that the violence they sought to escape has no intention of leaving them alone, and they must once again put on their weapons to fight for…something or other. Here, it’s returning Yakuza hunter Asami (as before, conveniently played by…Asami), who comes back to visit her old master, now a bar-owner, Inokuma (Kato), who arranges for her to stay with Miki (Yoshiyuki), who used to be a bit of a Yakuza hunter in her younger days. But all is not well, for the evil Shoryu clan are intent on turfing everyone out so they can build a casino. When that turns out to include both Inokuma and Miki, with extreme prejudice, Asami must take on both their minions and the hired uber-killer Akira (Miwa), who proves she is more than a match for most.
It certainly hits the ground running, the Shoryu members wielding a chainsaw in a deeply brutal fashion on both male and female victims, but overall, it’s just a tad less worthy than the original – there were times, particularly with regard to the audio, when the cheapness just seemed too much to handle. On the plus side, most of the gore effects are practical, rather than CGI, which was a welcome surprise after watching several genre entries from the Sushi Typhoon stable, and the action sequences are occasionally surprisingly impressive, most notably when Asami battles two Shoryu henchmen, in what’s effective a single take for each fight. However, the final battle – which, it’s no spoiler to say, is between Asami and Akira – is a disappointment, with flaky CGI and a really dubious conclusion.
Supposedly set three years after part one, I’d guess it was more or less filmed back-to-back, though there’s enough continuity issues to make me steer clear of calling this a “sequel” – not least, Asami possessing several more fingers than she should. I can see what the makers were aiming for [not least the soundtrack, which shamelessly adopts the spirit of Ennio Morricone], but they’ve picked a much harder target this time. They don’t have the necessary ability to pull it off, and the results don’t make up for the shortfall in skill with adequate energy.
Dir: Shinichi Okuda
Star: Asami, Yumi Yoshiyuki, Sakichi Kato, Hitomi Miwa