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Well, against the ostensible general tide of opinion I must say that I wasn't a particularly huge fan of the original film that this follows. In fact, for me at least, the only saving grace it boasted was in its violent excesses the majority of which were saved until the final third of its running time. From reading many of the other reviews on this site, it furthermore seems indicative that the exact said graphic violence is the principle reason that most other reviewers have awarded the flick such lofty marks.
Interestingly and conversely, this sequel actually tones down the blood letting somewhat and apparently as a result didn't hold quite as much appeal it would seem. Well, that's what I'm assuming at least.
From my own perspective however, whilst this sequel is indeed bereft of much of the old red stuff a flying, I would say that it actually surpasses the original in pure entertainment value by far. The martial arts sequences are far superior this time around including some rather nifty Kobudo weapons displays throughout. Also Sonny Chiba is on much better form here to just check out the awesome sequence near the start of the film in which our protagonist allows himself to be taken to a police station in order to silence a witness. He makes his escape by kicking the bars out through the wall and leaping through the subsequent hole from a few stories up!
Another scene of amazing note involves our hero punching some poor chap so hard in the back of the head that his eyeballs literally pop out!!! (some great utilisation of ping-pong balls there!) It's also great to see the return of a supposedly deceased character from the first flick who returns here with the intention of exacting his revenge upon our hero.
To be quite honest, there's only one negative I can think of in this flick and that is the ill advised inclusion of Chiba's 'side-kick' (the first film also suffered the indignity of including one to!) who in this instance is a veritably annoying chick boasting ridiculous looking pig tails and who furthermore, has a rather unfortunate propensity for warbling along to crappy music (badly at that!)
Aside from this minor gripe though, overall, this proves to be a tremendously entertaining affair throughout and is well worth tracking down!
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