Badly made, low budget girls vs. gangsters actioner
I have no idea what the original GONIN is, having never seen or heard anything about it, but when I saw this unconnected sequel for sale I decided to snap it up, having long been a fan of both Japanese cinema and gangster movies. The blurb on the box promised an action-packed outing, but GONIN 2 turns out to be a crushing disappointment, a badly made girls vs. gangsters story that has very poor production values and everything else besides.
On paper, the storyline must have looked good; a story about an ordinary guy, driven beyond his ordinary world into an odyssey of violence, teaming up with a gang of gun-toting women to tackle a group of ruthless gangsters. What it all boils down to is some low-rent melodrama, lots of supposedly arty shots of swirling smoke and dimly-lit room interiors, and more talk than content. Despite the promise of an adrenaline-charged premise, there's little suspense here and even the film's most violent and shocking scenes are muted and easy to miss.
Ken Ogata bags the most interesting role as the vengeful husband, but he isn't given a great deal of screen time and despite being the most developed character in the film, we learn little about him. Aside from one or two slimy faces, the villains are a bland bunch and the girl gang even worse, most of them interchangeable and required to appear in order to disrobe on film and for little other reason. The acting makes no impact whatsoever, and Takashi Ishii's lacklustre direction saps the narrative of both vitality and intrigue. It's a pointless little movie.
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