|Index||2 reviews in total|
Highly enjoyable sequel to the excellent Samurai Wolf. "Furious Wolf"
this time is caught in the intrigue between a crooked gold mine owner
and a mysterious swordsman who resembles his long dead father. Once
again there's a beautiful woman involved and lots of furious sword
The Samurai Wolf films have a number of similarities to the Lone Wolf and Son series of the seventies and a bit of debt to the Zatoichi series. First, the eccentric sword work of Furious Wolf is very much in the vein of Zatoichi while not imitating it. Second, the geysers of blood that erupt from vanquished villains foretell the much more absurd blood-letting of Lone Wolf.
Once again the photography is excellent and the cast is as good. The story is a little convoluted and Furious Wolf is less in control of the situation compared to the first film. Also there are strong thematic repetitions that shouldn't have been so obvious. This is probably one of the reasons Samurai Wolf didn't continue as a series. The curious western tinged musical theme from the first film is repeated over and over for better or worse. Gosha's direction is less inspired this time but still great.
Recommended but see the first film before this.
What I wrote in my review for Samurai Wolf pretty much applies for the
sequel that concludes Kiba Okaminusoke's adventures in the chambara
world of the mid 60's. Hideo Gosha is on the helm and he's obviously
having all the fun and creative freedom that comes from a directing a
small b picture on a low budget.
Shot in stark b/w, Samurai Wolf II is another slice of comic book mayhem, full of plot twists and great swordfighting. Balancing between the American westerns of the 50's and the new spaghetti western mentality, the hero Kiba (played by Isao Natsuyagi who looks and acts like a young Mifune) lacks the cynicism of The Man With No Name or Sanjuro Tsubaki, but makes up for it with the good will of John Ford's heroes. Like them, Kiba is an outcast and a drifter. A misfit who can't be bound by society's structures (clan, family etc), yet he's the one who ultimately restores the balance in it, before fading in the distance for one more time. Perhaps unwittingly so, but he does punish the bad guys even though he's not a goody-two-shoes type of guy.
Both the Morricone-ish score and the cinematography scream spaghetti western, yet it's a pretty old fashioned chambara in terms of values. Gosha is looking at the old but his foot is in the door to the future. Indeed, apart from the pulpy b-movie feeling that makes Samurai Wolf II such an unapologetically fun experience, he anticipates the arterial sprayings that would surface in Misumi's Lone Wolf and Cub a couple of years later. Although more restrained compared to that, it's still bloody as hell for its time, with some very stylish geysers of blood. Ditto for various slow motion shots that are utilized in crucial points.
Confidently directed, beautifully filmed, fast paced so that it never outstays its welcome, with a b movie mindset that serves its comic book intentions very well and lots of swordfighting, this one's well worth the time for every genre fan. Both this and the first Samurai Wolf are short in duration, so they can be enjoyed in one sitting.
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