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Crows Zero II (2009)
"Kurôzu zero II" (original title)

 -  Action  -  11 April 2009 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,395 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 19 critic

Genji and his victorious G.P.S. alliance find themselves facing down a new challenge by the students of Hosen Academy, feared by everyone as 'The Army of Killers.' The two schools, in fact,... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Shun Oguri ...
Genji Takiya
Kyôsuke Yabe ...
Meisa Kuroki ...
Ruka Aizawa
Nobuaki Kaneko ...
Taiga Narumi
Haruma Miura ...
Tatsuya Mito
Sôsuke Takaoka ...
Shun Izaki
Tamao Serizawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ryôhei Abe ...
Toshi Matoba
Shinnosuke Abe ...
Sho Kawanishi
Gô Ayano ...
Ryo Urushibara
Shunsuke Daitô ...
Hiromi Kirishima
Kaname Endô ...
Yuji Tokaji
Ken'ichi Endô ...
Joji Yazaki
Motoki Fukami ...
Megumi Hayashida
Ryo Hashizume ...
Toshiaki Honjo


Genji and his victorious G.P.S. alliance find themselves facing down a new challenge by the students of Hosen Academy, feared by everyone as 'The Army of Killers.' The two schools, in fact, have a history of bad blood between them. And the simmering embers of hatred are about to flare up again, burning away any last remnants of the truce they had so rigorously observed until now. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

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Release Date:

11 April 2009 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Crows II  »

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2.35 : 1
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Entertaining, Innovative, and Easily Outshines Hollywood's Best Action Flicks of 2009
27 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A deadly yakuza's mother's son goes undercover at a high school in an attempt to stop a terrorist organization. The lead actor has the charisma, and time is spent developing some of the characters. The action is few and far between, but suddenly the pace explodes as the viewer is treated to a laudably creative schoolboy duel to the death. A showdown between schoolboy and half a dozen heavily armed madmen quickly follows. The score (especially the theme song) is excellent. Finally a schoolboy fight movie worth watching.

To elaborate on my summary paragraph above, let's do a quick contrast between Crows Zero II with the much touted and highly overrated Hollywood epic 300. While they are two very different films in terms of storyline and setting, they are both firmly fixed within the encompassing genre of Action.

That said, the action in Crows Zero II is far superior to anything seen in 300 in terms of choreography. I never knew there were so many ways to use a steel baseball bat to capacitate an enemy – straight shots, arm wraps, floor bounces, object manipulation, etc. 300 showed us nothing we haven't seen before in terms of choreography, because it focused (too much) on photographic tricks rather than on weapon movements, which makes the experience tiring and repetitive. Such repetition can be avoided in two fundamental ways: exceptional diversity of choreography (e.g., Tom Yum Goong) and situational excellence (e.g., Driving Miss Daisy). 300 has neither, but Crows Zero II uses the latter, because the first 75 minutes are used to set up the 15 minute finale.

Now, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking in terms of the general storyline or dramatic elements, but they do provide a series of effective anti-climaxes that taunt the viewer into doubting the existence of a grand finale. This is a good technique because when the showdown between the two schoolboys finally makes its appearance, the excitement and intensity is enhanced due to the character interaction that preceded it. This makes for interesting comparisons to 300, which has almost no intensity whatsoever since antagonists are introduced mere seconds prior to getting slaughtered – which explains why critics get bored DURING the battle scenes in 300. A major "no no" for an action film.

It took me two viewings to come to these conclusions, because Crows Zero II provides a different type of action experience that may leave the viewer in a bit of shock after an initial viewing. The opening hour may seem weak at first, but is much better following a repeated watch because the viewer – now aware of the grand finale – can appreciate the build-up even more so. This is good stuff! I now wish to respond to some IMDb comments that I find grossly inaccurate. Jmaruyama points out some obvious references to American films (i.e., 007 opening credits, Silence of the Lambs restraining mask, etc.). However, this commenter makes a major mistake in claiming that the showdown "seems like a copy of the Bride's showdown with Go-Go Yubari in Kill Bill Vol. 1." Um, huh? The fight in Kill Bill involved a sword and a meteor hammer while the fight in Crows Zero II involved a mighty Spartan battle axe. How on God's green earth are these duel's even REMOTELY similar? The only possible similarity is that a barbarian battle axe and a meteor hammer are marginally alike in structure – a blunt object at the end of a staff or rod – which means that the characters must swing or sling them in vaguely similar ways. Other than that, there is absolutely NOTHING comparable between the two scenes, so the claim that Crows Zero II copied from Kill Bill is unwarranted. And considering how this film is a spin-off of other Crows Zero movies made in the 1990s makes the assertion even more ludicrous.

Oobleckboy criticizes the action unsuccessfully by pointing out that the scenes are "too infrequent", but he doesn't seem to understand the concept of build-up and intensity detailed above, which more than adequately explains the infrequency of the action as a positive element. He complains that the schoolboys are too "thin and soft", apparently expecting some butch, 200-pound lady body-builders instead. Let me go out on a limb and say that such casting would have been a really bad idea. He then claims that the editing was "quick and choppy", but he provides no specifics as to what he's referring to. I never found the editing to be overtly choppy because the timing of the cuts were all logical in that they enhanced the action. I suppose that Oobleckboy expects Japanese actors to be able to kill someone with a lance at 30 yards or throw a Spartan's spear perfectly that it barely grazes the other actor's cheek. For the rest of us who live in the real world, such cuts are expected.

Make no mistake about it. Crows Zero II requires a suspension of belief, but that's one of the reasons it's such a fun experience - another being the outrageous, over-the-top, and frequently cheesy premise. You may need to exercise a bit of patience for the first hour because the action is laid on thick and heavy at the very end, but I highly suggest you give this one a shot considering the currently pathetic state of American cinema.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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