Against the backdrop of the Edo treasury devaluing currency and driving many into poverty, Hanzo Itami enforces the law without regard to status. He shows inadequate respect to the treasurer, who wants him dead. He finds a young woman dead following an abortion, and he enters a temple without permission looking for evidence. He tortures and then sexually assaults the temple's priestess to get information. He's then assigned to protect the mint from a notorious thief. There he closets himself in the bedroom of the mint's mistress. He waits. The thief arrives - but other crimes are afoot. Devalued currency, white slavery, and government corruption lead Hanzo to one conclusion.Written by
Moving onto the next adventure of everyone's favorite noble rapist hellbent on enforcing the law whether the corrupted system likes it or not, we have Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (original title translates to something like "Honorable Blade-Wielder: Hanzo the Razor's Hellish Prosecution", if Google Translate can be trusted), the second entry in the Kamisori Hanzo (Hanzo the Razor or Razor Hanzo, depending on whether you want to trust the title or the subtitles) trilogy. The second film is directed by Yasuzo Masumura, a prominent New Wave figure, while the cast returns, same as Kazuo Koike, who wrote the manga it's based on.
One thing you gotta love about these films is how they simply don't f*ck around when building the protagonist's macho image. Heroes of other films have weapons of choices like guns or swords, and similar phallic objects to assert their manliness on a symbolic, subconscious level. With Hanzo, there's no such thing - he's openly respected for his enormous schlong. The men envy him, the women succumb to him in the most un-PC way, there's just no screwing around with Hanzo.
The second film is sleazier and darker in tone than the first, and has a better story, but also recycles many of the elements from the first film. Unfortunately, the POV-shot of Hanzo's penis entering a woman's vagina (which is all shiny and colorful like the star-gate from 2001: A Space Odyssey) from the first film does not re-appear, but who needs that when you have a juicy plot full of corrupt government officials, a bald priestess who turns her temple into a S&M exhibition, a shaman abortionist and the obligatory cannon-fodder thugs who get decimated by Hanzo's bad-ass house. What else do you need?
The visuals continue to astonish, and some of the shots of the alleyway full of lit lanterns can easily stand up to those from Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern. The music is different this time, but I like this theme better, especially when it plays during the intro. It's such a serious, epic sounding theme which surprisingly fits the sight of Hanzo beating his d*ck with a stick and shoving it into a bag of rice. It sums up his grotesque manly ritual perfectly, especially when compared to the previous movie whose intro literally lasted 20 minutes.
The plot is pretty convoluted, but this time it's very entertaining and very easy to follow. We get comic relief provided through Hanzo's sidekicks and the retainer Snake Magobei, we get a bunch of villains and crazy characters, cool sword-fights, splendid editing visuals and sound. If you remove the rape scenes, this would probably be a samurai film classic.
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