A Sequel that Improves Upon the Original in Almost Every Way
I was disappointed by the first Parasyte film, and though I'd never seen the anime, I felt the feature lacked depth and characterisation, focusing too much on the violence than on the story, which resulted in an, at times, emotionally impotent experience. Parayste Part 2 however is highly recommended, much of the concerns I had with the original been brilliantly addressed in this sequel.
Some time has passed since the original film, and Shinichi (Shota Sometani) has become more adept with his abilities, as he and Migi (Sadao Abe) continue to grow in unity and strength. Shinichi's confrontation with his diminishing humanity is an important aspect of the film, his relationship with girlfriend Satomi (Ai Hashimoto) keeping him grounded.
Ryoko (Eri Fukatsu), the smartest of all parasites, has continued her experiments, and it is her character who occasionally seems the most human of all, the film sometimes doing little in its way to make the audience want humanity to survive the conflict at all. In Ryoko's attempts to keep tabs on Shinichi, she has hired reporter Kuramori (Nao Momori), whose fascination with revealing the truth to all of Japan makes for further problems. At the same time, Ryoko continues to convince the rest of her kind to refrain from been so violent, an ask that is especially difficult for Miki (Pierre Taki), the most dangerous parasite of all.
As Shinichi wages his private war against the parasites, a special police task force begins finalising its coordinated attack, using vile murderer Uragami (Hirofumi Arai), a man who can see the parasites within people, to help locate and kill the invading horde.
With so many characters and so much happening, it's no surprise actors like Ms. Hashimoto go without the screen time they deserve, the feature wanting to pack so much into its two hour script.
Moral ideas concerning the environment and global warming are occasionally discussed, and though these are passionately employed, the addendum that most who discuss these end up with their legs and arms in the air makes it difficult to take such important concerns seriously. Additionally, the theme of which race is more dangerous, the parasites or humanity, is loosely touched upon, though towards the end, it's difficult to distinguish which species is more destructive.
The fight scenes are frenetic and enjoyable, the film fantastically milking the sense of dread, keeping you continuously on the edge of your seat, the feature having what could only be described as multiple endings – just when you think it's over, another threat emerges, though the eventual conclusion is a little too anti-climatic.
Some of the set pieces, including that of the final fight sequence, which incorporates hellish fire in the background, are extraordinary, adding to the visual appeal, the special effects again been amazing. Though violent, the film is not as reliant on blood and gore as the original, which allows the emotional depth of the film to come into effect. Unlike the original, the film has its compellingly touching moments, from its exploration of motherly love and sacrifice, to its story of friendship, redemption and identity, there been an ironic softness and beauty in this horror/sci-fi feature.
Parasyte Part 2 does feel a little rushed at times, and though we gauge the intentions of all characters involved, significantly more depth would have benefited the feature. The film strikes all the right tones, and has just enough content to be unsettling, refusing to shy away from the increasingly dark content, while employing a good dose of humour every so often to give us an occasional break from the themes, though this lacking seriousness does get in the way of the messages the film strives to send. To fully appreciate this movie, one would have had to have seen the first, though the finish Parasyte Part 2 promises is well worth it.
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