Luckily, his loss of powers leads to some of the film's most humorous moments which could make it forgivable. Now what separates Spiderman 2 from pretty much 95% of all the cmoic book movies, it actually tells a story instead of merely trying to. This is also both good and bad. Its good because it is showing that the life of a superhero is not as enticing as people would assume it is. He does not live in a huge mansion or larger than large apartment with the latest in entertainment technology. He lives in a single room apartment maybe with a TV in a really run down hotel. His good deeds make it difficult for him to hold a job and keep up in school. Those are the good points of the story since it does deal treat the idea of a superhuman concealing his identity realistically. However, it does get incredibly serious and really brings the emotional level down since it does get pretty depressing. It also appears that Sam Raime tried a little bit too much to enforce the idea that Peter Parker's life turned to sh!t. One such contrivance used to emphasize it is him never paying his rent. In the beginning of the movie, it does provide an explanation as to how he makes money but he also fired in the beginning of the film too. He also not getting sufficient income from his photjournalist job either (his paycheck does not even cover an advance he was previously given). SO it is kinda a huge mystery as to why he is able to keep his living quarters since he is clearly not paying it. This accompanied with the incredibly intense scene between Petger Parker and Harry Osborne, it really is a bit too much. Another character that is a bit much is Peter's Aunt May.
There is no way in hell this person could exist in the real world and, even with Spidey's CG aided rubbery special effects, she is the most cartoonish and gives a a full fledged speech to answer a simple question (I am referring to her "theres a hero in all of us" speech which is given as an answer as to why a little kid wants to be SPiderman). With all the screentime devoted to showing wjhy a person like Spiderman is needed, the speech is tacked on and kinda pointless. Speaking of tacked on, the character of Doc Ock is also kinda tacked on. This character suffers from the same disease as pretty much every other scientist with good intentions who turns evil suffers from. Hes not cool or interesting until he is consumed by evil and then hes likable (it reall is ironic. This is not really a good thing since we are supposed to care for the good side of Docter Octavious but you don't really and just want him to turn evil so he could use his mechanical arms to start throwing cars and people at SPiderman. Which is in direct contrast to Harry Osbrne's Green Goblin. You actually sympathies with him and side with him.
The Green Goblins original approach is also altogether different since he was trying to show Spiderman an incredibly big picture as well as presenting the reality of people ("the only thing want more than a hero is to see the hero fail"). Doc Ock, on the other hand, has a very miniscule and trivial endeavor to create this thing that does nothing but absorbe all sorts of energy (mostly metal). What makes it even more interesting (as well as confusing) is that the meechanical arms are what want this thing to be made. It really boggles the mind as to why machines would want want to make this thing since it would do nothing but destroy their creator and source of power (in essence the machines would be destroying themselves). Luckily, all the other characters act like real people and the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane is done rather well (except for the end which is overly romantic and gay). All in all, it is an entertaining movie (and possibly a great date movie) but it does get way too serious at times and it is filled with contrivances that tend to drag on a bit long.
I wouldn't go as far to say it was gratuitous or gory but the gunshot impacts are realistically graphic and the carmae rarely, if at all, shys away from them. What also made this film fun to watch was the portrayal of the early FBI. Again, I don't know if its accurate or not but it was very entertaining to watch the FBI guys do their thing because they were treating there job like a game (albiet a very serious one): the FBI vs. The various gangsters (The main FBi guy got a cigar for every one he either brought in or killed). All in all it is a very entertaining movie that does deal with a real family of robbers and killers that has god quality (and a good amount) of action. Speaking of action, you also get to see Alyssa Milano as a whore for a nice chunk of the film and she is always easy on the eyes and she does the part well.
Although, the training scene with Pei Mei is entertaining and finally brings martial arts back into the film, the real action doesnt start until Elle arrives. The bout between her and the Bride (SPOILER now Beatrix Kiddo) reminds us of why we wanted to see Kill Bill in the first place, the kick-ass fighting. That being said, the fight scene was a bit overhyped and really is the only prolonged action scene in the movie (although I feel that the fight was at most only 4 minutes long but thats being generous and including the liuttle diologue they have that brings the fight to dead halt). However, this fight has one of the best conclusions a fight scene will ever have. Considering that the Elle vs The Bride fight is the onyl real action scene, the movie relies heavily on its main villian, Bill, and he does not dissappoint. David Carradine played the role perfectly. Bill was always calm, never lost his cool, even when his emotions ran high. When the Bride finally came face to face with him, is when more layers of their history are revealed which does kinda turn the tables around and make you question the Brides actions. Other than the Elle fight scene, my favorite scene in the movie has to be with Pei Mei. Mainly becuase where Vol. 1 was pretty much all Japanese based (even Yuen Woo Ping did chorepgraph the Blue lleaves battle), this scene is all chinese in insperation. The fighting that takes place is very reminiscent of the old chinese wuxia movies of the 70s. UNfortunately the scene does not really go too much in depth and it appears that the only thing The Bride actually learned and utilized was the 3 inch punch (well she did utiloize another move thats wil ruin the movie if I tell you what it is). It would have been nice to see the crane or eagle style present in the Elle Driver fight but, even though both were taught by Pei Mei, we dont see any of it. I hope that it was originally alonger scene and he cut it dow fro some reason onyl he would understand. Again, what makes Vol. 2 good is Vol. 1. As a whole movie it would have been magnificabt becuase the first half would be all about kicking ass and the second half would be taking a break and thinking about why she is kicking ass. With the split, Vol. 2 starts off with us taking a break from the action but, unless you have seen Vol. 1 you dont know what we are taking a break from and if you have seen it, you took a big enough break to want more kicking ass whcih you dont get for what seems to be an enternity.
SPOILER: This movie also hgas a message about vengeance. After Mke avenges his mothers death by killing David (David killed his mother with the battery acid switcharoo) he ends up getting his younger sister killed while trying to survive a double-cross set by his former employer. This again begs the question "is vengeance really worth it?"
sidenote: for those Jackie Chan nuts out there (me included) I have read that the main reason why a double was used was becuase he was recovering from an earlier injury. Of course, you could always use this defense: since the film involved wires and Jackie chan (at the time which would 1995) did not like using wires, he probably prefered to have a double used for those scenes (of course this defense wont hold up for too long).
sidenote: When I first watched this film, I had no idea it featured the would be superstar Antonio Banderas, nor that it was written by the soon to be Matrix creators. In that sense it is almost a fun movie to watch because it kinda answers the question "what did they do before they were famous?" and now you know.
Now, the main reason why this movie is so infamously popular is becuase of its violence, of which, it is very deserving of such popularity. It appears to mix the realistic violence of Irreversibe with old school horror violence, with a touch of new school horror violence as seen briefly in Freddy vs. Jason (a la CGI aided violence). However, as mentioned earlier, the violence is very stylistic at times and inventive (key example being a face sliding down a wall). Of course that is the new school horror violence. The torture scens on the other hand, have the Irreversible touch. They are slow moving and dont cut away. What makes the torture scens even worse is how much the torturer, kakihara, enjoys torturing his victums (in fact he surpasses pretty much every other character's limits with the violence he dishes out and takes).
The most interesting aspect of the movie, however, would have to be the characters themselves. Basically, there is not one character that anyone would really want to be associated with in anyway especially Ichi and Kakihara. Both of them are equally screwed up in the head but in different ways. One really enjoys pain way too much and the other cant function as a normal adult and is still very much an ignorant child who lashes out at people when things get tough. You really want to feel sorry for Ichi but in the end you cant becuase, in the end, he seems to be beyond the point of help, not to mention that he himself in a very subtle way enjoys killing.
Of course, being that its a japanese horror/action film, there are bits of humor that only the japanese would do like Kakihara cutting off the front of his toungue then take a call right after or a crooked (and screwed up) cop sniffing a womans crotch to find out where her lover is.
All in all, if you are into japanese film, give it a try and you might be suprised. I would also say that if you are into philosphy or psychology, it might be a good movie to check out becuase of Ichi and Kakihara.
sidenote: there is one particuilar scene that is both an unfliching look at murder and quite possibly a technical achievment. We actually see from the point of view of the victum a murder including his loss ond return to conscienceness.
Now, there are a few particular scenes that stand out and differentiate it from the original. First one being the SHeriff forcing one of the teens to renact the hitchhikers suicide. This scene's disturbing nature, in a way, surpasses the original. The sheriff forces the teen to sit where the hitchhiker was sitting, which of course, is covered in blood, and brain matter. The Sheriff goes as far to have the teen stick a gun in his mouth just like the hitchhiker. the other scene that stuck out is where jessica biel and one of the other male teens (who is hanging on a meat hook) are in the basement of the of house and the male teen is begging her to kill him becuase he cant stand the pain of being ona meat hook and any attempt to get him off the hook would possibly kill him. In most horror movies, it usually the killer forcing someone to kill her friend or the killer kills the friend in front of the girl. In this one, there is no one really forcing her to kill him or forcing her to watch him be killed. It is being done out of their own accordance.
Of course, it cannot surpass the original as an overall movie becuase the reamke does not have the originals originality. Basically, in 1974, nothing like this has been done, storywise or gorewise. Nowadays, we have action movies that match the horro gore and the chaisaw killer has been imitated time and time again.
As for the climantic Duel between Cottonmouth and the Bride, it is somewhat apparent that this is where Sonny Chiba made is other contribution to the film. It is rather slowly paced when compared to the fight scene preceding it but it is no less entertaining.
sidenote: everybody seems to assume that the fight scenes are anything but realistic. this is because of the blood special effects and the way the fight scenes are shot at certain moments. However, it is far more realistic then past american efforts at martial arts (again like the Matrix). there is very little so called "flying" and when people get punched or kicked, they feel it. When some gets slashed by the samurai sword, they either die or bleed profusely. The wound is not passed over like a simple scrape.
note: as mentioned before this review is for the cut version. That being said, there are certain scenes that appear to be cut short (like 10 minutes had to be cut to get it down to an R-rating so one has to wonder what was done in the movie). the good thing about this R-rated version is that you can get it for a relatively cheap price, 15 bucks, under the HK classic series along with jackie Chan's CIty hunter and Hong Kong 1941 with Chow Yun Fat. However, I would reccopmend you try and get the uncut copy becuase the R-rated copy just makes you want to purchase the uncut version.
To sum up, this how action movies used to be, offensive and void of any logic but hilarious and intense. No deep thinking is invovled, just sit back and enjoy the images as they pass by (especially in the night club scene where Micheal Bay gets the most stylistic and degrading shots of women in short skirts)
on a personal note, I found it rather disturbing that the mustang, corvette, Baracuda, and Camaro all got destroyed while the evolution and Eclispe escaped unscathed. ALso, they had the 2003 Viper in it for only about a total of 20 seconds racing against the evolution and eclispe and amazingly, the viper stayed behind (an example of the direcotr, writer, producer, whatever completely ignoring cold hard facts: none of the cars racing against the new Viper could have kept up with it period).
sidenote: What also seperates Windtalkers from SPR ans WWS, is the use of slow motion. SPR and WWS had very little slow motion withyin their battle scenes and when they did it was the clunky, unpolished kind that fits them well. Windtalkers has the smooth slow motion from high speed camaras which looks very impressive but makes the battle scenes very stylistic which is great for a action movie but seems out of place in a war movie.
Moving onto the action, there are actually only two action scenes both of which are chase scenes. Again, these chase scenes are executed very convincingly but are very unlikely in terms of practicality but still 100% fun. The rest of the movie is comprised of heist preporation scenes which are as interesting as they are fun.
One thing to keep in mind is that this movie does not end, it stops. However, the last 10 or fifteen minutes or so has some of the most bizzare explanations and a couple of strange events (one of them being a real sappy one but stil a little weird).
p.s. the very explicit love scene, I beleive, was done very well. It was not presented in an overly romantic manner and instead shown in a more raw style which was very beleivable.