Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yakuza Hunters Duel in Hell (Shin'ichi Okuda, 2010)

AKA Yakuza-Busting Girls Duel in Hell, this is the sequel to Yakuza Hunters Final Death Ride Battle. Once again we have Asami Sugiura as our heroine "Asami" and a few other characters from the first film. The biggest difference is in tone.

Here again we have a film somewhat similar to the Female Convict Scorpion movies, but more-so than the first. While there is considerable action, it has a more dramatic feel, with Asami trying to get a normal life after years of turmoil. She becomes friends with Miki (Yumi Yoshiyuki) who is a former Yakuza hunter who left her life of violence to raise a family. Unfortunately her husband left after they had a child, and she is faced with Yakuza violence in a land-grab scheme.

The antagonists are less interesting here than in the first. The only big stand-out is Akira (Hitomi Miwa) who was trained by Miki's master but became a Yakuza enforcer. She does not really speak, if I remember correctly, but is doing an excellent impression of Meiko Kaji (Scorpion), down to similar dress. She is far more menacing than the other Yakuza, which is something I love in a villain.

I would be hard pressed to choose which of the two Yakuza Hunter films is superior. They differ quite a bit. Duel in Hell takes on a Spaghetti Western aspect at times, and deals much more with characters. The fight scenes are more cinematic, which tends to make them seem less realistic. This film is more sadistic than the former, and has quite a bit of the gore factor these films are famous for. Asami gets to keep her clothes on throughout the film, and her outfits are far less sexy, making her a more believable character.

This one is mostly for those lovers of Tokyo Shock type movies. Kung-Fu fans may enjoy it as well. It is not wall-to-wall action, but really did not drag too much. The budget seems lower than Final Death Ride Battle (if that is possible) and has inferior cinematography, but was still quite enjoyable.

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