Thursday, 10 May 2012


Film: Yakuza Hunters - The Revenge Duel In Hell
UK Distributor: Cine Du Monde
UK Release date: 21st May 2012
Certificate: 18
Director: Kazushi Nakadaira
Starring: Asami, Jiro Sato, Misato Tate, Rumi Hiragi, Yuki Matsumura
Running time: 73 mins
Genre: Action
Country: Japan
Subtitles: English
Reviewers: Adam Wing & Daryl Wing

The last time we saw Asami she was taking revenge on the gang members who left her for dead after running riot in her town. Teaming up with a quartet of gun toting babes - dressed in next to nothing (go figure) - Asami and her ‘Yakuza Hunters’ took to the streets in search of simple-minded madmen and kicked the crap out of them. The fight sequences (when they came) were deliciously dirty, but the film dragged its high heels from time to time, boosting the running time with layers of misjudged sentiment. Will its follow-up, The Revenge Duel In Hell, fare any better?

He said: Other than Asami spending the entire movie in clothing, Yakuza Hunters 2 is business as usual. Three years have passed since Asami left town, but it isn’t long before she stumbles across her down beaten master Inokuma, the man who first taught her how to fight. The Shoryu Group are threatening everybody with eviction so that they can build a new casino, hiring cold-blooded killer Akira (Hitomi Miwa) to kill anyone who gets in their way. Thankfully, the bloodthirsty opening cuts deeper than you might expect (literally not figuratively), but it’s not long before Yakuza Hunters 2 falls into the same trap as its predecessor.

She said: The first instalment was a crossbreed of girl gang movie with a brand of splatter hoping to emulate the films of Yoshihiro Nishimura, and in its latter stages it succeeded. Its follow-up is far more restrained in the nudity department (as in, there isn’t any), and yet Asami still manages to steal every scene with a crestfallen sexiness that demands your attention. As does its opening, replacing Asami staggering across a baron wasteland heaving a wooden cross on her back in only her pants, with a brutal chainsaw assault on parts that should’ve remained private.

He said: Several sequences are borderline coma inducing, with Shinozaki mistaking high emotion for next to no motion. The camera stays fixed in one position a lot of the time, inducing fidgets and adding next to no zip to the humourless exposition. Worse still, some characters serve no purpose at all, with bartender Yuzi’s (Naoki Kawano) infatuation with Asami adding next to no weight to the drawn out opening.

She said: Compared to its predecessor, Revenge Duel in Hell zips along, with enough sleazy splatter to distract from the thin plot. The fight choreography is, for want of a better word, rubbish, but the swordsmanship is engaging, and there is plenty of over-the-top melodramatics, another cracking score, and some intentional humour that hits the mark.

He said: The first film was gorier and more action-packed (which is really saying something), and for much of part 2 even Asami seems to have lost her edge. The kick-ass revenge seeker we all fell in love with has taken a step back, and it’s not until Akira arrives in town that she rediscovers a sense of purpose (and fun).

She said: She is a bit miserable, but so would you be if you had to endure ‘special training’ from probably the worst trainer in the world. His best advice? Don’t throw up, swallow it all.

He said: Asami’s relationship with big-sis doesn’t always convince, and it’s a problem that haunts the movie until its conclusion, but it does provide our heroine with enough ammunition to pick up her sword once again.

She said: Indeed. The scene in question is as brutal as it can get, and very nicely executed too. The target audience for this kind of fodder has every right to be somewhat disappointed up to this point, if only because we’ve seen it all done better in the first film, but director Kazushi Nakadaira has decided to die by the sword (he’s not the only one), and has delivered a moment to savour, and a reason to get behind Asami.

He said: Asami is still hot, Hitomi Miwa brings fiery menace to the role of number one contract killer, and Yakuza Hunters 2 hits the right notes with its funky soundtrack. Nothing here touches the extended riverbank fight sequence of the original, but an energetic early encounter is tightly choreographed, and Asami gets the chance to go ‘all Bruce Lee’ on her well-formed ass, which was always going to be a highlight for me.

She said: The finale is a little disappointing, but only because the foreplay, consisting of favourable close-ups, works wonders and really gets the juices flowing. It would’ve been nice to see a lengthier, more degrading battle, but in reality what we get sums up the inconsistencies of both movies. But then, I could watch Asami catching bullets all day long.

He said: Despite random bursts of glorified violence there seems to be less focus on frivolous fun, action excess and token nudity. Asami and Hitomi Miwa make a good fist of it - there’s still a great movie if you cut the two films down to size - but for all its promise, Yakuza Hunters 2 feels more like a re-tread than an actual improvement.

She said: It's better than the first. In terms of pacing it moves a lot quicker, but it lacks the titillating spectacle of its predecessor, with even less blood and little insanity. The finale works up to a point, but the ever-watchable Asami deserves a better script and a bigger budget.

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