For Reel

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
November 21, 2016, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Toshiya Fujita
2.5 Stars
lady-snowblood-2Having completing her life’s goal in Lady Snowblood, Yuki Kashima’s (Meiko Kaji) only remaining purpose is to fend off those who wish to punish her for the carnage she caused. In a bravura opening setpiece, Kashima hacks and slashes her way down a long, winding path as the camera follows in front of her in an unbroken tracking shot—she shows no signs of being winded or even frightened by the situation, rather she disposes the men who approach her with ease. Kashima’s great appeal as a tragic protagonist is that she is a character whose will was thrust upon her—she was birthed to be nothing more than a vessel to carry out vengeance—and the sequel seems to have its head in the right place by suggesting that she, again, is nothing but a pawn in a larger scheme involving Japanese imperialism. But this question of free will plays as a minor point within the political drama that makes the core of the film. It is a ludicrously misguided sequel—not only abandoning what made the first film special, but casting aside the protagonist in a fairly small role—but director Toshiya Fujita does maintain a tightly-constructed, dynamic aesthetic that visually demonstrates the series’ narrative of entrapment (in one scene, Kashima lunges through a broken two-way mirror and looks as if she is contained within a picture frame).