The Fearless Avenger (Japan 1972)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/4/23
Director: Ikehiro Kazuo
Cast: Harada Yoshio

Part 2 of the "Mikogami" Trilogy

After the events in "The Trail Of Blood" (1972), wandering swordsman Jokichi (Harada Yoshio) continues his quest for revenge by recklessly crashing a gathering of high-profile gangsters and calling his enemy out. It's a disastrous move, but his life is miraculously spared. The downside is that the entire underworld is against him now, which complicates his life considerably. Similar to the first film, Jokichi finds himself caught up in several devious traps that he has to fight his way out of, but as he says, "I'm not an easy man to kill."

It's a lesser film than the original, but once again Harada Yoshio delivers a charismatic and heartfelt performance. The supporting characters are unremarkable and most everyone is simply out to get Jokichi for one reason or another. The movie opens with a 4-minute recap of the first film followed by several minutes of credits, which leaves only 70 minutes for the main story. Even with its brief running time, the film feels long and tedious, and it spends an uncomfortable amount of time watching Jokichi walk. Yes, he's a drifter, but all of the walking scenes are a bit too much and feel like filler material to pad the length. There's not as much action as the first film, but it does seem a bit bloodier. Again, the fight scenes are very good and Jokichi slices through crowds of disposable enemies with ease. The jazzy soundtrack also seems a bit more prominent this time around, which adds to the 70's flavor. Overall, it's an enjoyable, but unremarkable pulp samurai adventure.