Gun Crazy Episode 2: Beyond The Law (Japan 2002)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/7/04
Director: Atsushi Muroga
Cast: Rei Kikukawa

Yuki Jojima (lovely Rei Kikukawa) is a tough and idealistic lawyer who takes the law into her own hands after seeing too much injustice in the legal system. A chance meeting with a suave hitman seals her fate, and in order to "judge men with a gun," she becomes his apprentice and partner. Yuki starts taking out the trash left and right until her mentor crosses her, which fuels her desire for personal revenge.

A much more professional looking effort than the previous "Gun Crazy Episode 1: A Woman From Nowhere" (2002), this series has real potential to make it big and re-legitimize the female action genre. Much like Episode One, "Beyond The Law" is another modern Western, and hearing the Ennio Moricone derivative music in the first minutes of the film sets the stage where evil-doers will be dealt with harshly. While it doesn't cover any new ground, it's a fun and exciting ride that any girls with guns fan will thoroughly enjoy. Rei Kikukawa is a talented and beautiful actress, and handles a gun with confidence and determination. She looks like she had a good time making the film and she also reminds me a lot of a young Michelle Reis - a deadly combination of strength and vulnerability. Along with her fierce conviction and desire to kill people, Yuki also realizes the importance of looking good while she's doing it, and the film offers many delightful outfits and beauty shots as her victims do the dance of death. The final showdown features Yuki in a very sexy form-fitting trenchcoat, becoming a sultry and seductive angel of death whose feminine sensuality is just as deadly as the guns in her hands. In short, she's awesome. I'm now a firm supporter of the "Gun Crazy" series, and I just hope that Pioneer has enough sense to release these cinematic gems domestically.