Rica 2: Lonely Wanderer (Japan 1973)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/22/18
Cast: Rika Aoki

"I have a knife in my panties."

A disappointingly awful sequel to the highly entertaining "Rica" (1973). Rica's friend Hanako is in trouble and sends a friend to ask Rica for help. Shortly after they meet, the messenger is assassinated and Rica finds herself targeted by Yakuza hitmen for the remainder of the film. She heads out to the cold and snowy Misawa region to find Hanako, and gets tangled up in the investigation of a sunken ship. Drugs are involved and anyone who gets close to Rica ends up dead.

It really is a terrible film, but a few outrageous moments keep it from being a complete waste of time. Once again, Rika Aoki is delightful as the fierce and tenacious Rica, and her fight scenes are a lot of fun to watch. Her garish wardrobe, on the other hand, could use a little help. Were floral capes popular back in the 1970s? The film makes very little sense, and the gratuitous sex and nudity that people expect from films like this is replaced with failed attempts at crude humor. In the film's most tasteless scene, a group of American sailors attempt to rape a lounge singer, and they all run away when they discover she's a transsexual. Cheerful parlor music plays while goofy captions fill the screen. In a nod to the original, Rica performs a couple of musical numbers, just as awkwardly as before. At one point, a brawl breaks out at a night club, which Rica sees as a perfect opportunity to sing a song. Rica has no problem outwitting and outfighting every assassin that comes after her, which really makes you wonder how effective trained Yakuza killers are.

Other ridiculous scenes include a rookie Yakuza thug who is humiliated by Rica when she exposes his incomplete tattoo, a kid who incredulously mistakes Rica for his father (?), the laughably outrageous use of zoomed in eyes with musical stingers, Rica miraculously stopping a bullet with her belt buckle, Hanako hiding out at a mental hospital pretending to be crazy, and Rica hiding a knife in her underwear, which her newfound friend has to retrieve with his teeth. Those wacky Japanese... Given the silly and incoherent direction this film took, I'm wary about watching the final film in the series.