Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler (Japan 1972)

Rating: **
Review Date: 9/24/11
Cast: Kaji Meiko, Sonny Chiba

A seemingly unrelated sequel that happens to feature a wandering gambler named Nami Higuchi (tough as nails Kaji Meiko) who is looking to avenge her father's death thirteen years ago. Is this supposed to be the same Nami from the first film? There doesn't appear to be any connection at all. Anyway, after stirring up enough trouble, she finally tracks down her prey and takes him out with the help of a stuttering Sonny Chiba.

Unfortunately, the whole thing is a bit of a mess, and the introduction of several comedic characters really spoils it. Chiba plays an annoying and ineffective comedic foil, but finally explodes in a flurry of rage at the end. His sword work is brutal and he doesn't pull any punches, which makes his action scenes quite shocking. A liberal use of blood also makes a nice visceral impact, and there are some surprisingly messy hits. Sadly, Chiba's work upstages Kaji Meiko's action scenes, and robs her of her potency. Her vengeance ends up being weak and unfulfilling, much like the rest of the film. She is still amazingly beautiful to watch, but her lack of interest and enthusiasm makes the film a chore to sit through.