Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)

Meiko Kaji, Jûzô Itami, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Yoshio Harada,
Shurayukihime: Urami koiuta is a movie starring Meiko Kaji, J?z? Itami, and Kazuko Yoshiyuki. To avoid a death sentence for her prior acts of bloodshed, the vengeful swordswoman Lady Snowblood is conscripted by the Japanese Secret...
  • 6.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Kazuo Kamimura, Kazuo Koike, Kiyohide Ohara, Norio Osada, Writer:
  • Toshiya Fujita, Director:
  • Kikumaru Okuda, Producer:
7 / 10

The vengeance? Where's the vengeance?

Version: Eastern Eye's R4 DVD release. Japanese / English subtitles.

I thought the ending of 'Lady Snowblood' was rather definite. It didn't exactly set itself up for a sequel, but, here we are. Sequel time - 'Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance'. I must admit, it is a cool title.

After avenging her mother in 'Lady Snowblood', Yuki (Meiko Kaji) is arrested by the new Japanese police. Sentenced to death, Yuki is granted a reprieve by Kikui (Shin Kishida), an agent of the secret police. Kikui will let Yuki live if she spies on Ransui Tokunaga (Juzo Itami), an active socialist. Yuki accepts Kikui's offer, but making that offer may not have been the smartest thing Kikui ever did...

The first thing you may notice about 'Lady Snowblood 2' is that there is a lack of vengeance. It seems to have been substituted for politics. Naturally, there is some vengeance, and the requisite amount of Yuki killing people, but 'Lady Snowblood 2' seems to grounded in the political and social climate of Japan in the early 1900s. I've studied a bit of Japanese history from this period at university, so the tie-in managed to maintain my interest. However, characters make references to the Hibiya Riots and the Russo-Japanese war, events that happened in 1905. This is supposedly set right after 'Lady Snowblood', which I believe was set in the 23rd Year of Meiji. By my reckoning, that would make 'Lady Snowblood' set around 1891. I think I've missed something, or gotten the Meiji years wrong. If someone doesn't correct me, I'm going to assume time-travel was involved. Time-travel? Cool!

Meiko Kaji turns into something of an acting robot in this outing. Yuki seems devoid of any emotion, and while that was a theme in the first, it was established that she was capable of human feeling. However, she still makes a good assassin. Although we have more politics and less action, the action we do get is still pretty good, if dated.

'Lady Snowblood 2' stands in the shadow of its prequel. The first movie outshines this movie in every way, but the second is still entertaining. Worth a look for fans of the first - 7/10

7 / 10

A beautiful lurid splash of a movie.

The stunning Meiko Kaji reprises her role as Shurayuki-hime (roughly translated "Princess Snow-Hell"), the beautiful agent of death. This time she is not out for personal vengeance, but is caught up in the political intrigue of the Meiji era of 19th century Japan. Caught between revolutionaries and secret policemen, Yuki makes sure the bad guys meet a particularly nasty end. It's great to see a samurai film featuring a female in the lead role. It was co-written by Kazuo Koike of "Lone Wolf and Cub" fame and features a role by Juzo Itami who later went on to direct "Tampopo" and "A Taxing Woman" among other films. Director Toshiya Fujita has a wonderful sense of color and this movie is a vibrant and violent classic.

8 / 10

She's back for more hack 'n' slash action.

The general consensus here on IMDb seems to be that Love Song of Vengeance isn't quite as good as its predecessor, Blizzard from the Netherworld. Not one to toe the line, I would say that it is easily as entertaining—a little more complex and bit less bloody perhaps, but still a very worthy addition to the 70s Japanese exploitation genre.

Having somehow survived being shot and stabbed in the first film, Yuki (Meiko Kaji) is trapped by the police and found guilty of killing 37 people. On the way to the gallows, she is rescued by the Japanese secret police, who want her to go undercover as a maid to spy on anarchist Ransui Tokunaga (J?z? Itami) who is in possession of a letter that could be used to incite riots and topple the government.

But when Yuki learns that the letter contains evidence of a conspiracy to frame innocent anarchists for an act of unrelated terrorism, she decides that the corrupt officials involved need to be taught a lesson.

It's easy to understand how this more serious, politically themed plot might not sit well with those who enjoyed the simplistic revenge tale of the original, but I found the story engrossing. As far as the violence is concerned, there may not be quite the volume of bloodletting as first time around, but when it happens, it is suitably nasty, with brutal scenes of torture, graphic eye trauma, and an over-the-top finalé which involves hacked-off limbs and arterial spray.

7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.

7 / 10

Politically-minded sequel

Well-made, but unpleasant sequel to one of the greatest cult Japanese films of the 70's, "Lady Snowblood II: Love Song of Vengeance." This installment focuses less on classic blood spray sword fight scenes and more on the corrupt politics of the time. Fascinating history lesson, but of course the more serious subject matter does mean less fun. The film itself looks beautiful, with extravagant sets and costumes, and an excellent music score, and Meiko Kaji gets to show a more human side of her persona here. One thing that must be mentioned is that the violence factor in this sequel is more extreme; although there is less of the theatrical arterial blood sprays here, we get instead some thoroughly unpleasant and grisly scenes of human torture, including stabbings, burnings, eye gougings, savage beatings, as well as one man being injected with plague, which causes his skin to break out in nasty sores. A few scenes are kind of sickening, and i wasn't really expecting such serious subject matter. The film does tend to drag a bit in the middle segment, but comes back strong for the final third, when Yuki gets her revenge on the corrupt officials who have looted and burned an entire village for their own financial gain. Peopled with some truly slimy villains, and a heroic finale, this is a worthy sequel to a classic.

6 / 10

It's not at all as good as the first one...

At the end of the first Lady Snowblood film, it sure didn't look like there could be a sequel. First, all the bad guys who needed killing were dead and her need for revenge was complete. Second, she sure looked like she was dead or soon would be. Yet here we have Ykui showing up yet again. This time, however, instead of just killing off a few evil vermin, she's apparently been quite busy--with something like 37 killings to her credit. However, when you see her fighting at the beginning of this film you wonder how she could have done this, as the choreography and her skills were not especially impressive. The illusion of her great power was better in the first film--here the sword play looks a bit rough at times--but it's still worth seeing.

This film finds her a wanted woman throughout Japan--and oddly the film is set about a decade or more ahead of the last film, though she looks exactly the same. Tired of fighting, she eventually allows herself to be arrested. She's soon convicted of murder and sent to execution. However, on the way, she's rescued by some unscrupulous officials who want her to do their bidding in exchange for her release. It seems they want her to bring them a certain important document and then kill the man who is hiding it. However, when she hears the intended victim's story, she realizes that the government officials are much like the scum she killed in the last film and she refuses to act. What's next? Will they kill the man, get the document or get Lady Snowblood to work for them or kill her? Tune in and see.

Like the first film, this one has a lot of blood--though not the squirting and spurting geyser-like variety this time (at least not until the very end). Unlike the first one, this one also has some nudity. However, whether either has nudity or not isn't that important in regard to whether or not you let the kids see them--the violence, to me, is much more of a deciding factor.

As for an older audience, the film is worth seeing--just don't expect it to be nearly as original or interesting as the first film. This one just isn't as good in every single way--though for fans of Japanese films, it's still worth seeing. Very adequate.

By the way, in one scene, Yuki throws a knife up into the ceiling--impaling a man's hand in the process. Yet, despite this, moments later you see a close up of the bloody hand and there clearly is no hole or wound of any kind. Now I am NOT suggesting they should have mutilated the guy in order to provide better continuity---just not shown a close up of the hand itself.