Crows Zero II made me fall in love with the Mikami brothers. This time around they brought the comedic relief in this movie and had more play. There was such an energy and dynamic in the movie, nobody else could have done it than Miike. This guy just knows what makes my punk-anarchistic-rebel-against-the-system-raise-your-fist-like-you-just-don’t-care heart pounding. Takiya Genji and his newly formed gang, GPS, have successfully taken over Suzuran and overthrown their former leader, Serizawa. He soon realizes however, that reaching the top is tough.
Meanwhile, a certain rival school declares all-out war on Suzuran and this conflict will test Genji’s ability to rise up to the challenge. Now, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in terms of the general storyline or dramatic elements, but they do provide a series of effective anti-climaxes that taunt the viewer into doubting the existence of a grand finale. This is a good technique because when the showdown between the two schoolboys finally makes its appearance, the excitement and intensity is enhanced due to the character interaction that preceded it. Make no mistake about it, Crows Zero II requires a suspension of belief, but that’s one of the reasons it’s such a fun experience.
Sadly, Crows Zero II pales in the shadow of its predecessor. The confrontations between the best fighters in the gangs are disappointing at best. Crows Zero II definitely could have used an upgrade in the fight choreography, but it’s still good enough to entertain. A wonderful sequel with even more violence than the first movie, however Takashi Miike is not at the top of his game with this film, and you can tell that he was not totally behind creating a sequel. The soundtrack is still a little disappointing, though luckily not quite as bad as the first film.
Whereas the first film was a delightful film full of brutal but fun fighting and heartfelt moments of male bonding, Crows Zero II almost feels like a political film, full of infighting, posturing, and tons of people yelling at each other. It lacks the spirit and the energy of the first film. Fight details are sometimes obscured by tight framing and jerky camera movements. Miike’s film looks crisp, but nothing ever comes together the way it should. But those are pretty minor hiccups in what was, without a doubt, an entertaining movie.