Karate Inferno: The Executioner 2/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Karate Inferno: The Executioner 2

Ishii’s sequel to The Executioner starts with the coolest opening credits sequence in recent memory. The title, Karate Inferno, however is a bit misleading as there’s very little karate in the film. The only martial arts showcase comes at the end, although that one scene is a very satisfying one and also more or less true to the title. Fans of ultra violence may be disappointed as most of the film plays out for laughs. Very successfully, I might add. While the film isn’t one of Chiba’s best it’s definitely a memorable one on par with the entertaining original movie.

As for the humor, you probably though the original film would be impossible to top, but here Ishii’s taken his madness to a whole new level. Some scenes require repeated viewings as your brains are likely to deny ever having witnessed some of the more over-the-top gags... No doubt some of Ishii’s inspiration came from the fact that he did not want to do this movie. But since Toei was very pleased with the original film and wanted more Teruo Ishii martial arts madness they insisted on Ishii delivering a sequel. Turning the film into a mad slapstick comedy was Ishii’s answer.

The principal cast is the exact same as in the previous movie, with even some dead villains returning in different roles. New reinforcements include Tetsuro Tamba and Etsuko Shihomi in small supporting roles, among others. The film ends with a cool Abarashi Bangaichi reference (the classic series starring Takakura Ken, of which Ishii directed the first 10 installments just before his pinky violence days). That scene also includes a nice little cameo which I won’t spoil.

The Adness dvd (now re-issued by Ronin Ent.) is very much like their dvd for The Executioner. The transfer seems a bit boosted at times but is sharp and generally doesn’t suffer from edge enhancement. Again there’s plenty of minor print damage but it didn’t distract me from the movie. The original trailer mixes footage from the film plus several other Chiba films. The original poster art can be found from the reverse side, but the cover is not reversible, unfortunately.

Reviewed by Hung Fist

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