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Kibakichi 2 (DVD Review)

1 Mar, 2006 By: Brendan Howard

Prebook 3/9/06; Street 3/28/06
Horror/Martial Arts
$24.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Japanese with English or Spanish subtitles, or English.

As explained at the start of each “Kibakichi” film, there was a time when monsters dwelled among people and made their lives miserable. Eventually, the humans had enough and tried to kill all the brutal Yokai. The only ones left were those who could hide among the human beings, creating false faces to blend in.

Then both films kick into supernatural-flavored swordplay, with a brooding werewolf samurai trying to do good but haunted by regret, and a cast of mysterious assassins, frightened villagers and despicable villains.

Both films focus on the plots by human beings and Yokai to murder each other, and both criticize the cycle of violence and simultaneously revel in it.

Classic blade action and blood fountains spurting from the murdered are intermingled with scenes of brutalized villages after massacres full of sadness and regret. Each of the films has succeeded in exploring the violence, with humans and monsters wondering who's worse.

Kibakichi 2 improves a bit on the distinctly low-budget “Godzilla”-quality rubber suits and Halloween monster masks of the first. Its plot is a bit more interesting, too, with less time working on Kibakichi's back story and the Yokai, and a lot more on an amusing new character, a human warrior who falls in love with Anju, the beautiful assassin hunting Kibakichi.

Kibakichi 2 is low-budget, but it has found a niche with its Clint Eastwood-like silent hero, its kinetic swordplay and its cast of monsters. It'll be a cult favorite among fans of low-budget Spaghetti Westerns, kung fu nuts and ‘B'-movie horror fans.

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