Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 4th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2009
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Shôgo Mutô
Cast: Shun Oguri, Kyôsuke Yabe, Meisa Kuroki, Nobuaki Kaneko, Haruma Miura, Sôsuke Takaoka, Takayuki Yamada
DVD released: July 2nd, 2012
Approximate running time: 133 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: MVM Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 (PAL)
Retail Price: £15.99
Synopsis: A gang war between rival school erupts when one of the schools refuses to hand over the person responsible for killing the other schools leader.
Takashi Miike (The Audition, Ichi The Killer), who directed Crows Zero, returns for this sequel. The film’s narrative picks up a few years after the ending for Crows Zero. And while there are many similarities between the aforementioned mentioned Crows Zero and this sequel. Most notably how the students of Suzuran Senior High School are once again fractured into several smaller gangs and once again need to be brought together if they want to come out on top. The main difference this time is that they are not so much fighting each other as they now have a common enemy the students of Hosen Academy.
At just over two hours in length the plot never gets bogged down, with every moment successfully building the momentum up to the film’s finale. Where the two schools finally meet on the battlefield to settle the feud once and for all. Though violence is an overriding theme throughout. This is not just a film that rides the back of its violent set pieces. The characters are fully realized and the performances of the cast are all exceptional. Thus making all the characters motivations all the more tangible.
Sequels far too often never live up to their predecessors. Fortunately Crows Zero II, is not one of the many casualties on the sequel syndrome. In fact this is the type of film that works really well as a standalone film, which can be fully appreciated even if you had not seen Crows Zero.
Note: This review is based on a test disc and may not be representative of the final product.
MVM Entertainment presents Crows Zero II in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. It should be noted that there is some edge enhancement that varies in degree throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds clear, balanced and robust when it needs to.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 34 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles). Overall Crows Zero II gets a well rounded audio / video presentation from MVM Entertainment.