Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance, Inspiration from Japan

Our governments thrive on keeping the citizenry stupid.  Rulers revel in telling us that if us little people want to make a difference, we should be obedient to some stupid recycling program in order to save the planet.  Lady Snowblood (Meiko Kaji) would have no patience for this guidance.  In 1974's sequel to "Lady Snowblood," our heroine battles a corrupt and bullying government by disposing of them with swords and daggers.  "Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance" is pure fantasy as we see what happens when us little people actually fight back.  The operable quote in this film describing Lady Snowblood, is "Without blood, you would be merely snow...that melts into dirt."  Suppressed in American public schools is the reality that the founding fathers of our country knew that freedom would not be obtained without blood.
As our sequel begins, it is 1905, and the Russo-Japanese war has just ended. The mood is right for political reform, but corrupt power mongers want to hold onto their power and wealth.  Lady Snowblood (Meiko Kaji) is captured by about 200 Japanese cops (see above photo).  She is sentenced to be hung for the 37 assassinations she committed in the first "Lady Snowblood" film (see this blog for my review of "Lady Snowblood" dated Aug. 6th).  On her way to the gallows, she is "rescued" by the state's secret police.  Realizing Japan's peasants are ripe for rebellion, Kikui (Shin Kishida), head of the secret police, offers her a deal.  Lady Snowblood, or Yuki, in exchange for her freedom, is sent to spy on an anarchist leader, Ransui (Juzo Itami), and recover a secret document he has stolen.  She goes, but as she realizes that Ransui's motives are pure, she betrays the secret police.  Now serving as Ransui's bodyguard, the secret police make their move.  Kikui's men capture Ransui, but Yuki escapes with the secret document.
Ransui goes through a blood curdling bout of torture at police headquarters.  The document reveals that anarchists were falsely blamed for assassination attempts against the emperor.  If the peasants knew that anarchists were being executed for trumped up charges, they would rebel.  Yuki must now conspire with Ransui's grouchy brother, who would rather blackmail the government than start a rebellion.  Where Ransui lived for leading anti-government movements, his brother seeks financial security.  Then the horrific happens; the secret police inject Ransui with the bubonic plague and deposit him in the slums to infect all the peasants. Yuki then heads to Kikui's mansion, where a sword and dagger battle between her and dozens of secret police is waged with lots of spurting blood.  As the infection spreads, Yuki realizes that blackmail and rebellion must now take a backseat to her brand of justice....carnage a la sword.  She then sets out to end not only Kikui's rule, but the reign of the emperor.
Will Yuki succeed in altering world history with just one sword?  Will the conflict resolution models displayed in this film ever be taught in communication classes at our universities?  This is an ambitious plot.  Where the first "Lady Snowblood" saw Yuki destroy the individuals responsible for her mother's fate, this sequel has Yuki toppling a government that just won a war.  The Japanese lost 370,000 soldiers during their war with Russia, and in these two movies, lost nearly that much to a young lady born of vengeance.

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