PictureThe anamorphic print is very good. The gritty and grimy battle scenes are a challenge for any DVD encoder but much care has gone into the transfer and the results are very pleasing. Dark scenes retain detail well but don't achieve the inky depths of the best transfers. Skin tones are good in daylight scenes but take on a blue tinge during night scenes, I suspect this is done artificially to indicate moonlight, but it just looks unrealistic. Colours generally are muted, but so is the colour palate. As with the first movie red is rich and vivid. The print lacks any disturbing digital artefacts, and only a little granularity is present to detract from a good picture
SoundSoundtracks are available in both Japanese DD and DTS flavours, as with the original. Unlike the original however the DTS track is a clear winner. The DTS track provides incredible amounts of bass varying from the deep to the subterranean. Hyperrealistic Foley effects are thrown around with the force of a thunderstorm. The score is once again a combination of classic and rock and the DTS track throws Verdi's Requiem to every speaker with gay abandon making for an exhilarating audio experience. The downside is the dialogue, which is given a back seat. Whilst always clearly audible it lacks focus. This is less of a problem to a western audience who will no doubt be reading the subtitles.
The DD track is most definitely the weaker of the two. It seems as if they thought well we've put all that effort into the DTS track, and the DD was an afterthought. It lacks everything that makes the DTS track so good. The depth and range of the Foley work is lost. The score sound muffled and subdued, and the dialogue channel is still weak. You will definitely want the DTS track on this disc.
ExtrasExtras are provided on disc two of the two disc set. As with Battle Royale they are presented in Japanese, but all the extra features have English subtitles, as a result this makes the disc that much more enjoyable. Once again we are taken behind the scenes with an excellent making of.. documentary from casting through to on-set action and finally to the movie's premiere in Hong Kong. There is a brief tribute to Fukusaka san who died before the movie was completed. The extras are rounded off with the usual trailers and biographies
VerdictThis nicely presented double disc set is a good but not great follow up to the original. Much of the shock and surprise of BR 1 is replaced by blood letting, and although you may think “Great”, ultimately this proves not to be enough to satisfy.
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