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Eye for an Eye 2 - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Eye for an Eye 2

China 2024

Wuxia, Drama

Yang Bingjia

Xie Miao
Yang Enyou
Tse Miu
Huang Tao
Pei Kuishan
Liu Fengchao

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Eye for an Eye 2

Eye for an Eye 2 - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Cheng Yi (Xie Miao) is a blind bounty hunter whose only hobby is drinking. He has more or less withdrawn from the world and is just interested in collecting bounties. Even when the girl Zhang Xiaoyu (Yang Enyou) shows up at his home because she needs his help, he shows no emotion and throws her out again. Xiaoyu has seen the son of a wealthy family kill several people, and he does not shy away from slaughtering children either, as Xiaoyu's only friend was killed by him and his henchmen. Cheng Yi does not manage to get rid of the girl, and when she finds out that he is a bounty hunter, she even has a poster made, but Cheng Yi remains unaffected and sends her away again. However, when Cheng Yi is on his way to another city, the carriage with the horse has an accident, and he not only has to continue on foot, but it also turns out that the girl hid herself in the luggage. Xiaoyu proves to be quite useful, though, as she can lend the bounty hunter her eyes. They find their way to the city, but even then, Cheng Yi is not willing to take revenge for the girl. Nevertheless, Xiaoyu is incredibly persistent, so Cheng Yi at least allows her to live with him for a while. Soon, though, she coincidentally meets the man she wants to take revenge on...

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Eye for an Eye 2 - Film Screenshot 4

Review: "Eye for an Eye" had made pretty massive waves, as the movie was filmed for the streaming service Hi-Yah! but had a high level of quality. The cinematography was outstanding, but the story, which was based on "Zatoichi" and various westerns, was limited to the bare essentials. Unfortunately, the fights were also quite a disappointment. So, I was only able to understand half of the hype surrounding it. While I was curious about the sequel, this time for the streaming service IQiyi, my expectations were moderate. Fortunately, director Yang Bingjia improved things in all areas. Even though the movie's biggest weakness once again is its story, this time there is at least real character development, and you feel much more emotionally connected to the events. Moreover, even though there are still not that many fights, they are at least a good deal better.

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Cheng Yi is not a character who makes it easy for us to develop sympathy for him. We also don't know what he expects from life or what goals he is pursuing. He simply lives for the day. It's little Xiaoyu who throws him off balance. The concept of a small child throwing the life of a contract killer or, in this case, a bounty hunter into chaos is nothing new, but the director focuses heavily on the relationship between the unapproachable hero and Xiaoyu. The whole story relies almost entirely on child actress Yang Enyou ("Lighting up the Stars") - and it works. Yang is outstanding, she manages to bring emotion and depth to a character which is not particularly well-written, and that way she is also the one who keeps things going. Because if you look at the actual plot, it's not fundamentally different from the first part. Except for the fact that Cheng Yi is even less willing to help anyone because of his experiences.

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The little girl actually seeks revenge, but Cheng Yi doesn't want to support this vicious circle. More depth could have been achieved here, and a few nice dialogues would have worked wonders. A few scenes even seem to have intended to do that, but they don't really work. Nevertheless, you have to give the director credit for putting extra thought into more three-dimensional characters, and everything seems a bit more natural and reasonable too, not just like a practice round with beautiful images at its core. Unfortunately, it becomes pretty obvious how much Xiaoyu is the movie's soul when we constantly catch ourselves asking why Cheng Yi is on his way to place xy or what added value this is supposed to have for the story. The collage of him and the girl catching criminals together is quite interesting, but apart from that, we never really understand what the bounty hunter really wants. Unfortunately, that means that the story is just as aimless as he is.

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Every now and then, however, there are a few fights. And they are sometimes surprisingly violent and bloody, especially since the villain is portrayed pretty cruel so that he quickly manages to incur our hatred. Unfortunately, the sequel still struggles with the problem that the editing is too fast, and the camera is often too close to the action. At times we get a longer scene that hasn't been cut up by a thunderstorm of music video style editing, and that's where the quality of the fighting becomes apparent. There are also a few surprising ideas, such as an antagonist who ignites his blades, and which allows director Yang to again score some points with his beautiful images. And towards the end, there is a fight against countless opponents which is shortened in order not to unnecessarily bore us - instead we get a well-done final battle afterwards. In this respect, the fights are also better than in the predecessor.

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Despite its 90-minute running time, the sequel feels a lot shorter than the first part, which should also be understood as praise. Even though the story is sometimes treading water or is generally very flat, things are always moving thanks to the characters. Nevertheless, the fact remains that everything here seems extremely familiar - this time it's "Lone Wolf and Cub" that has been copied and watered down. Still, Yang Enyou was an excellent choice to breathe more life into the movie this time. And Yang Bingjia's work as a director is once again beyond any doubt. As a wuxia movie, though, there should have been a few more fights and fewer cuts, as these seem more oriented towards Western-standards and are normally used to disguise a lack of fighting skills. But here you can see that a good choreography and capable actors were involved, and a few fights are even completely convincing - but as mentioned before, you could have gotten more out of it. Overall, there may still be some problems, but the biggest weaknesses have been eliminated, and so the sequel can be recommended to wuxia or chanbara fans without any hesitation.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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