Late Fantasia Film Review: Death Note 2, The Last Name (2006)

There was no way we wouldn’t get a sequel & conclusion to the story of Death Note. Shusuke Kaneko directs again, in a storyline that finally puts Light Yayami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) and the brilliant and eccentric detective L (Kenichi Matsuyama) face to face in what becomes a showdown of masterminds.

death-note-the-last-name

Obviously, a lot of the plots that “Kira” and his pursuer make up for each other have to be simplified for the screen, but you’ll hardly notice the changes. Most things have just been speed up. This time Light must share the stage as he’s not the only one with a Death Note. Meet Misa Amane (Erika Toda), another Death Note owner with her own Shinigami, Rem. Luckily for him, the wannabe-Kiras are eager for his guidance… and his instructions.

You’d think a second film on the same subject might adolesce of too-much-of-a-good-thing fatigue, but the constant guessing and double-crossing between Light and L are just too good to miss on live action film. It’s really hard to guess who is on going to come out on top – unless you’ve seen the anime. Even if you have, you want to see how this plays out. And it does, beautifully complex.

The pacing does increase towards the end, so there’s a lot here for the audience to grasp before we get to the finish line. There’s obviously more characters involved and a lot more pawns in the game for Kira/Light to play with, but you’d be careless to believe L is outmatched.

Extremely recommended for the fans of the source material, who will have a field day with the mind games. However, with the fans knowing the outcome the real surprise goes to the casual viewer who will see it all unravel. I must confess that I was hoping the movie would dare risk a different ending, but the original one is so iconic that it was really hard to improve upon.

That will do for now.

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