Sequel that undermines the beautifully poetic ending of the original and this movie should have had a different movie title to really be satisfying. It tries to be deeper and more meaningful than the original something that doesn't really work and it takes long time before the vengeance kicks in. The choreographed fighting sequences and heroine is still compelling though.
The long-takes in its actions scenes are before Old Boy's famous hallway fight. While that South Korean film's scene was simply a slow pan, the action here is a single tracking shot and is much 'cooler'. The film itself isn't as provocative or as captivating in its fun, grindhouse approach as that 2003 gem, and it dully expands the simplicity of its original with melodrama, akin to what The Raid 2 later did.
Love Song is an interesting stab at incorporating Snowblood into a non-serialised universe, a la James Bond, to middling effect. Sidelining her for a more polemic plot of anarchy and brotherhood is the wrong way to treat Snowblood, which is a shame as THAT film's not bad for those who enjoy their action densely politicised. Lacking in the formal daring of 1, it's hard to believe this is the same team.
Not nearly as interesting as the first installment, probably since Yuki gets sidelined for most of the film, and she lacks a clearly-defined goal. When we finally do have some vengeance to be wrought, it's couched in some long-form essay on modern Nationalist-identity militarism embodied through the Russo-Japanese war and the aftermath of the Meiji restoration, which is as boring to watch as it was to write just now.
There is absolutely no way this wasn't an already written script that they shoehorned Lady Snowblood into after the success of the first one. No where near as fun, free-roaming, inventive, or gory as the much, much, much better first film. At least the ending showdown is pretty good. Features Tatsuo Suzuki cinematography, as well, which is always a plus.