Director: Jun Fukuda
Ironfinger 2: Goldeneye, AKA Goldeneyes, AKA Booted Babe Busted Boss, is a sequel to the wild Asiaspy flick Ironfinger, which continues the further adventures of Interpol agent/everyman Andrew Hoshino. Shot in the same daring style and showcased with an energetic affinity, this pleasurable spy film has enough entertaining moments and espionage-filled antics to satisfy any lover of the sub-genre. With Akira Takarada reprising his role as Andrew Hoshino, you know that you’re in for an enjoyable cinematic ride that mirrors the first film, yet adds a slew of memorable characters to spice up the formula a bit. Like its predecessor, Ironfinger 2 is a mile-a-minute adventure filled with beautiful women, dangerous villains, and a charismatic lead that makes this movie a joy to watch.
The film follows Interpol agent Andrew Hoshino as he gets mixed up in another hair-raising mission that involves the recovery of a cache of gold which has been hidden away from the world and kept in secrecy. After a man steals a piece of the treasure from the wealthy Stonefeller, a blind and corrupt entrepreneur, it’s up to Andrew to track down the leads and obtain the coin before Stonefeller and his thugs can get their hands on it. Recovering the stolen coin won’t be easy, because a number of opportunists, both on the payroll of Stonefeller and outside of his organization, are on the look out for the treasure, making Andrew’s job that much more difficult and interesting. As the plot thickens, Andrew makes an unlikely partnership with one of Stonefeller’s agents, a sexy and lethal woman by the name of Ruby. Together they decide to take the coin for themselves and rendezvous to a tropical island in order to live out their dreams, but can they overcome the odds stacked against them? If anyone can, it would be Andrew. Do it Hoshino you crazy son of a bitch!
Akira Takarada returns to the role that seemed tailor made for him in the first Ironfinger film as the agent with all the right moves, Andrew Hoshino. Reprising the character with the same outstanding charisma and infectious attitude, Akira doesn’t miss a beat as the film bursts into motion displaying his stylish new threads and trademark wit. This time around the film doesn’t really play with his character’s ambiguity too much, opting to dive right in to the fun and energy of the mission. I watched both Ironfinger and Ironfinger 2, back to back, and Akira’s performance in each film is pitch-perfect across the board. The bridging of the two films is seamless when it comes to Akira’s portrayal of the super agent Andrew, and the whimsical nature of his character is as enjoyable as it’s ever been in this continuation. As I’ve said before, Akira’s portrayal is the heart of the first movie, giving it a life and energy that is just a blast to see play out, and the same can be said for this entry as well. When it comes to Asian-inspired James Bond representations, no one does it quite like Akira Takarada.
Makoto Sato takes on the role of Detective Tezuka, the chief of police, a character that was featured in the first film but played by a far older and clumsier man. The choice to go with a younger more streamlined version for Tezuka is a strange one, and it took me a few seconds to realize that Sato was playing the same role that Ichiro Arishima nailed in the first Ironfinger entry, but even with the oddity of the character change I still enjoyed what Sato brought to the table. Tezuka still fills a comedic niche in the movie, but it’s more of a subtle performance compared to Ichiro’s over-the-top pratfalls and lunacy. Stepping up into the two female roles of the piece are Bibari Maeda as Ruby and Tomomi Sawa as Mitsuko. Ruby is a mysterious character whose intentions are always kind of fuzzy throughout the story. She’s dangerous and lethal, and often at times playing both sides against each other, making her an interesting foe for Andrew to tackle. Bibari does an amazing job with the role and I found myself warming up to her strange charm and alluring looks. On the other side of the coin is Mitsuko, an innocent young aspiring singer who really only factors into the story because she got swept up into the caper by accident. Tomomi looks great as the un-expecting, but opportunistic, bystander and she has an enjoyable and cute moment in the film where she gets to showcase her vocal talents during a musical number that allows her to display an array of wild outfits while dancing against some rather interesting backgrounds. All in all, the cast is sound for the roles that they are given and each person pulls their weight when it comes to moving the story along.
When it comes to style this movie has it down, providing some visually stunning moments and enough retro goodness to quench anyone’s thirst for gaudy designs and unusual wardrobes. One of the most pleasing aspects at the beginning of the film is in the form of Andrew’s color coordinated suit, which features him donned in a crimson red fedora with matching undershirt, along with one of the sweetest looking white suits these spy loving eyes have ever laid eyes on. The guy looks secret agent chic and nothing pays homage to Bond more than a kicking white suit and an attitude to match. The wardrobes of the characters are not the only thing to spruce up the appearance of the film, for the overall visual look of the locations and cinematography of the movie are top notch retro, with style to spare. From what I’ve come to notice with the Asiaspy genre, each film has a visual palette to it that equally matches its wild narrative and lively characters. Ironfinger 2 is no exception to that rule.
Along with the overall intense facade of the film, the movie has some equally expressive moments that really make you sit up and take notice. One in particular shows an army of carriage pushing nuns who trap our main characters in a gravel pit, using their decoy baby strollers as makeshift gun turrets as they unload on the good-guys with machine guns after their funeral wake. The moment is straight out of some spy spoof from the same era, but it is handled in a serious way with no pausing moment to reflect on the campiness of the situation. Another great scene has Akira Takarada replicating the iconic moment of the first film, where he allows the bad guy a heads start before gunning him down from long range. This sequence is mirrored, but in a different location. Instead of the sandy beach surrounded by tropical vegetation and crystal clear waters, we are placed on a grassy hill overlooking a deserted road which spans a suspension bridge across a wide river. Andrew allows the intended target to run as fast as he can across the bridge, nearly enabling the man to get away before displaying some unbelievable marksmanship when he finally delivers the death-blow that sends the man tumbling over the side of the bridge in an expertly choreographed motion. The reinsertion of this memorable moment is a nice touch and gives the character of Andrew a kind of trademark execution that enables us to view his colder, more calculating side. During the closing moments of the film, we’re given another gem in the form of a very tension filled scene that features Andrew and the evil Stonefeller in a most unusual gunfight. The interesting thing about this scene is that it is done all through sound, emphasizing the device that Stonefeller uses to compensate for his lack of vision and enhance anything that reverberates within the vicinity. Even though Stonefeller is old and handicapped, this scene makes him a fierce combatant and proves that he is both as deadly as he is greedy. I loved the closing character turn for Stonefeller and I felt the application of this twist enhanced the enjoyability of the finale, making him a worthy villain for Andrew.
Ironfinger 2 is a stupendous sequel which continues in the tradition of the original, while still adding a few bells and whistles here and there to the formula that really build onto what was already established as an enjoyable entry in the Asiaspy cannon of films. With the return of the main player Andrew Hoshino, and the inspiring portrayal by Akira Takarada, the film has a great continuity to the fun of the previous one, making you wish that they would have continued on with Andrew’s adventures in order to see what wacky thing he got into next. The rest of the cast do an amazing job to their credit, with Bibari Maeda giving a spirited performance that really rivals Mie Hama’s turn in the first film.
On top of the wonderful cast, the film allows the same style and panache, which was presented in the first entry, to shine all the more in this most enthralling sequel. Matching the visual look of the movie at every turn, the situations and action set-pieces are mirror images to the imagery, making for a duel presentation that is quite comfortable in its delivery. The world that the filmmakers set up in this movie is so fully realized and downright fun that you really can’t deny the abundance of enjoyment that you can get out of one single viewing of this wild masterpiece. After years of searching for this entry and the first in the series, it’s safe to say that the wait was more than worth it. Ironfinger 2 is a wonderful addition to my already packed Asiaspy collection, and I’m wholly satisfied with the overall quality of this production. Fun to the last drop, Ironfinger 2 is a…..
|This guy is about to get hooked on this film.|
|What a show-off.|
|That... outfit... looks.... FABULOUS!|
|Real tough Andrew. Stealing lunch money from a kid. You should be ashamed!|
|Take that you sinning bastards!|
|Take this you crazy bitch!|
|I'm gonna shoot that stupid hat right off your head.|
|Give me some skin brotha.|
|It's going to be ok buddy. It's just a flesh wound.|
|These traveling window salesmen are getting pushier by the day!|
|I'm having fun with the sleepover, but when do we start the naked pillowfight?|
|These guys are having a blast!|
|Nothing like hunting human to get your blood boiling... again.|
|Get down you groovy kids. Get down!|
|You really have to find an easier way to go to the bathroom.|
|Hey hot stuff.... would you like to go out on a date with me, please?|
|That Stonefeller is one mean old bastard. Get off my lawn you damn kids!|
|She's got that look of sex in her eyes. Yes please!|