Death Note: The Last Name

"Good"

Death Note: The Last Name Review


Although the Japanese manga-derived Death Note was met with a disappointing two-star review here at Filmcritic.com, I'm inclined to be a little more generous to its sequel, Death Note: The Last Name, if only because Japanese pop culture is pretty cool in general and the film has plenty of style, if not mind-bending substance.

Both films revolve around the dreaded "Death Note," a thin paper book dropped from the heavens by a demonic "reaper," depicted in the movie as a ten-foot-tall CGI-generated winged monster that looks like a cross between the Joker and Keith Richards. Once you possess the book, you simply write someone's name in it and he dies how and when you describe. The Death Note also comes with a long list of rules and regulations that help to power numerous clever tricks and plot twists.

The first time around, the Death Note fell into the hands of Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara), an earnest law student who used it at first simply to wipe out all the criminals in Japan and bring an end to crime. The police, including Light's father (Takeshi Kaga) took a dim view of all this murder, however, and tried like crazy to track down the mysterious invisible killer, a task that got harder as Light turned bad and started using the Death Note to kill off the investigators who were looking for him.

This time around, Light is still on his rampage and enjoying delusions of grandeur when a second Death Note drops into the hands of a Britney-like pop star named Misa (Erika Toda), who also gets off on its powers and comes to fall madly in love with Light when she learns that he, too, has a Death Note.

Desperate for help, the police turn to the mysterious and charismatic L, a twenty-ish shut-in who lives in secluded luxury with his loyal manservant and an impressive array of computers (sort of like Bruce Wayne). The cadaverous, whippet-thin L, who gorges himself constantly on any kind of candy, cookie, or dessert, is a mastermind who never sleeps, and through hard thinking and lots of database crunching, he is able to focus his suspicions on Light, much to Light's father's distress. Light digs in for what becomes an epic battle of wits -- he even joins the search for the Death Note killer to throw everyone off the track -- and the two geniuses toy with each other as the Death Notes continue to be deployed to do their dirty work in increasingly creative ways.

Death Note: The Last Name is not particularly fast-paced or violent. It's just sort of cool and fun, and it's hard not to fall a little bit in love with the supremely weird L. In fact, he turned out to be so popular that the producers rushed out a third film, L: Change the World, that's neither a prequel nor a sequel but more like a "simulquel," squeezing in an additional storyline for L on his downtime from the Death Note mystery. It's the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead of manga. Chalk up another one for Japanese creativity.

Aka Desu nôto: The last name, Death Note 2.

Those chips'll kill ya.



Death Note: The Last Name

Facts and Figures

Run time: 141 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd November 2006

Box Office Worldwide: $50.7M

Distributed by: Viz Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shususe Kanedo

Producer: Takahiro Sato

Starring: as Light Yagami, Takeshi Kaga as Soichiro Yagami, Erika Toda as Misa Amane, Nakamura Shidō II as Ryuuk (voice), Shigeki Hosokawa as FBI Agent Ray, Shunji Fujimura as Watari, Ken'ichi Matsuyama as L, Shin Shimizu as Kenzo Mogi, Sota Aoyama as Sota Aoyama, as Sayu Yagami

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.