Despite the generally negative reviews and poor reception this film has received I actually think it's a great sequel, not as good as the original film admittedly, but far better than most sequels. It actually continues the story very well and the action sequences are just as good. I also love the variety of bizarre, almost supernatural, characters, especially the big guy with the double-ended blade weapon which he throws like a giant propeller, and the strange monkey guy with the razor-wire - these make the fight sequences that little bit different and more interesting. In fact the film reminds me of the anime 'Ninja Scroll' as there are a lot of similarities with some of the characters. Aya Ueto as Azumi is as gorgeous as ever, and it was nice to see Chiaki Kuriyama of Kill Bill fame in a small but equally evil role. It would be great to see a third Azumi film to round up the story and make a great samurai trilogy.