This DVD set sees the release of the second live action death note movie. Story wise, The last name is a direct continution from the previous film, as it sees Death Notes protagonist Light Yagami aka Kira (Tatsuya Fujiwara) continuing his killings in order to create his ideal world. This time round however, he has teamed up with the genius, yet eccentric detective known as L (Kenichi Matsuyama) in the hopes of revealing his true identity so he can finally defeat him. However, things are complicated when a second Kira arrives on the scene, the Japanese pop idol Misa Amane (Erika Toda) who also happens to be a Kira worshipper.
What ensues is yet more, tense, supernatural thriller brilliance full of twists and turns at every corner, that will leave you glued to your TV screen for the 2hours plus that it lasts. Like the first movie, is pretty loyal to its original source manga, however, it does differ quite a bit in parts as only half of the entire Death note story was converted to live action film. So some bits had to be changed in order to bring a satisfying conclusion without messing up the story too much. I think it is a good idea that the movies were made this way, because it means that even if you know the death note manga inside out, there are still plenty of surprises in store for you with the movies.
This movie is constantly backed up by some truly suberb acting. Kenichi Matsuyama ultimately shines as he portrays his character L. As well as being an intriguing character, L also provides some comedy in the movie with the ridiculous amount of cakes and sweets he eats in every scene, as well as one superb bit where he is wearing a hilarious mask over his face while out in a public place. Tatsuya Fujiwara, best known for his role in the Battle Royale movies, pulls through with another solid performance. This time, we get to see an even more maniacal side to Light's personality which is briliantly acted by Fujiwara.
This DVD set contains a plethora of extras such as the making of, production diary video, press conference, premiere at Tokyo Forum as well as some trailers and an image gallery. The first thing that I noticed about this set is the lovely presentation, which is the same style as what the first movie looked like. Once you remove the outer sleeve from the case, you will notice that the cases design looks like a miniature death note. On the inside there are a few pages with character profiles and death note trivia on them, as well as the rules of death note and some blank pages. Behind these 24 pages are the 2 discs that contain the movie and the special features.
If you are looking for an intense action packed movie, then you should look elsewhere. Death Note instead focuses on the intricate battle of wits between two genius minds, while bringing forward the themes of morality and what really defines justice. So if you have seen the first movie, there is no reason not to check this one out as well. If you are new to death Note its worth watching the first movie as it is somewhat more accesible and easier to digest than the manga or anime. If you enjoy the movie you may be glad to know that the 3rd death note movie entitled 'L change the world' is coming out on DVD over here towards the end of 2008, but before that you need to check out the manga and anime (if you havent already) as they are absouteley essential. So Death Note 2: The last name, is an excellent adaptation of a Japanese Cult Phenomenon as well as a superb sequel and is truly great addition to the franchise and to your DVD collection.