Ring 2 (1998) Movie Review

Thirty minutes into Ring 2 and my only thoughts were, “The director really shouldn’t have hired a woman with a bum leg to play the female lead.”

This thought surfaced because of the female lead’s complete lack of personality and inability to invoke enthusiasm. The actress playing Mai, the female lead, seems to sleepwalk through her role, and every time the camera focuses on her, I started to get drowsy. It’s unfortunate that Miki Naktani has as much personality and emotion as a pet rock. This would not be so terrible if the director hadn’t insisted on showing Mai in so many close-ups or in tight frames. And when the Mai character isn’t alone onscreen, she quite literally drains all the energy out of everyone and everything around her.

To be brutally honest, there really is nothing special about the actress that could convince me why she got the job. She’s not overly pretty, is obviously not much of an actress, so why was she chosen to play the lead?

Besides the obvious bad choice of lead actress, the movie itself is very slow paced. Things don’t move, they crawl. Without having seen the original Ring, I was able to piece together the plot and situations that occurred before the sequel. Apparently there’s a tape that has been passed through numerous hands called the “curse video” that, upon being watched, immediately curses the viewer to die exactly one week later. The only way to survive is to make a dubbed copy and introduce someone else to the movie, thereby passing the curse onto him or her.

This, of course, leads me to wonder: How about generational tape degradation? If a dub is made of a dub and a dub is made of that dub, wouldn’t the tape be unwatchable by the 5th or 6th dub? And if the tape is so “dubbed out,” would the “curse” still have any legs? It’s entertaining thoughts like this that kept me awake during the movie.

Without a credible lead, the movie is really not worth much. The point of a lead actor is to make us care about him or her, so that we will invest our time and emotions in his/her journey or quest or whatever he/she is about to do. In the case of Mai, I had absolutely no invested emotions in the woman. In fact, I was tempted on more than one occasion (oh, say about 50 times during the movie’s run) to fast-forward, but was able to keep my hands off the “fast forward” button only by sheer will alone. (Ah, the pain I go through for you people.)

And so they investigate.

And investigate some more.

And Mai walks around.

And sits around.

And stands around.

And walks around some more.

As the movie eventually comes to an unsatisfying (and laughable) conclusion, I resolved to wash my laundry tomorrow, having thought about the pros and cons of doing it throughout the whole film.

So why a 2-star grade for a movie I find so tedious? There were enough sequences that were spooky and made my skin crawl. These scenes were shocking — not because they were scary, but because I found the movie to be relatively harmless up to those points.

But of course, the ending ruined everything, complete with a gag that seem to have come right out of “Ghostbusters”.

Hideo Nakata (director) / Hiroshi Takahashi (screenplay)
CAST: Daisuke Ban …. Dr. Ikuma
Kyoko Fukada …. Kanae
Kenjiro Ishimaru …. Omuta
Nanako Matsushima …. Reiko
Katsumi Muramatsu …. Koichi
Miki Nakatani …. Mai

Buy Ring 2 on DVD