PARASYTE (PART 2)

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Part One of Parasyte saw extraterrestrial parasites descend en masse and slide inside people’s ears to take over their brains. One of the few people opposing their gradual takeover and slaughter of humans for food is teenager Shin’ichi, whose parasite Miki ended up lodged in his right hand, the two of them forming a symbiotic relationship to survive.

Shin’ichi is now wanted as a serial killer of the parasite-infected and has become hunted by Goto, a psychotic and seemingly unstoppable death machine consisting of a symbiotic assortment of five separate parasites determined to kill Shinichi and Miki and bring an end to their opposition. Further conflict comes from the goals of the aliens having become divided; some of them believe humanity needs to be destroyed to save it from itself, while others are of the opinion that a path of coexistence will be more beneficial to both races. One of the latter is parasite leader Tamiya, who after becoming a mother and finds her priorities irrevocably shifted and begins to undergo an existential crisis.

Several of the dangling plot threads left at the end from the first film are continued, such as Shinichi’s girlfriend Satomi being left traumatised after witnessing her school friends being massacred and the police investigation into Shinichi’s murders, but the way they are handled forms part of the film’s main problem. Instead of being the second of a two-part story, this feels like the closing chapter of a trilogy, with the narrative-heavy expansion of the middle instalment having taken place during the time skipped over between these two films. This means that the story has leapt straight from setup to denouement without any of the required intervening development, thus robbing the various character arc zeniths of their deserved impact. Although this is unequivocally the story’s culmination, it feels like we’ve been cheated out of much of what we were promised.

Through its brazen violence, the story also manages to continue the streak of philosophising that began in the first movie, developing it further with how some of the aliens perceive the duality of consideration inherent in the human condition. Specifically, we plunder, pillage and otherwise ravage the planet upon which we live, but in spite of this can still display boundless levels of compassion for one another, and its through this that the story’s most meaningful observations about the importance of life are able to be made. 

The creature design is just as impressive, with the parasite-controlled people being essentially composed of individual parts that can detach and function autonomously, the morphing flesh looking like some hybrid of the Thing and the T-1000. The black humour of violence that such excessive body horror invokes occasionally relieves the grim tone, but for the most past it’s a bleak and brutal ride. Overall, Parasyte has decent ideas and portrays them in an engaging manner, but it would have been a lot more satisfying if we had actually been given something that felt like a complete story.

PARASYTE (PART 2) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: TAKASHI YAMAZAKI / SCREENPLAY: RYÔTA KOSAWA, TAKASHI YAMAZAKI / STARRING: SHÔTA SOMETANI, SADAO ABE, ERI FUKATSU, AI HASHIMOTO, ASANO TADANOBU, JUN KUNIMURA, NAO ÔMORI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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