Battle Royale 2: Requiem
"If Kenta Fukasaku makes a Battle Royale III, it better be porn."
- Mighty Peking Man
Battle Royale 2: Requiem (2003)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku, Kenta Fukasaku
Writer: Kenta Fukasaku
Producer: Shigeyuki Endo
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shugo Oshinari, Ayana Sakai, Riki Takeuchi, Natsuki Kato, Ai Iwamura, Masaya Kikawada, Aki Maeda, Takeshi Kitano, Sonny Chiba
Running Time: 134 min.
Plot: 42 high school grads battle against the last BR survivor and his team. This time they don't have to kill each other, they have to kill the enemies; and they are paired up--if one of the two in a team dies, the other's necklace is activated.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: When good ideas go bad. Ok, so I can understand the point of Battle Royale. I loved the first movie. It made sense (in a sadistic sort of way) to have hooligan kids killing each other off. Fine. No problem. But why would they then, for the sequel, dress the kids up as soldiers, give them all assault rifles and send them in, under threat of collar-induced-head-explody, to kill Shuya Nanahara and his “terrorist” element of previous survivors of Battle Royale? It made no logical sense.
BRII was an excuse to show more kids getting shot and blubbering to each other about secret crushes and high school love in their death throes. Of course, after the initial idea fails, to kill Shuya the military sends in hundreds of actual soldiers. Well, that’s all fine and dandy; however, why not just nuke the island? It’s not as though they weren’t planning on killing everyone there anyway. Instead they sacrificed scores of highly trained soldiers in the assault against the untrained kids. Huh? Why??
I don’t know what Kinji Fukasaku was thinking when he decided to make a sequel. A sequel to Battle Royale wasn’t a bad idea in and of itself, however, what they decided to do with the story was. Turning Shuya from a troubled teen into a terrorist mastermind in 3 short years was simply too far fetched (even for the world of the BR movies) to be truly enjoyable.
The best thing about the movie was the character of Kitano’s daughter. I thought that was a very cool addition to the movie and to the story. It really tied the two movies together far better than what they did with Shuya.
Overall, stay away from BRII if you enjoyed the first one. It will only spoil your impression of the originality of BR. And, if you DO watch BRII, try not to laugh too hard at the absurd overacting of Riki Takeuchi playing a character named… Riki Takeuchi.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 5/10
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: When are we going to learn that unless your name is Francis Ford Coppola, you should not, I repeat, should NOT make a sequel to a movie based on its impact, popularity or box office gross. Yes, we've all heard it: "Battle Royale 2 wasn't as good as the first one..."... yeah, yeah, yeah... get the hell out of here with that crap. What they didn't tell you was how atrocious the film really is. I'm talking about "Jackie Chan's latest Hollywood movie" proportions here... and that's probably being too nice.
First of all, what's with all the digitized blood? Japanese filmmakers practically perfected the cinematic art of blood-spray; and now, they're enlisting Industrial Light and Magic flunkies to soak the screen with computerized blood? Listen, I don't mind a few cgi shots here and there; but when it gets to the point where there's digital blood in the middle of nowhere for no reason at all, that's when it's time to command-Quit those Adobe® digital effects programs. Don't even get me started with that "Saving Private Ryan" bullshit. If I wanted to see Saving Private Ryan-type battle scenes, I would have popped in Saving Private Ryan to begin with.
And that new version of Shuya Nanahara (with a Bin Laden twist) just isn't happening. A freedom-fighter/terrorist mastermind? Come on, guys. How am I supposed to believe that this kid is a bad-ass soldier/leader when he looks more like a homeless version of Jonathan Ke Quan with long hair? And then we have Riki Takeuchi filling in for Kitano. Now, I know this guy has somewhat of a cult-following with his films (most notably, the Dead of Alive trilogy) - other than that, I'm not familiar with him (so sue me for being ignorant). But what's up with this guy? A pudgy, Elvis-looking, Japanese guy doing a bad over-acting impersonation of Gary Oldman. You'd figure they'd get someone decent to fill the shoes of Takeshi Kitano. Hell, get Gary Busey or Frank Stallone.
It's not her fault, but Saori Kitano (Ai Maeda), is just a sorry excuse for a connection between the two films. Like a chick who was such a ruthless bitch to her father is going to take part in a Battle Royale just to avenge his death. Lame-ass writing, that's what it is.
One can truly love BR2 if:
Okay, I'll be fair. You have to give Kenta Fukasaku/Kinji Fukasaku some credit for making a sequel that tops "Grease 2" and "Staying Alive". Let's also thank them for creating the Japanese version of the Road Warrior babe.
What made the original Battle Royale so special was its innovative approach in using a bunch of delinquent self-conscious kids and forcing them into a game of survival, trust and murder. It was fun, brutal and guilty entertainment at its best. Fans of the original will tend to cut BR2 some slack just because it's a "BR" product. But as it stands, BR2 had no heart and lacked the rigid excitement of the original. To simply put it, BR2 is a bad sequel to a great film. If Kenta Fukasaku makes a Battle Royale III, it better be porn.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 3/10