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Battle Royale II (2003)

DVD Cover (Tartan Video)
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Movie Connections:
Battle Royale
> Battle Royale (2000)
> Battle Royale II (2003)
Action Thriller, Thriller
Kenta Fukasaku Kenta Fukasaku
Kinji Fukasaku Kinji Fukasaku
Tatsuya Fujiwara Tatsuya Fujiwara
Ai Maeda Ai Maeda
Shûgo Oshinari Shûgo Oshinari
Ayana Sakai Ayana Sakai
Haruka Suenaga Haruka Suenaga
Review by Tristan
Added: July 01, 2008
The sequel is always a difficult - and potentially dangerous - move to make, even more so when the original film is a cult classic, worshiped for its originality and creativity. I know what you're thinking, nine times out of ten sequels lack both of these particular traits. Actually aside from a few successful franchises, most sequels are abysmal attempts to cash in on a film's success and squeeze a few extra dollars out of our pockets. I'd like to be able to say I haven't bought into the sequel/prequel hype of some of these films, but alas, I am just as big a sucker as the rest of you. Of course it never helps when you must make every collection complete, regardless of quality. Thank you, OCD. Why the sequel rant, you might be asking yourself. "Battle Royale was such an amazing addition to Asian cinema, there's no way the sequel could be as awful as he's making it out to be." Well fine readers, you're both right and wrong. But don't you worry, we'll get into that a little later.

I'm sure that most of you reading this are either a fan of, or have at least seen the original. If not, it goes a little something like this:

As unemployment and crime starts to rise in Japan, a level of violence starts to occur, and the teens start to disrespect and assault the adults. The adults decide to pass the Battle Royale act, which will take place once a year with a randomly chosen class of high school students. Each of them is wearing a metal collar around their neck which will explode if they attempt to remove it or walk through a danger-zone. The danger-zones will be set up randomly throughout the three days of the Battle Royale. The goal of the Battle Royale is quite simple; if there's only one person that is still alive when the three days are up, they get to go home and carry on with their life. If there's more than one person alive when those three days are up, everybody receives an exploding collar to the head.From there, the main storyline begins... would you be able to kill off your friends? How about your significant other?

It's been three years since the events of the last Battle Royale, and survivor Shuya Nanahara is now the leader of Wild Seven - a worldwide terrorist organization. The government wants him dead, so they devise a plan to bring him to justice. After making a few tweaks to the original Battle Royale rules they gather up a misfits high school class led by Takuma (Shugo Oshinair), give them some armour and weapons, and send them off to the island to defeat Shuya and his followers. Obviously a group of students don't have much experience fighting in a war, and end up being taken hostage by Wild Seven. After hearing Shuya's side and realizing how unjust the society they live in is toward children, they band together to fight the onslaught of military personnel who arrive to make short order of the terrorist faction, as well as destroy the traitorous students.

This film could have been great. It could never live up to the original, even if Kinji had done it instead of his son, but it was a pretty neat idea. The beginning showed great promise, but that was probably only due to the fact that it was almost identical to the original. A class of students are on their way home from a sporting event, only to wake up surrounded by military personnel and wearing the infamous collars. However, right from the start I knew I wouldn't enjoy this film nearly as much as the first. The acting was atrocious, and I do mean atrocious people. The only one who was believable was Shuya, and wouldn't you know it, he was a returning cast member. This poor acting made it very hard to connect with any of the characters, and I'd say I only bothered to remember one or two of them by name. The first film, while a bit shorter, managed to give almost every character a back story of some kind, and made you feel either sad or happy when someone died. This film, not so much.

This movie's one saving grace was its action sequences and special effects. Even though there were the same number of students as before, it seemed like there were a lot more death scenes, and much bloodier deaths. Part of this was due to the fact that their arrival to the island was about as close to an Omaha Beach as you could get without actually filming that battle. Half of the students are wiped out before reaching the shore, and the ones who do make it up are killed rather quickly. While I enjoyed the scene, I was a little letdown by the amount of unnecessary deaths. I don't mean people who were ripped down by machine gun fire, but by the "partner's collar" twist. Each boy or girl is partnered with their corresponding number on the opposite side. If one of them dies, the other has roughly ten or twenty seconds before their collar explodes, tearing their neck open. This accounted for roughly half the deaths in this movie, and while an interesting twist, seemed like a gimmick to kill off the students quickly, so as to focus on the few main characters. Another thing that was a neat idea but was abandoned quickly was the "missions" the students had. Storming the beach, recovering ammo, gaining entrance to the building, all of it seemed like checkpoints in a video game. In fact, a lot of the movie felt like scenarios you'd see in a video game.

Is this a good movie? Not really. For an action flick it's mediocre. As far as being a sequel to the original, it's pretty goddamn awful. I'm sure it didn't help that there was no source material to go by, and Kenta Fukasaku had some pretty big shoes to fill after the death of his father. Son of a legendary film director or not, when your past film experience is writing a screen adaptation of a famous book you're bound to let some people down. I'm sure Kinji Fukasaku would be very disappointed if he could see what a sad job his son did continuing the story of one of Japan's greatest films.

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Mörderwolf777 #1: Mörderwolf777 - added 08/26/2009, 09:33 PM
havent watched it but i heard it was terrible. apparently the director of the original's son decided to do it and he made a half remake half sequal.
Chad #2: Chad - added 06/25/2012, 11:46 AM
This was easily one of the dumbest fucking movies I have ever seen. Awful, simply awful.
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