Monday, May 23, 2011

Movie Review: Battle Royale 2 (2003)

This movie was, like, the epitome of disappointment. Me and the first Battle Royale film are best buds. I seriously love that movie and the book, and while I was excited to see the sequel, Battle Royale 2: Requiem, I couldn't really imagine a rehash of the previous film's plot. But the two movies are actually quite different - and not in a good way.

Battlefield Plot: Shuya Nanahara, one of the survivors from the first film, has started a terrorist group against the adults in charge of the Battle Royale program. At the same time, another group of students has been chosen for the same program, but with a different objective. They are dropped off on the island where Nanahara's group, the Wild Seven, have their hideout and are told that they have three days to kill Nanahara or they will all be killed by the exploding collars around their necks.

The kids are perhaps not as innocent as the group in the first movie. They are described as being the most delinquent, put together in the same class for gosh knows what reason. And yet when they are forced into this war-like situation, the facades break down and they are just as terrified as anybody else would be. This is presented to the audience in a scene similar to that of BRI, when the students are locked in a huge cage and are told the rules of the game by their nutso, psychotic teacher. They freak out. But most reluctantly agree to play the game, mostly because they have no other choice - they could either die right there or maybe have the chance to survive later.

With this is in mind, I was expecting a more emotional film with the students being torn between whether to choose survival or to kill someone who is fighting the people who put them in this situation to begin with. There's also another layer of conflicted feelings with one of the BR students, Siori Kitano, because she is the daughter of the teacher from BRI, whom Nanahara killed. Kitano also drew that picture of Noriko, the other survivor and Nanahara's love interest, which made Siori jealous and which would make you think that she'd be all gung ho about killing Nanahara.

And yet, none of this potential emotional turmoil ever comes to fruition in this movie. Forty-two students participate in the game, same as last time. But instead of giving us the opportunity to explore how different people would react in this extreme situation, it seemed like the filmmakers just wanted to plow through most of them so they could leave us with the few they wanted to be the main characters. When the group first arrives on the island in motor powered rafts, they are ambushed by the Wild Seven who shoot them from towers and blow up a few boats. Then more of the group is mowed down as they storm the beach like at Normandy. Almost half of them are gone in those few minutes, before the game has even really begun.

Another element the filmmakers bring in to get through the unimportant characters more quickly is that their explosive collars are linked to each other. Each student has a "partner" of sorts, and if one of them dies, or strays too far from the other, then the partner dies too. A two-for-one deal, if you will. And while  there is some kind of message to be learned from the few surviving members of this film, it is not as interesting as the missed emotional opportunities and gets almost completely lost in the mayhem of the violence.

I swear I felt like I was watching a war film. And while I guess the kids have technically declared war on the adults, it is not executed all that well and gets extremely old. Fast-forwarding through the battle sequences is totally okay because trust me, you won't miss anything. It is unbelievable how these inexperienced kids could stand up in a battle against trained military or government agents and not get their asses handed to them in less than a minute. Just ridiculous.

People overact, almost everyone who dies has to make some kind of retarded final statement, and the charm, black humor, and emotion that made BRI so great is utterly and completely gone. There is no great showdown between Siori and Nanahara like we are pretty much promised. People die bloody and that's all well and good but I was really looking for more substance and less showy theatrics. Thumbs down. Watch BRI and forget about this one.


  1. Yeah, this movie sucked.

    I guess we can blame it on the greedy studio, the tepid script or the original Director dying right as the production began.

    Ultimately, it still sucked.

  2. Yeah, I totally agree with you.

    I didn't actually get all the way through it to find to gather m full opinion on it (and this hardly ever happens with a film, no matter how bad it is.)

    I LOVE the first Battle Royale, and can happily say it is definitely one of my favourite films, so to have this as a follow-up is so disappointing, it actually hurts.

  3. It definitely left something to be desired...namely a re-write. I’m a huge fan of BR1 and the 15 volume manga series. To me, BR2 was like the melding of two completely different movies. It’s almost as if halfway through the scriptwriting they ran into a wall, so they decided to take somebody else’s war-based script and staple it to the end. Oh, well. It’s hard to beat perfection, and BR1 was perfect.

    Another great review.

  4. brilliant review; totally agree. The first 30-40 minutes are ok - everything else plain sucks. What a bother!

  5. I liked the action sequences but some really stupid and irritating things killed this movie. Firstly the movie starts with the students playing mixed team male and female Rugby..that never happens. Rugby is my country's national sport and i can tell you they would all get snapped like twigs. The actor playing their teacher is so over the top with his over acting that he makes a mockery of the film. And what is it with that scene towards the end where their teacher is wearing a rugby uniform and dies while making a stupid imaginary try...too much sermonising toward the end..and im sorry but if you're gonna broadcast a message to the world you would do it in english because nobody would understand it or even give a shit if it was in japanese (your average redneck sitting on his couch in 'cow-tip' alambama is not gonna suddenly jump up and say "sheeee-it, that thur little china-man fella has a point!")

  6. Females are better rugby players and make better astronauts (known scientific fact).
    The "over the top" acting by the teacher is to make a comment about the "insanity of war"
    The teacher would have liked to have connected with his students but was not able to until the end