Hey folks, Harry here... this news will fall with a heavy weight on the faithful that have been awaiting BATTLE ROYALE 2 with an anticipation equal to or higher than any film that is opening this summer. Does this mean the film sucks? No, it means that Yoshiki Takahashi thought it sucked... ok, really sucked... and his description and spoilers don't leave too much hope, but I've got to see it for myself before I let go of hope. Here ya go....
Hey Harry and co. TokyoScope here. Proud to present the first English language review of BATTLE ROAYLE 2: REQUIEM. It was written by my friend Yoshiki Takahashi (check out his outrageous website at Click Here) who saw the film at a sneak preview in Tokyo last weekend and sent me an e-mail with his impressions. Keep in mind, that this was written on the quick, so it is full of expletives and unfolds with brutal uncensored honesty. But keep in mind also that Yoshiki is a guy with impeccable taste in film, Japanese and otherwise, and I reckon I'd trust his judgement with just about anything. Unfortunately, what he has to say about BR2 ain't all that cool. But here you go. ?
***GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER-SIZED SPOILERS AHEAD!!***
"BRII really sucked. I'm sorry to say so. Compared to the original Battle Royale, the sequel is nothing. BR was violent, immoral, and kind of funny like other Kinji Fukasaku movies. Battle Royale II, directed by his son Kenta (who became director when his father died), has none of these qualities.
The beginning of the movie seems okay, because it is basically the same with the first one. A fun school-trip turns into a nightmare.
Then here you go. Riki Takeuchi appears and explains the new rules of the game; the time limit is 3 days, their target is Shuya (the surviving hero from the first film). The new neck choker is supposed to blow up for two reasons, like if you stay in a forbidden area that changes every hour, and also when your partner is dead or has a distance of over 50 meters from you. A boy and a girl of the same student numbers are teamed up as partners.
Shuya and his Wild Seven terrorist organization are hiding in an island fortress. The war begins. Since the Wild Seven has this island, the students must land on the beach. You don't see the enemies, but they are shooting atop a hill. Some students get killed before landing, some of them throw up...the camera's shutter speed creates a strobe effect,...lots of CGI bullets...it's a cheap, cheap, cheap rip off of Saving Private Ryan for 30 minutes.
All this time, the students are suddenly helping each other to survive. But they are supposed to be problem children and teen delinquents, so I was waiting to see them kill each other and to be full of hate like in the first film. Nothing like that ever happens in this movie. All the characters are simply good guys. The students, Shuya, the Wild Seven and Riki. No way. If Kinji Fukasaku was still alive, he'd have made these characters ruthless, self-centered bastards, but instead, all we got is a bunch of crappy very moral people. Fuck that.
The next day, the students get caught by the Wild Seven.
The base of wild seven is in the ruins, and in deep of that ruin, there is Shuya surrounded by hundreds of candles which symbolize the dead. Shuya seems depressed, tired of life, and he gives the students a speech; this world sucks and I can't take it anymore and the battle between adults and children continues and blah blah blah. He's now a very cheap version of Colonel Kurtz. Fuck that too.
There is one girl, who is Beat Takeshi's (the teacher from the first film) daughter who has joined the game just to kill Shuya. She has many chance to kill him but she doesn't. But she suddenly remembers a conversation with her father, and cries because she's never been good to him.
Everything is totally sissy. People die crying like losers, they chicken out and help each other. Of course we also get a cameo from Sonny Chiba, who is not at all sissy even in this movie. But he appears in Shuya's memory only for a minute.
Bad thing continue to happen. Shuya says he spent a couple of years in Middle East, and even when the country is at war, he has seen an innocent smile on every little child's face and he's now fighting to get that smile back to the children of Japan. FUCK THAT. Then you see a real landscape of the Middle East and real children over there. And it made me think "wow, this is REAL. This movie is NOT".
Another thing ... Riki and Shuya say basically the same thing in different situations, which goes like this: "Afghanistan, Somalia, Columbia, you know what? These are the countries that got bombed by THAT country". In another scene, the prime minister of Japan says to Riki by a TV-phone "THAT country is really mad about Wild Seven and they say that they're gonna bomb the island tomorrow. We don't want to make THAT country mad. So I decided to send soldiers to the island and kill them all". Of course "THAT country" means the United States of America. It's too obvious and I have no idea why they just can't pronounce it. I heard the rumor that it was originally written in the first script, simply as the "U.S.A." Maybe director Kenta was too chicken to mention that, 'cause if Shuya or Riki comes out and says it, the movie and Kenta would have to actually take a side. Well, his father would have, and if you want to say something, JUST SAY IT.
Meanwhile, the government finds out that the students have changed sides and terrorists now, so they send some soldiers to wipe them out. Shuya tells the students and girls and little kids to evacuate, seems he's desperate and wishes to die in this battle. The students runs through a secret tunnel to evacuate, but three boys decide to go back and fight with Shuya. One boy shamelessly says "I think I can find myself through fighting". Is he a Scientologist or what?
Then most of Wild Seven gets killed, two of three returning students got killed, Shuya and this whiny fucker get injured. And then Riki appears again. His character is a total mystery to everyone. I don't know why he suddenly shows up wearing a choker and why it explodes.
Out of ammo, Shuya and the fucker look each other and smile, holding the last gun they have and run up the stairs and go into the light shouting. Rain drops keep falling on my head. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
Three month later in the Middle East, there are Japanese kids wearing some Muslim clothing. I don't know how they got there and why they have to wear these outfits. A car is coming. It stops and ?. Oh my god it's Shuya and the fucker! And all these fuckers live happily ever after.
As you see, the plot is pointless, nonsensical, and silly. The young actors don't ever really act but just scream and cry. I got tired of see so many rip-offs of other films. Unlike the original film and the BR novel, nothing cruel or ruthless ever happens.
Most shamelessly, you don't see the name of director Kenta Fukasaku at the beginning. The credits read "a Kinji Fukasaku film", but at the end of the movie, it is changes to "Directed by Kinji Fukasaku and Kenta Fukasaku". I wish to hang Kenta right now and do some voodoo trick to bring Kinji back to life."