Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003)

movie1251Battle Royale II: Requiem [バトル・ロワイアルII 【鎮魂歌】] (2003)

Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shugo Oshinari, Ayana Sakai, Haruka Suenaga, Yuma Ishigaki, Miyuki Kanbe, Masaya Kikawada, Yoko Maki, Yuki Ito, Natsuki Kato

Directed by Kenta Fukasaku

Expectations: Not much at all. I don’t see how a sequel to Battle Royale can be anything more than a less satisfying retread.

onestar


[If you haven’t seen Battle Royale, this will spoil it. There’s no other way to do it, so just watch the original and then come back and read why you should never watch its sequel.]

If I want to see a particular movie, nothing can dissuade me from watching it. Even after watching Battle Royale, and realizing that there was no way in hell a sequel could recapture its magic, I still went into this movie optimistic. Even knowing the horrible critical and public reception this sequel received, I still pushed play hoping that it was all just a misunderstanding and that I’d be able to enjoy the sequel for what it is, even if it is something less than Battle Royale. I simply wasn’t ready for a movie this bad — just fundamentally bad — and I’d advise anyone who’s only seen Battle Royale to keep it that way.

Battle Royale II: Requiem is not based on a novel like the original, this one is a completely original story by Kinji Fukusaka’s son (and Battle Royale screenwriter), Kenta Fukusaka. I have to give him credit for trying something different and actively avoiding a simple rehash of what had already been done. But in going so off the rails in an effort to give the story weight and pathos (which a simple rehash would never achieve), Battle Royale II actually achieves less than it would have as that simple rehash. I actually wish Kenta Fukusaka didn’t know the meaning of the word “ambition” and had just gone back to the well to deliver another, straightforward Battle Royale event.

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Battle Royale (2000)

poster01Battle Royale [バトル・ロワイアル] (2000)

Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sosuke Takaoka, Takashi Tsukamoto, Yukihiro Kotani, Eri Ishikawa, Sayaka Kamiya, Aki Inoue

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

Expectations: High.

threehalfstar


From the opening moments, Battle Royale grabs you and refuses to let go. It’s not a movie that everyone will be able to stomach, but for those willing to look past the controversial nature of high school kids being forced into a fight to the death, you will find a film that offers much more than simple violence. I had expected it to be hardcore and unflinching — which it definitely is — but I hadn’t expected there to be a touching story underlying the entire film. That’s more my naivety than anything else, although all I’ve ever heard about this movie was how totally awesome it was. I just always assumed that was referring to the kid violence for some reason.

At the dawn of the millennium, the nation collapsed. At 15% unemployment, 10 million were out of work. 800,000 students boycotted school and juvenile crime rates soared. Adults had lost all confidence, and now fearing the youth they eventually passed the Millennium Educational Reform Act. AKA: the BR Act.

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