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3.1 out of 5 stars78
3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 27 July 2004
The first BR was the sort of film that you either loved due to pushing the envelope further than deemed possible, or hated because you hadn't seen it, but the Daily Mail said it was "EVIL!!!". So, when a sequel comes along, promising to take the initial premise one giant leap further, you expect fireworks. Do we get them? Well...
Things start off with a bang - literally, making 9/11 look like a party popper as Tokyo is brought to the ground by the Wild Seven terrorist group, led by BR survivor Shuya Nanahara. Here, the premise is set up - war has been declared against adults, but the adults don't want to play. This time, the students are selected to storm their hideout, and waste anyone and everyone there.
Of course, the ante has to be upped to avoid a repeat of the first film. And this is done on two levels. Firstly, the action is explosive, visceral and breathtaking, tearing a page from the storyboards of Saving Private Ryan, and upping the adrenaline to make an insane sequence as the students storm the beach. Secondly, crucially, there is a slight alteration to the collars - every student has an opposite, Boys #3 and Girls #3, for example. And if one of them dies in whatever circumstances, the other collar is set to blow as well. Naturally, these combine to get the bodycount off to a sprint start, with 18 (EIGHTEEN!) students dead in the space of a few short minutes. But this is where the main problem of BR2 lies - you don't care about the dead students (you don't even know their names until the post mortem roll call), so your reaction isn't shock, it's to look at the screen and go "Cool!"
Compared with the first film, this is a serious lack. In the first, you actually cared about the students and what happened to them, as they were fleshed out and had their own back stories - be it Shuya, Kawada, Mimura, Nobu, Chigusa or fan-favourite Kiriyama. Here, the only character that resonates is Kitano's daughter, which says how ineffective a male lead Takuma is. It also highlights the other major loss from the first film - Takeshi Kitano is only in one scene of the film, rather than casually stealing it as he did first time. Takashi Miike regular Riki Takeuchi tries to fill the void, and brings some menace to his character, but was on to a losing battle from the start, while Sonny Chiba's role as Mimura's uncle is too short to mean much. If the characters were just shooting each other for a couple of hours, this might not be as notable, but long stretches of the film are just the characters reflecting and contemplating - but it just doesn't wash, for the basic reason they aren't characters, merely archetypes.
Yes, the film redeems itself towards the end with an intense, drawn out battle between Wild Seven and Special Forces, as well as a hilarious sequence with the Japanese PM arguing with Takeuchi and some non-too flattering allusions to the US, but it doesn't work in the way it clearly should. And the rugby allegory is plain criminal.
As a testament to Kinji Fukasaku's career (he died during filming, and son Kenta took over), it doesn't seem to be a fitting send off. It may fail to miserably fail to live up to the first film, and does not favour considerably, but it does stand up on some of its points and sequences. However, it is not as bad as the hardcore BR fans and critics alike make it out to be. Worth satisfying your curiosity with, if nothing more.
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I expected this film to be a basic retelling of the first film but with a different cast - but I was pleasantly surprised to see that although much of the film felt similar, it was actually very different. Critics of the film will focus on the fact that it still involves school kids with exploding collars around their necks who are put on an Island to kill or be killed, but the fact is that the story which drives the film, is more politically charged than the first.

A terrorist group called `Wild Seven', led by Suya Nanahara (the male survivor of the prequel) has declared war on grown ups. The Battle Royale Act has been re-drafted and a bunch of school kids are put on an island and tasked with killing Nanahara within 72 hours - or be killed themselves.

As with the first film, there is a running count given of fallen students, starting with 40; the group soon dwindles as they come under fire. Instead of killing each other, they are effectively an army platoon.

The opening scenes which show the terrorist attacks in Tokyo at the hands of Wild Seven sees the destruction of several sky-scrapers, reminiscent of the 11th September attacks in the US. The opening is set to a fantastic musical score which doesn't hold up as well during the rest of the film. It isn't too long before we see Riki Takeuchi's over the top performance as the teacher explaining to the students what they must do. The audience cannot help but despise this evil figure as he takes great delight in explaining that the students must choose to be a winner (face almost certain death) or a loser (face a very certain death) - this is demonstrated whilst the pupils are locked in a giant cage and one is exterminated. But as the film develops we see another side to him as we learn about his own loss. Another difference in the sequel is the buddy-system. Each boy is allocated a buddy girl. If one dies then the buddy then dies also (via the explosive neck collars). The same applies if they wander too far form each other.

Takeuchi's performance is very much over acted and takes away from the gravitas of the situation. But it is he who introduces the strong political element of the film...

....The main difference with the first film is the explicit international politics expressed in the film. The teacher starts scribbling the names of countries on a blackboard whilst yelling them out. He then explains that all these countries (including Japan) have something in common - they have all been bombed by the USA in the last 60 years, "8 million dead among 22 nations!". Later on in the film there are constant references to "The other country" threatening to bomb the Island unless they can expunge the terrorists, but it's pretty obvious that these are references to the US.

The film deals with issues such as terrorism, and questions how we think about terrorists - are they wrong? Are we supporting the right side? Should we listen and perhaps join the terrorists? The film has its flaws, such as a plot which seems to meander away from itself too much, not enough emotion and very little character development, and expression a bit too childish (a war on all grown ups). There also seems to be some plot holes; why is Wild Seven on the island? If the Government want them destroyed then surely they can just do it themselves. America is seen as an international super-bully which has destabilised the world by bombing everyone, but then is seen as an ally against Wild Seven - what happened in-between? How can the Islanders get enough power to run a media operation and run the various technology there?

But these questions, and the over acting which sometimes stands out like a sore thumb are often balanced by some of the fantastic scenes in the film, such as the initial landings on the Island - similar to those seen in documentaries and films about the Second World War..

This is one of those films I would give 3.5 stars to, but seeing as I have to choose either 3 or 4, I'll opt for three. A good sprinkling of extras like those issued with the various releases of the first film could tip this to a four.

It isn't very often you come across a film which dares to look at the international political situation from a different angle. A bit more clarity would have earned this another star from me.

Without doubt, the most impressive thing about this film is that it questions the viewer, not just a questioning of good taste as some would argue, but it questions the way we think about involvement of the US and the reaction of so called `terrorist' groups. The teacher argues that "there are only two sides in life, winners and the losers... It's black or white, there's nothing in between" - but that isn't the case, it isn't as easy as that, there are huge grey areas in-between, that that is what the film invites you to consider.
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on 24 October 2013
Some say that the first one is better than this 'battle royale' but I have always preferred this one, it's action packed, gory, tense, everything you want in a film. You don't need to watch the original to understand and follow this one. I've never seen a film like this until hunger games which I can safely say is NOT as good as this. The japanese definitely have the original and unusual ideas in movies before the rest of us!
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You either loved Battle Royale or it did nothing for you. Those latter people are not going to be interested in this film at all. Fans of the original are going to want to see this, but might well be as disappointed as I was.
There are plenty of good points to this sequel, but it really does have something missing - Takeshi Kitano for a start. The teacher in Requiem really does take overacting to a new level! What is really missing is the sense of shock and surprise. The film is slow to start because it covers the same ground in that we see a group of kids at their school, then on a bus at the end of the year, then getting gassed and waking up in a base camp and getting the orientation speech from their teacher. While the kids might be surprised at all this, the audience is not - they saw it all in Battle Royale so the scene where packs are given out seems to go on forever.
The premise of the first film was a bit shaky, but we overlooked that for the sake of enjoyment. In this case its just plain bizarre: a terrorist who has destroyed half of Tokyo (Nanahara from the first film) is hiding on an island. The government knows exactly where they are so instead of just sending in the SAS or bombing the place to the ground or anything easy like that, they send in forty or so untrained schoolchildren. In case that is too easy they put limitations on the kids by making pairing them up so that their heads get blown off if they stray more than 50m from each other. In case that was not hard enough they still impose arbitrary 'danger zones' and send the kids in without ammunition and parachute that in separately, right into the line of fire, which was the point where willing suspension of disbelief became impossible.
However, once the action starts, you do get wrapped up in it. The beach landing is a non-too-subtle homage to Saving Private Ryan, even using the same grainy, jumpy camera effect. The battle scenes are bloodthirsty, with effective use of the surround sound channels to add even more zip to them.
Unfortunately good action is not enough to sustain a film entirely and when the action lets up so does the interest level because the characters are just not as engaging. Even the action get a bit stale as there is not the variety this time round - every kid has the a gun so its all shooting and gun battles, so while the effects seem more bloody than in Battle Royale (especially the collar explosions), there is none of the inventiveness. The little bit of anti-American politics, while probably valid, is shoe-horned into the plot.
Maybe its all just a cultural thing, and the story, style and acting on this do not translate as well for a European mindset, but I felt this film did not live up to expectations.
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on 27 March 2016
Enjoyed Battle Royale 1 but the plot in this one was ridiculous. The 'terrorists' were holed up on an island and the authorities instead of just bombing the island or sending their own troops in, they sent in a team of school kids to kill them! Once there, the HQ had 'never ending' candles (no electricity) and even though the 'terrorists' had declared war on all adults (20 plus in Japan) loads of them were clearly aged well over this. The teacher/controller of the school kids throughout the film was supposed to be a psycho but his acting was so over the top it was laughable and totally unbelievable. The ending too was a joke with the 2 'heroes' who clearly should and would have died in the final gun battle miraculously ending up in Afghanistan along with the other escapees. Ludicrous!! To top it all off, there's a very strong anti-American theme throughout the film which seems somewhat unnecessary to me.
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on 27 September 2006
Well, it was a close run thing, but Battle Royale 2 has to take the crown as the official Worst Film I've Ever Seen. Most of the 2 hours or so of my life I wasted on watching this bizarre, rambling trash was spent thinking to myself "but the first one was so brilliant, I'm sure this one'll get better if I just stick with it." But it didn't - it got worse. And then it got even worse.

Just so we're clear, it's not funny bad, it's not kitsch bad - it's just incredibly poorly written and directed. The confused, amorphous plot doesn't hang together, the characters are terrible - you don't really get what's going on, and you don't care about the characters. Please take my word for it - don't buy this film, don't watch it, don't let anyone you care about watch it. It's 2 hours of your life you're never going to get back.
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on 26 March 2005
Firstly, the sequel is much more violent than the original (although some might disagree). Secondly, it is more of a war film than anything else, so those expecting an experience similar to the first film might be slightly disappointed.
There are obviously some genuine criticisms with this film, but I think it's criticised unfairly by some viewers for not being identical to the original in terms of the storyline. However, the film does have some major flaws which let's it down. It also suffers from some rather retarded moments (the scene where the teacher blows himself up, for a start). Also, the running time of the film is probably too long for its own good, and the ending itself is rather unconvincing because it attempts to tie up all the loose ends of the film (something which wasn't really bothered with in the original).
On a more positive note: the acting is of a very high standard and conveys believeability into the somewhat convoluted storyline (the character development is good, too). The action scenes are also quite spectacular at times. And although most of the characters are killed off by the middle of the film, the few remaining characters are likeable enough to actually make the viewer care about what happens to them. Overall: not as good as the first film, but definitely worth watching (especially if you're a fan of the original).
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on 30 October 2013
This came before the Hunger Games, I recommend watching the first one then pick this one up. Better and more original than the Hunger Games before the American's got their hands on the idea.
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on 27 November 2004
Battle Royale was a great film, yes it had its flaws and didn't quite live up to Koushun Takami's Novel but it was worth the money.
Battle Royale Requiem is the follow up to this film following the terrorist activities of Shuya Nanahara and his newly formed group of past BR act survivors. It covers the basics of the first film and seems the same, the first half of the film is explosive and action packed, the new "contestants" are linked in pairs through the collars like in the first one. A normandy style beach storming takes place when the "game" begins and gets rid of the unimportant characters. The film gets a bit slow and cheesey when they enter wild seven's stronghold and it keeps going downhill.
I would say this film needed to be made to answer the questions left by the first film it is just a shame that Kenta (director and screenwriter) had to take up his fathers foot steps.
Albeit with the flaws of this film i still found it better than the first one in a few respects but altogether it can't match the original working of the contravorsial first film.
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on 26 July 2008
First let me say that I thought the original Battle Royale was ok, nothing more, but ok.

However this film is probably one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. There are so many things wrong with it I don't know where to start. Had the film not had so much violence and killing it could have been classified as a badly made film about children aimed at children. However due to the content I review it as an adult movie.

The story is ludicrous to begin with, but as with many movies we accept that we have to suspend logic to some extent. In this case to get over the child army's efficient demolition of a Special Forces army requires the viewer to disengage the brain altogether.

The characters are ridiculous to the extent rarely seen in western movies. In the UK one would have to visit a Pantomime to see such an over the top villain, whilst I have rarely seen such a proliferation of angst ridden snarling teenage rebel heroes in one movie. This combined with the ubiquitous fluffy haired Japanese pseudo-punk make for the most annoying cast I have see for some time.

Many of the lines issued throughout the film seem to have been lifted directly from the `Airplane' movies or `Austin Powers'. Classics such as this line from a miscellaneous enemy who has just been shot, `You have shot me....shit', followed by, `'. Then we have the deep and thoughtful leader of the freedom fighters with the philosophical statement `Living seriously is a hundred times harder than dying'. Well actually watching this film is a hundred times harder than dying to be honest.

The movie is peppered with slow motion shots of various cast members getting popped off and segments with melancholy piano music.

Somewhere in the film there are references to war and clips of Afghanistan. I am not sure if there is supposed to be a message in this film at some level. The only message coming through to me loud and clear was `In future be very wary of watching Japanese movies'.

Had the female cast of the film been wearing traditional Japanese school girls uniforms I might have given it two stars, but sadly even this detail was over looked, and for that reason I give it only one.
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