Three years after the events in "Battle Royale," Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara)is a well-known terrorist bent on bringing down the government. In response, they order the creation of the "Battle Royale 2" program, and send a class of junior-high students to catch and kill him.Written by
Jacquie Allen <email@example.com>
Towards the end of the credits a flag is shown, followed by black and white stills from the action sequences in the movie and then a black and white photo of the whole class that participated in the BR2 act, then another BW still of Nanahara and his comrades, and lastly a BW shot of director Kinji Fukasaku. See more »
As with most people who know anything about films, or just those with a sick and morbid sense of humour, I loved the original Battle Royale. It is my favourite film of all time, and I expect will be till the day I die. Never before had such an obscure concept on paper, transfer into such cinematic gold. So, as you can imagine, if you go in expecting the same of BR2 then you're going to be disappointed.
The first thing to note when seeing BR2, is don't get your hopes up. Good sequels are often looked down upon merely because they pale in comparison to the original. That said, BR2 is a good film, but it's not the original Battle Royale, and don't expect as much. What made the original great was 3 things: Originality, an intense amount of dark humoured violence, and Beat 'Kitano' Tekashi. BR2 has none of these (well a little Beat Tekashi).
What first strikes you odd about BR2 is exactly what they were thinking for the replacement they hired for Beat Kitano. Personally I'd have a preferred a "we cloned him so here he is" storyline line just so they could recast the master that is Beat Tekashi, than the low grade actor they got for this film. Whereas Kitano managed to pull off the role effortlessly with a sense of depression and casual disregard for life which excellently portrayed what his character was going through, the Kitano replacement left little to no explanation to what he was doing there. What adds to the confusion is when we find out he is there against his will, and we are left hints that he might have been one of the first BR survivors (yet nothing is fully revealed, nor ever will be). Although it is hard for any man to fill Tekashi's shoes, this person just does an awful job, and towards the end I just got confused to what his motivation and purpose was in the film.
What has also gone in this sequel, is the dark humour present in the random and senseless killings. Instead, this has been replaced with a very involved and heavy storyline, which makes the deaths much less enjoyable to watch (although there are still a few whoppers in there). What annoyed me most about this film however, was the extremeness of the anti American and pro terrorist underlying plot. Being from the UK it is all to refreshing to see a movie in which America is finally made to answer for it's injustices to the majority of the world, and a message which communicates that not all terrorists are evil and that many are just fighting for a cause the only way they know how...but BR2 took it too far even for me. Americans tend to hold the belief that all terrorists are evil, while BR2 holds the belief that all terrorists are freedom fighters, if you look somewhere in the middle then you'll find the truth in the way the world works.
Unfortunately, the deaths in this film are almost entirely from being shot at long distance, and hence removes the entertainment of the numerous different types of killings that was present in the first film. Following on from a film where a decapitated head had a grenade stuffed in it's mouth and was thrown through a window...I was expecting a little more gratuity than we are given. Towards the end of the film one is left feeling that they sacrificed everything that BR was about, in favour of making a heavily political anti American film.
Don't go into this movie expecting the lighthearted nature of the first film, this sequel is very much darker and deeper. And if you can get past the lameness of the Kitano replacement, the fact that Kawada and Korijima aren't in it, and can overlook the blatant anti American underlying tone, then you'll at least find this film entertaining. I would give this film 7/10, and would recommend you at least watch it. Just keep in mind that it's not as good as BR1, and nothing ever will be, and you may yet walk out the cinema with a smile.
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