Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003)

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2003, Toei Company/Fukusaku-Gumi/Toei Video Company/Toei Advertising K.K./Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co./Nippon Shuppan Hanbai K.K./GAGA Communications/WOWOW/Sega

Directors:
Kenji Fukusaku
Kenta Fukusaku
Producers:
Kenta Fukusaku
Kimio Kataoka
Hikaru Kawase
Masumi Okada
Writers:
Takami Koushun (original characters)
Kenta Fukusaku (screenplay)
Norio Kida (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Toshihiro Isomi
Editing:
Hirihide Abe

Cast:
Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shuya Nanahara)
Ai Maeda (Shiori Kitano)
Shugo Oshinari (Takuma Aoi)
Ayana Sakai (Nao Asakura)
Haruka Suenaga (Haruka Kuze)
Yuma Ishigaki (Mitsugu Sakai)
Miyuki Kanbe (Kyoko Kakei)
Masaya Kikawada (Shintaro Makimura)
Natsuki Kato (Saki Sakurai)
Aki Maeda (Noriko Nakagawa)
Riki Takeuchi (Takeuchi-Sensei)

A month into production of this film, the cinematic world lost the legendary Kinji Fukusaku. His son Kenta completed the film that brings original characters and brings in a new class with a new motive.

It’s been three years since Shuya Nanahara survived the Battle Royale program. However, the experience has reached the point where he realizes that the government should be held accountable for the events that changed his life forever. He becomes the leader of the “Wild Seven”, an organization who has gained a reputation for taking on the government. Now in panic, the government have decided to not end the Battle Royale Act, but to revise it with a new motive.

A group of classmates from Shikanotoride Junior High School have been assigned to be part of the newly named Battle Royale 2 Act. However, unlike the Battle Royale Act, the students who are chosen will no longer be killing each other. Instead, the government has located the headquarters of the Wild Seven and the students will now have to go to the location and kill all the members of the Wild Seven. To add more chaos, students are paired up so if one dies in battle, their counterpart will automatically die as well. Who will survive and what will happen when the survivors finally locate Shuya and the Wild Seven?

In 2000, the controversial film Battle Royale received a massive following amongst film fans due to its topics of government power and the film’s theme of junior high students forced to kill each other on an island. It can be said that novels (later adapted into films) such as The Hunger Games and Divergent may have been influenced by this film, which in turn was based on the novel by Takami Koushun.

Auteur Kinji Fukusaku’s film adaptation was a hit and thus, his next film, which would be his last due to his failing health would be a sequel that would bring in a new story. When Kinji Fukusaku had passed, the fate of the film was unknown until his son Kenta (who wrote the screenplay for the first film and this film) took over directing duties. However, this sequel takes an interesting concept and turns into one that isn’t exactly as good as the original, but is not a complete waste of time.

Replacing Takeshi Kitano in the “sensei” role is the more outlandish Riki Takeuchi, who plays the sensei with an over-the-top performance that is borderline insanity. In one scene, he gets warned of a situation and he looks at the officer while chewing on crackers and one will think he will spit the crackers in the officer’s face. Even his introductory scene, which claims two victims when he demonstrates the change in rules, showcases Takeuchi’s slip into madness.

One of the biggest issues with the film is that the viewer may feel they don’t get enough of seeing Shuya Nanahara, reprised by Tatsuya Fujiwara. Now a well-known terrorist whose group consists of former Battle Royale winners (including the crazy smiling girl from the original film’s opening scene), for one of the classmates, it’s all about one thing: revenge. For others, it is trying to survive by going into a literal war, one that may prove to be worthless once the truth is revealed. Instead of the focus being on Shuya, the film primarily focuses on classmates Shiori, played by Ai Maeda, and Takuma, played by Shugo Oshinari, and what they will have to do when they approach Shuya.

The other major issue with the film is that the CGI effects used in the film are more inferior to their original counterpart. However, some practical effects are done well but considering this is a Japanese cult film, it does get a bit over the top, notably in the death of a student who dies when her counterpart is already killed. But the rest of the effects are pretty hokey and for a follow-up to a great film, it is not great, but it is pretty much expected.

Battle Royale II: Requiem is not a great sequel but for something of this nature, it’s ultimately forgivable with a new premise and new motive while keeping the core themes of its predecessor.

WFG RATING: B-

DVD/BLU-RAY

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