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Battle Royale II

Japan 2003
produced by
Kenta Fukasaku, Kimio Kataoka, Hikaru Kawase, Masumi Okada for Toei, Fukasaku-gumi
directed by Kinji Fukasaku, Kenta Fukasaku
starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shuga Oshinari, Ayana Sakai, Riki Takeuchi, Haruka Suenaga, Yuma Ishigaki, Miyuki Kanbe, Masaya Kikawada, Yoko Maki, Yuuki Ito, Natsuki Kato, Aki Maeda, Beat Takeshi (= Takeshi Kitano), Sonny Chiba
written by Kenta Fukasaku

Battle Royale

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For a set-up to this movie, please refer to my review to Battle Royale (2000) !

To come to terms with the death of her father (Takeshi Kitano) in the previous movie, Shiori (Ai Maeda) decides to enlist in the Battle Royale program herself - but this time the rules have been altered: it's no longer everybody for himself, this time the kids are sent to the island where Shuya (Tatsuya Fujiwara) - by now an international terrorist - is hiding with his gang, the Wild Seven, & their directive is to eliminate Shuya or die trying, & to keep them in control, they again wear radiocontrolled necklaces that will blow up should they step out of line, or their respective partner is killed (the kids are now sent in in pairs),  & to show them just how serious the government is about the game, their instructor Riki Takeuchi (Riki Takeuchi) even kills one of them in front of all the others, making his partners necklace explode.

But to take out Shuya might sound easier than it is, as even when attempting to enter the island by boat, 12 of the kids are killed off by Shuya & company, with 6 more when the kids are trying to to get their ammo. Most of the kids panic, even want to give up (which ultimately means dying), only Shiori stays focussed, & drags them all forward.

Then though, they walk into a trap & are surrounded by Shuya's men, who are much better trained in guerilla warfare. But instead of having them killed, Shuya - upon seeing their necklaces & being reminded of himself - decides to show mercy, & he blocks the computers that control the necklaces, to free the kids of the things. The kids, especially their leader Taku (Shugo Oshinari) & his girlfriend, the agelic Nao (Ayana Sakai), soon find out how much they have in common with Shuya, much more than with those who want him dead, & even Shiori, whose only initial motivation was to kill Shuya, has a change of heart.

But then Riki Takeuchi sends in the troops to take out Shuya for good, & soon it's an all out battle on the island, with Shuya sending the kids away through a secret tunnle so they will have the future he won't, but courage & loyalty make Taku, Shiori &2 other kids come back & help Shuya out in gunning down the troops - & then the government even uses missiles to eliminate Shuya - problem is, the island is not in Japanese waters, & the country that the island bwelongs to does not take a missile attack too lightly - which doesn't faze the government in the slightest though, only Takeuchi now realizes who he's fighting for, but is revealed to be nothing but a government puppet after all, wearing an explosive necklace just like the kids did ...

Back on the island meanwhile, Shuya's resistance force is down to 3, himself, Taku & Shiori, & they seem to be fighting their last stand, when Takeuchi arrives to help them out, & he uses his exploding necklace to fend of the troops after them, giving them a new lease of life - even if Shiosi dies escaping ...

Later, a different part of the world (most probably Afghanistan, though it's never actually made clear). Those who had saved themselves - among them of course Nao -  by escaping through the tunnle have set up camp here - & one day, Taku & Shuya arrive for a schmaltzy reunion ... & what do you know, even Noriko (Aki Maeda), Shuya's girfriend from part 1, is here !

 


To make a sequel to the highly original Battle Royale was a stupid if somewhat courageous idea in the first place, & to the movie's credit it has to be admitted that the concept is given a new spin, taking the story into a different direction. However, soon all good intentions of making another political statements are thrown out the window & the emphasis is put on neatly choreographed action scenes, blatant heroic deeds & dialogues and a simple story of good versus evil. Furthermore the movie lacks a central (or even interesting) character, with Shuya elevated to status of a holy man, Shiori (the only character that is allowed development) relegated to supporting status during much of the movie, & Taku & Nao as the romantic couple doing little more than playing along old clichés.  Even Riki Takeuchi as the lead main villain only does a camp baddie, no match to Takeshi Kitano's wickedly funny performance in part one (Kitano by the way is only seen in a brief & unnecessary flashback, as is Sonny Chiba), & his change of heart in the end comes across utterly unconvincing. The schmaltzy ending & the total predictability of who's gonna survive, who's gonna die further thrash the movie's impact.

The actress who plays Shiori - Ai Maeda - is actually the sister of Aki Maeda, who played the female lead Noriko in the first movie & in the ending of this one - the 2 of them don't actually have any scenes together though.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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