BATTLE ROYALE II REQUIEM
Directed by Kinji & Kenta Fukasaku
Written by Kenta Fukasaku
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Riki Takeuchi, Takeshi Kitano, Sonny Chiba, Shugo Oshinari, Ayana Sakai & Aki Maeda
1.85:1/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 3
Review from the Region 3 NTSC Universe Laser DVD
After surviving the previous BATTLE ROYALE, Shuya Nanahara (Fujiwara) declares war against the adults. He forms the "Wild Seven", a terrorist group who plan to take down their elders. In reaction to this, the government have changed some of the rules of the BR Act. This time a class of reckless students are sent on the island the "Wild Seven" have make their own. Their mission is to kill Nanahara and the Wild Seven.
Replacing Beat Takashi from the first film is the overacting and hyper energic, Riki Takexuchi as the teacher giving out the instructions for this BATTLE ROYALE. The rules are simple and mostly the same ones as before. But this time they will have to work in pair since the explosive electronic collar works for duo, which means when let say Boy 14 dies... Girl 14 will have her head blow up! Also, each student are giving top of the line military weapons and camouflaged military uniforms. Like in the first film everyone pretty much take it bad... except for Noriko (Maeda) who's the daughter of Beat Takashi from the first film... she wants revenge and nothing will stop her from getting to Nanahara.
Without wasting any time, the film shift to full carnage when the students are landing on the island. They are attacked by the Wild Seven in one very bloody battle... most of the students are already dead by then! Filmed in a very SAVING PRIVATE RYAN way with shaky handheld cameras this war sequence is nicely put together. It is after that scene the film slowly starts to lose it as once again Fujiwara's poor performance as Nanahara is laughable, we don't care for the cast and while the film tries many times to have a strong political message, it fails because of the way it is treated.
The film starts with two huge towers exploding (remiscent of the disaster of September 11 in New York). In the film the Wild Seven are responsible for this attack which infact happened in Tokyo but through the film, Kenta Fukasaku' script clearly but not directly attack the United States for what they have been doing around the world for past decades. And more then once it is mentioned that countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia were victims of the US military force. Some very good and interesting political points are made throughout the film but in the end the cartoonish feel and over the top violence takes away the seriousness the film hoped for.
Kinji sadly passed away early during the shooting of the film. At a press conference, the septuagenarian director announced that he had cancer but he still wanted to go ahead with this project which in the end his son finished. This sequel is by no mean a bad film, just think of it this way... there was no chance it could ever top the first one which was an instant classic and international success.
At the time this review was written, the film has been made available on DVD in Japan (with no English subs) and in Hong Kong. The edition I am reviewing is the 2 disc special edition from Hong Kong by Universe Laser. First of all the film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is very nice with rich color saturation, no compression or artifacts. This is as good as expected from a HK DVD. The 5.1 DD and DTS tracks are both loud and aggresive during the fight scenes and feature some cool directional audio fx. There is optional English and Chinese subtitles which have some major errors from time to time. The film is merely separated in only 8 chapters. The menus are static and with music.
The second disc feature profiles on Kinji, Beat and Takeshi. There's the theatrical trailer with Chinese subs. Take note that all the extras can have optional English subs, very nice indeed! 'BR II Making-Of' is not really a making-of but rather a very poor 8 minutes edited version of the film! 'BRII The Gala and the Orchestra" is a special presentation of the film with a live orchestra performing the musical score and an homage to the late Kinji. The 'More Attractions' section features trailers for BATTLE ROYALE and GHOST SYSTEM. Finally there's the 'Photo Gallery' which features only a few stills from the film. There is no inlay card or booklet. Overall a very week edition in the extra department but still worth getting.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©
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