The sequel to Fukusaku’s ‘Battle Royale’ promises so much but ultimately falls as a pretty gruesome action movie but sadly an obvious reuse of the same idea.
The sequel carried on pretty much from the last, I think there is something like a 3 year gap between the stories but the sate of social structure in Japan is the same; young versus old. The government are still churning in the kids to play the game but this time the rules have changed, now they are sent to take out the terrorist leader Narahara (the survivor from the first film) who has fortified a position on a remote island. He had committed several terrorist bombings of government buildings and so why risk soldiers I guess.
Basically the film starts off much like the first film with an unsuspecting group of kids being drugged and taken into the game arena. We see a bit about the collars and the rules, cue really satisfying head popping! And then it’s off to war. Basically the first hour of the film is fucking awesome, with a Saving Private Ryan esk beach assault with heavy machine guns and mortars tearing most of the kids apart. I absolutely love this sort of thing. As well as blood guts and violence there is some pretty neat camera work which keeps the action really intense and the whole affair looks pretty realistic.
Sadly it’s after the first hour the film begins to unravel and we see the limited plot begin to unravel until it quite frankly becomes irritating.
In the second half of the film Narahara convinces the survivors of the beach assault to join his cause and then after a lot of propaganda we see a counter attack. Basically this is pretty much it for the remainder which in itself seems pretty reasonable except this makes all too apparent two things. The first is that the acting is not exactly Oscar material and the long dialogue sequences which take place in between the snippets of action in the second half really begin to get frustrating as the set piece conversations start to look a little over acted and unconvincingly intense. The second is that the dialogue is really really cheesy, and it pissed me off. If you think of all the slightly cheesy moments when, in their dying breathe, the kids confessed their love for one another which were present in the first film and multiply it 10 fold then you can get the idea. It all seemed really corny in the end and it was quite evident that fresh ideas were few and far between. Basically Narahara just keeps babbling shit about hating the ‘grown-ups’ and all of the other kids just kept on seeing their mates dying and babbling some shit about all the things they did for them and how much they loved them.
Boring, cheesy and unnecessary.
My mood went from ecstatic to wanting to turn it off within the course of about 1 hour 30!
So then overall...
Sadly the lack of inspiration in the second half of the film essentially ruins a film which starts off so brilliantly. By the end of it I was really fed up to be honest. Too cheesy for me, and to be perfectly honest if you’ve only got enough material for an hour 30 film why stretch it out to 2 hours? Condense the shit; keep the pace and the killing and Fukusaku would have produced a really solid sequel.