|Directed by:||Kenta Fukasaku, Kinji Fukasaku|
|Written by:||Kenta Fukasaku|
|Cast:||Tatsuya Fujiwara, Natsuki Kato, Yuma Ishigaki, Ai Iwamura, Mitsuru Murata, Masumi Tooyoka, Takeshi Kitano, Ai Maeda, Shigo Oshinari, Ayana Sakai, Riki Takeuchi, Aki Maeda|
|Studio:||Toei Company Ltd.|
I went into this flick with severely low expectations. I heard about the sequel about the same time as I had heard about the original. I had also heard that it was an awful sequel that was just crap from beginning to end. I would have ventured into seeing it out of pure curiosity if it was a handful of individuals warning me, but EVERYONE thought this movie sucked. I finally got around to viewing this supposed abomination and my feelings coming out of the flick? The universal word of mouth is essentially on point. ‘Battle Royale 2’ is a mess, it’s no where near as daring or fun as the original and it’s a damn shame.
Note that famed director Kinji Fukasaku passed away in the early stages of this flick and it fell into completion by his son. It’s unclear as to weather or not the script was fully completed before shooting or not, but honestly I don’t see Fukasaku doing something like this at all after providing us with one of Japan’s most acclaimed motion pictures. With that in mind, lets get into what was wrong with this flick because it sure as hell out weighs whats done correctly.
Right off the bat there are plot holes all around this flick that just scream for attention. The premise here is to send in a group of 9th graders on a death mission to kill Shuya Nanahara who has become a main threat in the governments eyes. Check. However, if the governments soul purpose is to dispose of Shuya...why not send in trained military soldiers from the get go to complete the mission instead of sending them in the very end? On that note...why put collars around their necks and add the fact that dangers zones can kill them as well as the whole fact that now these students must work in pairs (if one dies in battle the others collar explodes), isn’t this one huge inconvenience to these students if you actually want them to succeed? There are other plot holes in this flick but these where the two that really got me to scratch my head. To be honest I’m not looking for an amazing plot here but one that made sense would have helped a lot, if they weren’t going to provide us with a healthy plot then at least give us characters we can care about...which is something ‘Battle Royale 2‘ also fails at.
The only original character here is Shuya...but the problem here is that he’s almost a completely different character as he was in the original. Shuya never came off as the strongest male character, but he at least stood his own and was a likable individual. He comes off as completely weak here and it seems a bit farfetched that he would be the leader of Wild Seven when he comes off completely unstable. It’s almost like the Shuya from the original and the Shuya are completely different characters which is mind boggling. Sure the guy can fight but when it actually came time to being motivational and inspiring to his gang of misfit survivors he completely failed. The first flick had other characters that you could have liked even if you didn’t like Shuya but almost every single character here just comes off as cannon fodder. None of them are exactly likable and a lot of them just come off as obnoxious. There are some characters that came off as exciting or interesting but they aren’t given enough screen time for you to actually give a shit about them. The new male lead is played by Shûgo Oshinari as Takuma, at first he comes off as a decent substitute to the original Shuya but after a while he just becomes annoying. Oshinari overdoes the character and every time something happens that doesn’t sit well with him he sneers at the camera like he’s insanely offended. He gets a bit ridiculous after a while, and it’s kind of a shame that he got the most screen time as he wasn’t exactly interesting. However none of the characters are as bad as the main bad teacher this time around Riki Takeuchi who plays...himself apparently. This guy will go down as one of the lamest villains in cinema history. Takeuchi is ridiculous in almost every single scene he’s in, and just brings the film down to a whole new level. He overdoes everything...it would be fine if it were certain scenes but it’s literally EVERY TIME HE’S ON CAMERA. He overdoes the way his face looks, he over does his voice, he looks at the camera in a ridiculous manner, he’s just way to over the top and it really hurts the flick. I could bash this guys performance for the whole review...but I think you folks get the point.
The action in this flick is mediocre at best. Sure it’s fun to see people shoot each other but it’s just not exciting. Part of this is do to the fact that you don’t know or care about any of the characters as their all transparent and generic. Every kid is given a gun this time around so its just guns blazing for two hours but it’s very dull. The first flick gave the kids randomized weapons so you saw different kinds of action sequences and all of them were great, here it’s the same thing from Point A to Point B. It also staggers me that all of these kids were trained shots...literally, each of these kids appeared to have great skills in shooting fully automatic weapons. The other thing that got me was that the intensity just wasn’t there this time around. I was amused by the whole kids being partnered up scenario in which if one died the others collar would explode, but this wore off quickly and honestly came off as a cheap way to off characters. Wild Seven members are former winners of the previous games and you even see the bloody girl carrying the doll from the original in this one but she is so criminally underused...in fact I didn’t even notice her until the very end. It would have been great to get more insight on these individuals.
Was there anything that I liked about this movie? Well, its kind of cool to see the character of Shuya once again even if he isn’t the same character. The film also has a few nice cameos which are always a welcome addition. We also get Kitano’s biolgocial daughter as one of the main characters this time around which is a nice link to the first film. However, she doesn’t come off as to likable throughout the whole film and her tension with Shuya could have been utilized much better...regardless she was a nice addition. Some of the set pieces are nice and even though the action gets bland real fast some of it is fun to watch. Also some of the female characters are fun to look at as well, but none of them are very memorable unfortunately.
Overall, ‘Battle Royale 2’ is a complete mess and it sucks knowing that this is the only sequel ‘Battle Royale’ will get. I’m not even sure ‘Battle Royale’ needs a sequel, but it sure as hell doesn't deserve this. Forgettable characters, and lame returning characters followed by boring action sequences and plot holes across the map make this an overall failure. I say it’s worth checking out if you got ‘The Complete Collection’ just to say you watched it (because you did buy it), but don’t go out of your way to buy this movie on its own or even download it.