June 26, 2003

Battle Royale II (2003)

While there's still lots of gory fun including exploding heads, decapitations, gunshot wounds, eviscerations and other nastiness, "Battle Royale II: Requiem" just isn't as good as the original.

The main reason is that after all the excitement of the first half an hour or so, it all gets very talky with huge boring sermons about how bad war is.

All I wanted to see was Japanese kids shooting each other. That idea seemed to be very promising as, this time round, they all start off with huge machine guns (and rocket launchers!) rather than having to spend most of the film finding them.

The twist is that the kids are each linked to a partner. If the partner dies then the collar they wear explodes. So the body count in the early stages of the film is quite high and lots of characters who could die in a blaze of machine gun induced nastiness just get blown up - which is a waste! Even the "teacher", who looks a lot like a leather-clad Japanese version of Les Mckeown, makes remarks along the same lines.

So, by my reckoning, if one of the characters in a film comments about how lame things are then it pretty much sums up the state of play.

The other plot change in "BRII" to the original is that the kids are sent to an island to wipe out "terrorists" who are actually the survivors of the first "Battle Royale". This turns out to be a pretty stupid idea too. Once the kids reach the terrorists, they are instantly captured and relieved of their collars. Then it all gets really dull.

Of course my real reason for liking these films is all the pretty Japanese schoolgirls, which is fine as they are all obviously older than the characters they are playing. Only a couple stand out this time, but none are as interesting as the ones in the original "Battle Royale". Characterisation is given short shrift here in favour of all the speeches by the extremely hairy "terrorists".

In summary, it's 8 out of 10 for blood and guts, 2 out of 10 for the rest of the film. I just didn't feel involved enough in the story this time round to care one way or another who died. Let's hope BRIII is better.

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