Battle Royale 2

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Al Maeda and Shugo Oshinari
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 23 August 2004

It's been three years since Battle Royale's survivors, Nanahara and Noriko, escaped from the island and the world has descended into an Age of Terrorism. The Wild Seven, led by Nanahara, is an anti-state organisation that has declared war on the adults who force teenagers to kill each other under the murderous BR Act. Fearful and desperate, the government has now passed a Millennium Anti-Terrorism Act, better known as BRII. On their way to a ski vacation, a coach load of Junior High School children are abducted by the military and forced to put on uniforms with lethal explosive necklaces. They are given 72 hours to hunt down and kill Nanahara and The Wild Seven, or they will face certain death at the hands of the authorities...

Battle Royale 2: Requiem is set a few years after the first Battle Royale film, and follows the exploits of Nobu (one of the survivors from the first film) as well as revealing that that Japan has gone even more 'Battle Royale' crazy.

Nobu has formed a terrorist group called Wild Seven who are dedicated to bring down the 'adult' run regime in Japan. In response to this threat, the government in Japan find the group's hideout and send in a class of Battle Royale contenders. The difference with this particular class is that their mission is to eradicate the terrorist group within a certain time or their collars will explode. Couple this together with the fact that their collars are in pairs and if one of the pair dies then the other matched collar will explode... and you have a very explosive situation. Will any of the new Battle Royale contenders survive? Will the government win? Will this film be as good as the first one?

I will only answer the last question because, if you do decide to watch the film, I don't want to spoil it for you. As a big fan of the first film, I can only say that I was disappointed by the sequel. Don't get me wrong, the action scenes are delivered with such an impact that you cannot help but be impressed by them. But one thing that it does lack is the humanity of the original.

Even though the film does deal with very touchy subjects (terrorism, sending poor children to do the governments dirty work - sound familiar?) it does it in such a slap dash way that you can't really connect with it.

The first film blended superb action with humanity and emotion. This film separates the two and gives you very large doses of both. It would have worked better if they had mixed it up a bit. The first half is primarily action and the second half delves into the subject of terrorism and how to get the government to listen and stop serving their own selfish ends. Ultimately the message does get lost because the film makes it very difficult to care about the subject.

One of the first scenes that we see are massive sky scrapers being blown up and it does make you wonder whether they were trying to convey something important to the audience, or just trying to piss of Americans.

The DVD itself has a very good picture transfer and optional DTS sound. The extras include a trailer and some film notes. All in all, a poor package for an okay film.

Ultimately, this is a film that is not a profound as it thinks it is. It will give you some food for thought but probably not about terrorism - more like whether or not you feel that sequels are a good idea.

Simon Lee

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