July 7th, 2014

BATTLE ROYALE 2 (2003) ** ½

Most sequels tend to rehash the elements that made the originals so great. Battle Royale 2 offers up some fun tweaks on the first film’s plotline. For that, I have to give it credit. It’s just a shame that the flick runs out of gas before it crosses the finish line.

We pick things up three years later. The survivors of Battle Royale have formed a terrorist organization called “Wild Seven” and have declared war on all adults. A new Battle Royale crop is picked, but their objective this year is not to kill one another, but to kill the members of Wild Seven.

Director Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale 2 is a bit of a mixed bag, but it still contains some elements that make it worth a look. There are a few rule changes to the game that were welcomed (I liked that if one of the kids died, their partner’s necklace would blow up), and we get a handful of cool moments along the way. The best sequence comes when the kids have to storm the island. This scene plays out like Fukasaku’s warped version of Saving Private Ryan and contains some pretty gory deaths.

The first hour or so moves at a breakneck pace. However, things take a turn for the philosophical in the second hour, which seriously takes the wind out of the movie’s sails. I can’t say that these scenes are altogether uninteresting (Sonny Chiba makes a cameo), but the flick never really regains its momentum afterwards. Overall, Battle Royale 2 is ambitious, yet uneven. And although it doesn’t always work, I’m still glad Fukasaku at least tried to break out of the normal sequel conventions.

AKA: Battle Royale 2: Requiem.