Friday, April 15, 2011

Forgotten Sequels: Battle Royale II

The second time is not the charm!  There are a lot of people or decisions made in regards to this movie to criticize.  The first one- forcing a sequel out when your most interesting star (Takeshi Kitano) got killed off.  If you had planned a sequel, don't kill him or leave it ambiguous.  This leads to my biggest problem with the film overall, but I'll get to that later.  Another problem is the change in tone.  A lot of people on Netflix harp on this film for one reason- it's anti-American stance.  A big chunk of the film's plot is centered around how bad America is for always attacking everyone.  Just to note- this was made before the 'Bush Jr. Wars,' so I find it hard to defend.  The biggest thing about that stance- it's entirely-pointless.  It doesn't fit in with the narrative flow of the series (at least not the film one) and just feels intrusive.  Another thing that's intrusive is the new focus on the BR program in this film.  I get it contextually, but also feel that a better choice could have been made.  According to what I've read, the one person I can't blame is the Director, who apparently died during the film's production.  I could probably blame his son, who took over and helped make this film the mess that it is.  Do I?  I'm on the fence right now.  Before I complain any more here, let me complain as I join in on the...
The film begins with your basic recap of the first film, focusing on the two surviving characters.  They explain that the situation has not improved with their escaping and thanks in no small part to the evil country of America.  Strike 1.  The film talks about the teacher who was running the program (Kitano) and then shows his daughter, who just happens to be the right age for the BR program.  That's just silly, but whatever floats your boat.  Before we get to know the kids too much (especially in comparison to the first film), they end up in the familiar, military convoy and at the site of the new BR program.  They meet up with...well, this guy.
The new kids don't take well to their orders, leading a prolonged section of them being threatened and/or yelled at.  Someone apparently thought that this part of the original film was the best, so they try to 'make the most' of it.  They finally get their mission: dress up like soldiers and take out the two survivors from the last BR program in order to kill them.  That's a bit in contrast to the original film!  Especially when you consider that the bad guys' plan is to arm the kids in order to have them kill other kids, but also put exploding collars on their necks.  Work together to kill people...or die.  They are sent out to assault a beach, a scene stolen right out of Saving Private Ryan.  Yes, it is based on history, but most people know the visual best from that film.  Plus, this film was released only two years after Spielberg's.  Side note- they use American history as a template in a film that derisively-insults America- odd, right?  This scene goes on for a bit, but lacks the drama of the original film.  One- they're being attacked by the heroes of the first film.  Two- I still don't know who the hell these people are!
Things take a turn when the survivors from the last BR program finally realize that the people shooting at them are students.  Nice of you to notice the giant collars on their necks!  The group still have a big face-off circa The Rock before the resistance fighters jam the signal to the collars.  The two groups agree to work together. The lead guy from the new group goes to talk to Shuya, who proceeds to give a long speech condemning America yet again.  Amongst his list of countries that America has attacked/invaded is Bosnia.  Yeah, not so much.  In fact, I don't think I can take any more of this movie.  The End.
Holy disappointment, Batman!  The plot of this movie is pretty embarrassing, especially when compared to the original film.  While I was not the film's biggest fan, I saw what they were going for.  This one- I don't see it.  The resistance movement is bad because America made them bad, doing stuff.  Seriously, what part did America play in this?  They are attacking you because you strapped explosive collars to their necks and made them kill each other.  Why did you do that?  Because your economy was going badly and people got upset.  It's not like these kids were outright attacking you a la Class of 1999 or anything.  You picked a random group of kids & put them through hell in order to scare other people.  Take note of how I'm talking more about the original film now than this one.  To put it simply, I didn't care for this film.  As I said in the intro, there are a lot of people to blame for this one.  The bottom line is this- this movie has no purpose.  There is nothing that had to be done here.  Someone just saw dollar (or yen) signs and said 'let's make another!'  I think that this reaction shot best expresses my feelings...
Next up, we wrap up this week with a Direct-to-DVD sequel to the sequel of a remake.  It's less confusing and more silly.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I loved the first 45 minutes or so, very tense, very gripping - sadly the rest of the movie was way too boring and tedious. Huge isappointment