(Originally posted on 2/25/04)
Holy anti-Americanism, Japan! After the violent delirium of Battle Royale, director Kinji Fukasaku -- along with his son Kenta, who finished the film after his father passed away in 2003 -- returns with the despicable Battle Royale II. It’s three years after the first film’s schoolchildren were forced to hunt each other on a remote island, and our surviving hero Shuya (Tatsuya Fujiwara) has become the leader of a terrorist organization dubbed Wild 7 that’s waging war on Japan’s adult world. Sound stupid? Well, to make matters moronically worse, Wild 7’s terrorist actions include blowing up skyscrapers resembling the World Trade Center towers and ardently idealizing Islamic “freedom fighters.” Yes, you heard me right – this is a film in which the heroes are al Qaeda surrogates and the villains are Japan’s militaristic government and, lurking in the shadows, the impudent, infantile, bomb-happy USA. Cue my uncontrollable retching. There’s a story buried in here about a new class of students forced, via the government’s BR II protocol, to infiltrate Shuya’s island headquarters and kill him, but -- putting aside the film’s frighteningly simple-minded political subtext -- the film is just a derivative war movie infatuated with aping Janusz Kaminski’s jittery, washed-out cinematography from Saving Private Ryan. The kids eventually band together and, after far too many inane monologues, beat back Japan’s grown-up army and retire to the idyllic Afghanistan mountainside for a little R&R. That the film is bereft of any well-defined characters or plot points makes it a crappy follow-up to the playfully satiric original. That it romanticizes Islamic terrorism while ridiculing American counter-terrorism efforts, however, makes it a fundamentally misguided and repugnant piece of anti-Western civilization propoganda.
I haven't seen the movie, but how bad can it be?
If you read the _book_ Battle Royale (you know, the one they based the good film on) you'll find that it is very pro US.
In BR1 the US represents the good in the world, and Shuyas life goal is to move to the US and be a rockstar.
He is a freakin' Springsteen fan, for Pete's sake!
How anti-american is that.
You are way to sensitive...
Posted by: danro | May 25, 2005 at 04:03 AM
Wait, you haven't seen the film - which, by the way, is totally different than the first Battle Royale - but you want me to calm down? How about seeing the movie and THEN commenting on it. You know, so you know what you're talking about.
Posted by: Nick | May 25, 2005 at 09:32 AM
Hey fuckhead! Try SEEING the movie before you make a half-assed review!
Posted by: Tycho | June 06, 2005 at 03:57 PM
Tycho - I have seen the movie. Have you? Because everything I said about it is right there in plain sight.
And how would I "make" a review?
Posted by: Nick | June 06, 2005 at 07:11 PM
Danro, fuck you. Everything the reviewer said in the review is true. This is one of the worst films ever made. Obscurely sentimental and melodramatic, this is a shitty war film with zero horror and terrible, terrible acting and plot. The first film rocked. This sucks. Terribly.
Posted by: Alex | July 02, 2005 at 02:55 AM
I must agree with Nick here. I am a huge fan of the original Battle Royale, and was excited for the sequal... but, like he said, it is 100% NOT like the original. Packed with long political monologues glorifying terrorism, BRII is an al Qaeda propoganda film, and hard to watch. Again, I still like the original, and I'm a liberal who's against how this US administration is conducting itself, but this film blatently endorses acts of terrorism.
Posted by: Wes | July 15, 2005 at 02:48 PM
Its not glorfying terrorism, its just trying to get across this new trend of being a 'Rebel.'
Posted by: Tasneem Uddin | November 12, 2005 at 03:44 PM
I thought it was good not as good as the first but still good it still had the same characters with the same personalities that everyone fell in love with in the first its just my opinion I liked it though if they made a third one that had a conclusive ending finally putting the BR act to an end I think it would tie all the movies together and make this one not seem so bad
Posted by: zack | May 26, 2007 at 03:31 PM
I know this is post is far after the movie, but I just got a chance to see it. I had wanted to see this for a long while now, and had high hopes after the first one. From the previews I had assumed it would be interesting, Shuuya fighting back against the demented, sick Japan that placed a class full of kids on an island to kill themselves. But instead, as the reviewer stated, it is nothing than terrorist apologetic propaganda. I honestly don't see how someone can come to believe anything this movie says.
They constantly blame what they refer to as "That country", obviously meant to be the US, instead of trying to fault a twisted and evil government that would actually consider something like Battle Royale. I find the film entirely Japanese in its since of false victimization, and the US's portrayal as a bomb happy overlord. More than once the movie goes through a list of countries that the US has ravished mercilessly where they put Japan at the top.
I am horribly disappointed with this film. I saw a lot of potential, especially in using Shuuya, Noriko, and Kitano. I mean, why fault yourselves for anything, Japan, when it's so much easier to blame big-bad USofA.
I don't condone killing innocent people, especially children. If the film wants to make a statement, it should consider the facts, not opinions it gathers watching prime-time Tokyo Terebi.
Posted by: Waylate | August 30, 2007 at 10:27 PM
Utter, utter tripe of the worst kind. The Japs seem to be conveniently forgetting their role in a certain world war.
Posted by: Ric Hooley | September 06, 2010 at 09:19 AM
i think what the director was trying to say in a very confused and anti- american way (although some of those facts were sadly true, US has bombed half the world) was that terrorists are born from tragedy and their ethos of revenge, galvanized in battle.
Posted by: chatto | November 16, 2010 at 10:12 PM
Shuya's hatred for America would be like Katniss hating Japan for the Hunger Games. I'm an open-minded guy but I wasn't even sure who I was supposed to be rooting for until 2/3 through the movie. And even then, it's comparable to Breaking Bad, where the protagonist is clearly a bad guy. This movie is so offensive that, ironically, I'm going to recommend it to my friends so we can all rip on it together.
Posted by: Allen | August 30, 2013 at 03:15 AM