Battle Royale II: Requiem

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Battle Royale II: Requiem
BR2 DVDCover TartanAsiaExtreme.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Kenta Fukasaku
Kinji Fukasaku
Produced by Kimio Kataoka
Screenplay by Kenta Fukasaku
Norio Kida
Based on Battle Royale 
by Koushun Takami
Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara
Ai Maeda
Shugo Oshinari
Music by Masamichi Amano
Cinematography Toshihiro Isomi
Edited by Hirohide Abe
Production
company
Fukasaku Group
TV Asahi
WOWOW
Tokyo FM
Sega
Distributed by Toei Company
Release dates
  • 18 May 2003 (2003-05-18) (Cannes)
  • 5 July 2003 (2003-07-05) (Japan)
Running time 133 minutes[1] (Original release)
152 minutes[2] (Extended cut)
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget USD$9 million
Box office USD$14,902,587[3]

Battle Royale II: Requiem (バトル・ロワイアルII 【鎮魂歌】 Batoru rowaiaru tsū: "Rekuiemu"?), abbreviated as BRII (Bii āru tsū), is a 2003 Japanese dystopian action-thriller film. It is a sequel to the 2000 film, Battle Royale, which in turn was based upon a controversial 1999 novel of the same title by Koushun Takami. An extended version of the film is titled Battle Royale II: Revenge.

Director Kinji Fukasaku, who directed the first film, started work on the sequel but died of prostate cancer on January 12, 2003, after shooting only one scene with Takeshi Kitano. His son Kenta Fukasaku, who wrote the screenplay for both films, completed the film and dedicated it to his father.

McKoy Sugie (杉江 松恋 Sugie Makkoi?) wrote the novelization of the film.[4]

Plot[edit]

Three years after the first film, the survivors of previous Battle Royales, led by Shuya Nanahara, have formed a rebel group called the "Wild Seven". A class of teenagers from Shikanotoride Junior High School (鹿之砦中学校 Shikanotoride Chūgakkō?) are kidnapped by the Japanese government. Instead of stereotypically studious Japanese students, these ninth graders are “a ragtag collection of delinquents and losers from all over Japan,” including tough-guy rugby players and punks with dyed hair. More importantly, many are orphans whose parents or family died in bombings by the Wild Seven. After their school bus is diverted to an army base, the students are herded into a cage, surrounded by armed guards, and confronted by their schoolteacher, Riki Takeuchi, who lays down the ground rules of the new Battle Royale game. Wild Seven is hiding out on a deserted island (filmed on Hashima Island), and instead of being forced to kill each other, as in the old Battle Royale, the students are sent off to war and ordered to attack the terrorist group’s hideout in masse and kill Shuya within 72 hours. Most of the students are not interested in being forced to avenge their families, but are coerced to fight through exploding metal collars, which their captors can detonate by remote control. The teacher shows them a line in the caged class room: those who wish to participate are instructed to cross the line, while those who don't will be killed. The students are put into 'pairs'; if one student dies, then his or her partner will be killed via collar detonation.

The students are sent via boats onto the dangerous island base of the Wild Seven, and a number of them are killed when they were bombed, shot or their collar detonated during the journey onto the island, leaving only a cluster alive. Most notably, two of the survivors are the main protagonist Takuma Aoi, and Shiori Kitano, the daughter of Kitano, the "teacher" from the first film who died after being shot by Shuya. Taken into the Wild Seven's base, the surviving students' explosive collars are removed and they are encouraged to help the members of the Wild Seven stop the Battle Royale for good. While most of the survivors agree, Takuma and in particular Shiori remain unconvinced. Shuya sends a video message to the world of their goal to live free. In response to the video the U.S. fires a missile to the island, and under pressure from the U.S. government, the Japanese prime minister takes command of the military present at the Battle Royale headquarters and orders an attack on the island base, with no survivors allowed - if they fail, the U.S. will bomb the island. Takeuchi is enraged, and is discovered to have the same type of collar on his neck as the students. On Christmas Day, survivors of the base (including the surviving students, except Shiori) retreat to the mainland via a mine shaft while the war between the Wild Seven and the military occurs. Hearing the gunfire outside the tunnel, Takuma and two of his friends return to help in the fight. After a while, the combat takes numerous casualties on both sides, leaving Shuya, Takuma and Shiori as the only remaining fighters. While they try to evacuate, Takeuchi appears in a rugby uniform, and after a brief personal exchange, he allows the group to flee as he sacrifices himself. Outside Wild Seven's base the combat starts again and Shiori is shot, dying in Shuya's arms and seemingly forgiving him for his past crimes. Shuya and Takuma run out to kill the rest of the soldiers while the U.S. bombardment starts.

Three months later, Shuya and Takuma rejoin the other survivors, including Noriko Nakagawa, in what appears to be Pakistan or Afghanistan. They have regrouped as friends, and what lies next for them remains open.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Kenta Fukasaku said, "We never set out to make Harry Potter." He explains that he wanted audience members to ponder "big issues" and to view the world from a point of view held by a terrorist. Fukasaku added that the film, against "the new Matrix" and Terminator III, needed to "provide something that Hollywood can't." Fukasaku intended to provide an alternative to what Time magazine's Ilya Garger describes as "the moral certainty of American culture" as seen in U.S. films and foreign policy.[5]

Kenta Fukasaku said that he viewed his task as finishing his deceased father's movie instead of as directing his first creation; the son credits the film as his father's. Kenta Fukasaku desired a lot of controversy and outrage for the sequel, adding that "the more strongly people react, the better."[5] The film was mainly shot at Hashima Island ("Battleship Island").

Reception[edit]

Requiem received generally negative reviews from film critics. The film received a rating of 38% at Rotten Tomatoes with a classification of "rotten", based on nine reviews, only three of which were positive. Many of the reviewers criticized the film for being inferior to the original, having a contrived, confusing plot line, its controversial, provocative sentiments, and generally bad acting.[6]

Ilya Garger of Time said that while the film has more "bullets, bombs and dramatic battlefield deaths" than its predecessor had, the sequel does not have the "who'll-die-next-and-how suspense." Garger described the characters in Battle Royale II as "a simpler breed" who join forces to defeat the adults.[5] One of the few positive reviews was from Jamie Russell of BBC who stated that the film "scrapes by on the strength of its startlingly subversive political commentary," wearing "its anti-American sentiments on its sleeve." Despite criticizing it for being "torturously overlong, resoundingly clunky and full of a bloated sense of its own importance," it concluded that "its decision to cast its heroes as teenage Al Qaeda-style terrorists fighting against a fascistic adult America is staggeringly bold."[7]

Music[edit]

The sequel's soundtrack has more original work by Masamichi Amano and fewer classical pieces. One of them, Farewell to the Piano, is played by Shiori Kitano herself during the film.

The song from the opening credits is Dies Irae, taken from the Verdi Requiem.

The end title song is by Japanese punk band Stance Punks. The song "Mayonaka Shounen Totsugeki Dan" features on their first full length, self-titled album.

Books[edit]

The book The Road to BRII (ISBN 4834252124) is a behind-the-scenes photo collection about the production of the movie. About ten tie-in books related to the movie have been released in Japan.

Related manga[edit]

A manga series called Battle Royale II: Blitz Royale is partially related to Battle Royale II: Requiem. The school in Blitz Royale is Shikanotoride Junior High School, and the "teacher" pops pills like Riki Takeuchi. There are numerous plot differences between the book and manga.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BATTLE ROYALE II - REQUIEM (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 2004-03-16. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  2. ^ "BATTLE ROYALE II - REVENGE (18) (!)". British Board of Film Classification. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  3. ^ http://www2.boxofficemojo.com/movies/intl/?page=&id=_fBATTLEROYALEII01
  4. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: バトル・ロワイアル II 鎮魂歌: 高見 広春,杉江 松恋: 本". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  5. ^ a b c Garger, Ilya. "Royale Terror." Time. June 30, 2003.
  6. ^ "Batoru rowaiaru II: Chinkonka (Battle Royale II)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  7. ^ Russell, Jamie (18 May 2004). "Battle Royale II: Requiem (2004)". BBC. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "battleroyalefilm.com". battleroyalefilm.com. 2003-12-21. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 

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