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Battle Royale 2 - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

HAVING made over three billion yen at the Japanese Box Office, I guess it was only inevitable that a sequel to Battle Royale would get made. The only surprise is, that it isn't being handled by an American production company hoping to cash in, or that it is going to emerge before the equally inevitable US makeover.

Some some time after the events of the original Battle Royale, the sequel finds the only survivor from the first film, Tatsuya Fujiwara's Shuya Nanahara as a traumatised and renowned terrorist, determined to bring down the government.

He subsequently forms a group, known as Wild Seven, consisting largely of survivors of previous Battle Royales, and has staged successful attacks on a number of key targets, including a Christmas Day attack that levels several buildings in Tokyo (including the twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building) and kills 8,000.

In response, the government enacts the 'New Century Terrorist Counter-Measure Alternative' program, more commonly known as the BR2 act, and sends 42 students from Shikanotoride Junior High Class 3-B to hunt Wild Seven down in their island stronghold.

As an added incentive, the new students work in pairs, with their collars electronically linked, so that if one of them is killed, the other dies as well - a move planned by the government in order to study the benefits of 'teamwork'.

 

The first film was deemed so shocking by Japanese government ministers that they asked cinemas to boycott screening it, but this only served to heighten interest and the film is one of the highest-grossing of all-time in its homeland.

It has also generated a large cult following in both the UK and America, where a special edition, extended DVD was recently released to cope with the bloodlust of viewers.

Needless to say, the sequel is said to be more violent and more extreme, re-establishing the Japanese stronghold on so-called Extreme Cinema, in the wake of the French movement that was spearheaded by the likes of Baise-Moi and Irreversible.

However, the production was not without tragedy, as original director, Kinji Fukasaku, whose 60-film career also took in numerous Yakuza pictures, developed prostate cancer and subsequently died. He started shooting the film against the advice of doctors.

Stepping in to finish the job, however, is his son, Kenta, who scripted the first film.

Speaking at a recent press conference, he said: "For me, the death of Kinji Fukasaku had three meanings. I lost my father, I lost my favourite director, and I lost my master.

"To make a film is a battle, and my father died in the middle of such a battle. To complete this film is a revenge and a requiem."

The film is due to open in Japan in the summer and we will bring you more reaction to it, as we get it.

 

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