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
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.