Batoru rowaiaru II: Chinkonka Review
The Wild Seven gang are a group of children terrorists responsible for the death of thousands of in their war against all "grown-ups". The chilling opening scene portrays the complete destruction of Tokyo's skyline in a Christmas Day attack that kills 8000, masterminded by Wild Seven leader and survivor of the first Battle Royale movie, Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara). The grown-ups, rather than risking their own lives send a class of 42 delinquents to an almost certain death on a new Battle Royale mission, to kill Wild Seven leader Shuya Nanahara. This is made legal under the now modified Battle Royale act. The act passed in the first movie allowed government to send classes of miscreants to an isolated island to kill each other off in a “game”, in this sequel the BRII modification of the act means the children must kill Shuya Nanahara instead of each other, but will be killed anyway if they break rules or don't have Nanagara dead within 3 days!
A question the movie immediately raises is who do you support? The government that happily sends coach loads of children to their death, having initially blamed youth for societies problems? Or the children terrorists responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in the name of freedom from the grown-ups that made them kill each other! The illogical side of human nature, specifically within society is also illustrated; why send children to kill more children? Why send forces at all when the location of the terrorists is known and could simply be bombed? Why declare war on every grown-up alive without prejudice - what purpose can any of these decisions serve?
BRII does it's best to portray a society gone mad, making illogical decisions in illogical situations, and ultimately leaving the children of the world to suffer the consequences. However it doesn't quite hit home properly. The first movie was a masterpiece in shock violence. We got to know and sympathise with the characters that ultimately had to commit murder to survive. The movie served as a (sick) reflection of what human nature is capable of. BRII however is quite impersonal towards its characters, you don't know much about any of the characters to begin with. Then before you know it 12 are dead within 20 minutes of the start, and 10 more quickly following. I read into this as an attempt to stretch the shock factor that bit further by illustrating how society can easily make sweeping, fatal decisions without care for the individuals it affects.
There are political observations within this movie and as the viewer I leave you to make up your mind on whether it ultimately works to serve as an eye-opener to the potential self-destructive attitude of humanity. On the one hand it is so blatant it appears childish and not well thought out, but on the other this is exactly the attitude the film is trying to depict.
As an action movie, the direction is delicious and the Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks exceptional. With far more pointless and kills and unrestrained action than the first movie expect plenty of fast moving action scenes shot in unsteady Saving Private Ryan style camera movements and relentless blood and gore as only the Japanese can do it. There is a period in the middle of the movie that seems a letdown to itself after the adrenalin rush of the first big battle scene, but the final scene is all AK47 fire and explosions so if you like your movies extremely loud and quite violent this one's worth a spin!