Battle Royale II: Requiem

Battle Royale II: Requiem

DVD Rating: **1/2

Reviewed by: George Williamson

Read Keith Hennessey Brown's film review of Battle Royale II: Requiem

Battle Royale II isn't a patch on the original movie. In fact, it would be a kindness to describe it as shockingly bad. And yet some of the DVD extras are really quite interesting.

Although the direction of BRII was begun by Kinji Fukasaku, he died from stomach cancer midway through the production and the reins were passed to his son Kenta Fukasaku. Because of this, many of the extras contained on this disc are tributes to Kinji and footage of his short time working on the film. Several of them show him interacting with the young cast, trying to draw out their best performances, while explaining what mortal pain is really like.

Copy picture

These sections of the Behind The Scenes footage are great, but unfortunately some of the other extras feel mired by the debt owed to Kinji and a great deal of the Interviews is dedicated to unedited footage of press conferences composed almost entirely of actors stating how much they loved working with him in the short time they had. It's touching the first time you see it, but after school child number 2532 tells you for the twelfth time how indebted he is, it begins to grate a little.

Otherwise the extras are good, especially the War! section, in which the cast describe their own personal ideas about conflict, which is far funnier than it means to be. Cast Soundbites is stuffed with amusing on-set goings on and spandex clad movie demons being cast out with handfuls of dried rice. Unfortunately, not all of the extras can be this much fun.

The trailers only contain two pieces of footage - the Japanese trailer and tease - and the music section seems slightly pointless - one of the features is an unedited chunk of the film where the female lead plays Beethoven on the piano and the other is footage of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra playing the film's themes. They're both nice enough, but not particularly interesting.

It would have been better to see a few more filmed interviews than copies of the press interviews, and possibly even a critical analysis of the film to explain its relevance to current politics. A lot of these extras feel very lightweight.

One of the dubious draws to the main feature is an extra 20 minutes of bloodshed and carnage - or so the box says. It's more likely to be 20 more minutes of maudlin teenagers, which really aren't necessary. The film feels extremely drawn out at 145 minutes and would have benefited from a severe trim.

Technically the presentation is very respectable, although the image quality is variable. It would appear that this is not to do with the DVD transfer but the actual style of the film, a lot of it being heavily stylised, either by using fairly intense colour filters, or a similar super gritty effect to the one used in the beachhead landing scene from Saving Private Ryan. The sound is also good, although the DTS track seems quite muted in comparison to the Dolby 5.1 version.

Overall, this is a good presentation of a poor movie and the box set is really for Battle Royale fanatics only. The extras aren't interesting enough to warrant the price tag and quite why you'd want the film to go on any longer isn't entirely clear. It's bad enough for the first two hours.

Reviewed on: 12 Jun 2006
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Battle Royale II: Requiem packshot
Japanese high school kids are forced to hunt down a dangerous renegade, or die.
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Keith Hennessey Brown: DVD

Product Code: TVD3573

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround/DTS 5.1 Surround

Extras: Making Of Music Video; Behind The Scenes; Trailers; Interviews

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