Battle Royale 2: Requiem: Director's Cut (2003)

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Released 7-Mar-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Featurette-Acting Workshop
Featurette-Rehearsals
Featurette-War!
Featurette-Happy Birthday Kinji
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Memories of the Shoot
Alternative Version-Beethoven scene
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Featurette-Tribute to Kinji Fukasaku
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers x 4
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 145:34 (Case: 155)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (98:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kenta Fukasaku
Kinji Fukasaku
Studio
Distributor
Toei Company
Madman Entertainment
Starring Tatsuya Fujiwara
Ai Maeda
Shûgo Oshinari
Ayana Sakai
Haruka Suenaga
Yûma Ishigaki
Miyuki Kanbe
Masaya Kikawada
Yôko Maki
Yuki Ito
Natsuki Katô
Aki Maeda
Riki Takeuchi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Masamichi Amano
Emiko Tsuyuki
Toshihiro Isomi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, "When peace comes" after end credits

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Plot Synopsis

“This time it’s war”

     It is three years after the original Battle Royale. That attempt by the government to control the youth of Japan has backfired. The survivor of the last BR, Shuya (Tatsuya Fujiwara) has declared war upon adults, becoming a terrorist and delivering deadly attacks in Tokyo, destroying buildings in very much a 9/11 scenario – indeed the footage of buildings collapsing is very reminiscent of footage of that event although it also reflects the end of Fight Club.

     Shuya’s group are holed up on an island. In response to their actions the Government passes a new Act, BR Mark II, and invents a new game called “Justice”. Another class of 42 high school students are selected. They are grouped in pairs and fitted with collars that explode if one of the pair is killed or the two stray more than 50 yards from each other. They are armed with automatic weapons and fitted with combat gear, given 3 days and sent to the island to kill Shuya. If they fail, they will be executed. Those that do not agree to go are executed on the spot.

     When the students land under heavy fire, some natural leaders start to emerge, foremost among them Taku (Shugo Oshinari), Ryo (Yuki Ito), Nao (Ayana Sakai) and Shiori (Ai Maeda). Indeed, Shiori is about the only one of the students who wants to be there – she is the daughter of the teacher Kitano (Beat Takeshi), killed by Shuya in BR, and she wants revenge. In a series of devastating and explosive fire fights, most of the students are killed and the remaining dozen captured by Shuya’s group. Then the line between friends and enemies is crossed, as the students and Shuya’s people find more in common than they expected. Deciding that BR II has failed, the government launches an all-out assault upon the island with troops that can only end in the death of all youth and innocence.

     Battle Royale II: Requiem (Batoru rowaiaru II: Chinkonka) was the last film of director Kinji Fukasaku, a veteran of over 60 films, who died of prostate cancer during the shoot. His son Kenta Fukasaku finished the film. Battle Royale II: Requiem is nothing if not ambitions. It blends a reflection upon the relationship between grown-ups and children, a meditation upon lost innocence, a plea for peace in the world and a cry for children, the victims of war, with Saving Private Ryan like graphic battle sequences.

     It is at times an uneasy juxtaposition. The film mimics the D-Day landing in Saving Private Ryan with a bloody and deadly beach landing of its own and for good measure throws in a part of The Rock with soldiers trapped in a pit with enemies above. Yet for all the graphic and bloody violence, and there is plenty, the film has an underlying sense of melancholy and loss: a loss of childhood innocence and family life, the sense that children will inevitably become grown-ups in time and that “nothing is more precious than the relationship between grown-ups and children”, a relationship that the actions of grown-ups bent upon brutality and war have sundered. It is heavy, thoughtful stuff that goes to the nature of civilization itself. There are not too many films that make these issues paramount, yet cloak them in intense and violent action sequences. Which is exactly the point, I suppose.

     Battle Royale II: Requiem does not succeed on all levels. Some of the acting from the young cast is indifferent and Riki Takeuchi as the new teacher is over the top and annoying, however, veterans such as Beat Takeshi and Sonny Chiba in small roles show how it is done. Not surprisingly, the film’s tone is also uneven, with a heavy dose of sentimentality, sudden declarations of love, satire and melancholy mixed with brutal and bloody action sequences. At over 140 minutes this is epic filmmaking and the film’s heart is in the right place, as expressed by the montage after the closing credits. Battle Royale II: Requiem is an intense, spell-binding film that is ambitious and utterly compelling. I didn’t know quite what to expect but was blown away. It deserves to be seen.

     This DVD is the director’s cut of the film that adds about 20 minutes to the theatrical release. For a comparison of the two cuts follow the link here.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Battle Royale II: Requiem is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The video is not particular sharp and in fact most sequences look as though they have been filmed through a smoky haze and some detail is lacking. Brightness and contrast are consistent, although colours are generally dull and flat. Skin tones are natural, blacks good and shadow detail acceptable. Action sequences have deliberate grain and motion blur, as per Saving Private Ryan

     I saw some slight evidence of motion blur but otherwise artefacts and marks were absent.

     The layer change at 98:40 resulted in a slight pause.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font and are easy to read. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. It is a ripper, a wonderfully enveloping audio track

     Dialogue is clean and from the front. The surrounds are constantly in use for music and ambient sound, such as the water dripping in the wrecked buildings where the group make their stand. The action sequences including the beach landing are fabulous, with gunfire, explosions, ricochets, and general thuds reverberating around the room. Pans are frequent: tracer wizzes past, rocks crash and debris falls to earth in a wonderful soundscape. The sub-woofer adds bass to the mayhem. Seriously impressive.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The original music by Masamichi Amano supported the film well, but it was the added selections, such as Beethoven and Christmas carols, which provided depth to the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a wealth of extras included on the DVD. Most are unstructured video footage without commentary or captions of any sort; the value, video and audio varies. They are in Japanese with burnt in yellow English subtitles.

Acting Workshop (16:58)

     Video of the director Kinji Fukasaku and actors in a workshop developing one particular scene with the director driving the young cast. A month after this footage, Kinji Fukasaku was admitted to hospital with prostate cancer.

Rehearsals (7:44)

     Video of audition and rehearsal footage with director Kinji Fukasaku, including some of the stunts. Also some behind the scenes footage and a speech from Kenta Fukasaku about taking over from his father.

War! (4:08)

    Very strange. This consists of behind the scenes footage and various cast members giving, either in voiceover or interview snippets, their ideas on the topic of “battle / war”, then “struggle”.

Happy Birthday Kinji (6:17)

     In the extras on the Battle Royale DVD was video made for the director’s 70th birthday on the set of that film. This misnamed featurette is 6 minutes of on-set behind the scenes footage, then a reading session with the cast and director, then 10 seconds of Kinji Fukasaku blowing out the candles of his 73rd birthday cake.

Behind the Scenes (13:19)

     A range of short clips of the cast talking, being silly, clowning around, and occasionally breaking into song! They were having fun; I’m not sure this is as interesting to the rest of us.

Memories of the Shoot (12:49)

     Various cast members and Kenta Fukasaku appear before a live audience to promote the film and talk about their memories of filming. Very superficial and none have anything much interesting to say.

Beethoven (4:37)

     An alternate cut of a scene that appears in the film in a longer version. Shiori finds an abandoned piano and plays Beethoven, evoking memories of her father.

Deleted Scenes (6:41)

     A dozen or so scenes or parts of scenes in various stages of production. They run together without captions, commentary or any idea of where they fit.

The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (11:38)

    Footage from Warsaw of the orchestra and choir recording the film’s score.

Tribute (3:33)

    A montage tribute to Kinji Fukasaku.

Teaser Trailer (1:04)

Theatrical Trailer (1:37)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for other films: 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (1:50), Gantz 1 (1:50), Gantz 2: Perfect Answer (1:35) and Space Battleship Yamato (1:38).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US release is a box set including both Battle Royale and Battle Royale 2, with extras, but the Battle Royale 2 is the shorter theatrical cut.

     The UK Region 2 release includes both the theatrical and director’s cut of the film, plus our extras. Because it includes both versions of the film it is the preferred option.

Summary

     Blend a reflection upon the relationship between grown-ups and children, a meditation upon lost innocence, a plea for peace in the world and a cry for the children, victims of war, with Saving Private Ryan like graphic battle sequences and the result is Battle Royale II: Requiem, an intense, spell-binding film that is ambitious and utterly compelling!

     The video is good, the audio track outstanding. The extras are extensive but their value depends upon your interest in unstructured video footage.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, August 24, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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