Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…
Here he comes… one of my favorite online reviewers. It’s been too long, so it is a genuine pleasure to re-introduce the one and only Vern…
What’s up boys —
Vern here, still alive and ready to unveil my first “the ain’t it cool news” review for 2004. Unfortunately Seagal’s new picture with Ringo Lam is not done yet so instead I gotta review some movie about Battle Royale 2 by Kinji Fukasaku and son.
Previously on the Ain’t It Cool News: Battle Royale part 1 is a Japanese picture about a near future where school kids are put on an island by the government and forced to kill each other off. The survivor gets to live, so everybody has to decide whether to a) be all ethical and shit or 2) try to survive. It’s a pretty good movie and because it is brutally violent and not american, it has a big cult following here in my country of USA.
Battle Royale part 2 is the highly anticipated sequel, originally directed by Mr. Fukasaku again but he passed away and his son finished the job. It has been reviewed a couple times on here before by people who hated it and said to fuck it and etc.
And now, the exciting conclusion. I really liked this picture.
My tastes are different from most of the newsies, so I’m not saying you boys will agree with me. But I think it is one of those fucked up, more ambitious sequels that instead of just retreading the first picture, as the pussies want it to, goes in a different direction and only brings along the brave souls who want to see, like, a new movie. It is like the Executioners to Heroic Trio, or Return of Batman to Batman 1, or maybe Mad Max Goes Beyond the Thunderdome, if it was as good as Road Warrior. It doesn’t succeed in everything it tries but if you’re like me you get a kick just watching it try.
Let me say though that I didn’t think BR1 was the greatest picture ever. It was a wonderful outrageous premise. They used it more for violent nihilistic exploitation type business than for satire, but that’s fine. My problem was there are so many characters that die so fast that I never really got too attached to any of them. One of the survivors returns in the sequel but to be frankly honest, I don’t even remember the dude. If he was Beat Takeshi I would remember him but he’s not, he’s some other dude.
But that’s not to say it’s a bad movie, in fact I thought it was a real good teen movie and I believe it tied with Larry Clark’s BULLY in the Outlaw Awards for best teen movie, although I forgot to announce the winners that year. Congratulations to Bully and Battle Royale. If you are still a teen after a couple years later go out and see these fine movies for our young growing citizens.
Anyway, everybody said BATTLE ROYALE would never get released in the US, but I honestly thought it was the japanese movie most perfect for an american remake (as long as we’re doing those). It’s a universal premise but it could be adapted to the details of different cultures, and especially in a time when america was obsessed with watching real people stab each other in the back and humiliate each other for money on tv shows. It coulda been great. I wanted to put ol’ Freddy Prinze junior in there and maybe a Julia Stiles or maybe some of the kids from Dawson’s Creek. And shit I guess Larry Clark could direct it although we’d have to ask him politely to leave out the kids jerking off and stick with murders and crap.
Well an American remake of BATTLE ROYALE 2 would have to be done by Paul Verhoeven, because that’s who this movie reminded me of more than anybody. Sure, they got references to Private Ryan and other war movies but when it comes down to it it’s more like a less sarcastic version of the great STARSHIP TROOPERS. And like Mr. Verhoeven’s work (but moreso) it is a big pissed off scream at the current state of the world crudely sculpted into the shape of a crowd pleasing genre movie.
But this one really truly won’t be released in the Americas, at least for a long fuckin time. If you haven’t heard yet, it opens with the destruction of skyscrapers. One of the survivors of the first Battle Royale has become the leader of a terrorist group called the Wild Seven who are fighting back against the adults who turned them into killers. So for the new Battle Royale act, another group of kids are given exploding collars, terrorized, threatened, and forced to suit up and go hunt down the terrorists at their island hideout. Of course, the terrorists (being the victims in the last film) turn out to be sympathetic, and this will be very uncomfortable for alot of people. But then, it’s fuckin Battle Royale 2, it oughta be uncomfortable. It never said it was gonna give you a backrub.
The other reviews you had there Harry, those guys seemed like they just wanted to see a bunch of kids going nuts and murdering each other in different ways. So I can understand why they would be disappointed, because you don’t really get that. But I was more interested in the substance of the movie. Maybe it helps that I watched it as a double feature with the state of the union address, so it was 3+ hours of unrelenting horror.
The first BR to me was about the generation gap and the inhumanity of competition among kids. This one is about war, and it is a very blunt and I think accurate portrayal of war, not in a literal type way but in a poetical type way. Think about it: the two sides are both kids, both forced into this by the older generations, both avenging wrongs that started with the older generations, fighting for things they don’t even fully understand. The terrorists even have little kids fighting with them. I don’t even think it’s about generations necessarily though, I think the adults are the powerful and the kids are the powerless. And the powerless kill each other off in the name of the powerful, who hide in their control rooms and send in the cannon fodder when they need something done.
Hey how bout them hobbits man, i liked that new one. Oh wait that’s kind of off topic though.
You could definitely argue that it is irresponsible to show the terrorists in such a positive light. But symbolically I think it has some truth to it, that both sides are basically the same but with different backgrounds and circumstances and what not. And all they know how to do to solve problems is shoot shoot shoot and blow shit up and shoot some more. And despite the optimistic ending I think it is clear during the rest of the movie that all this fighting could never lead to victory for either side. It’s like in that old movie, I think it was called FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, where the computer is about to blow up the world and then it goes, tic tac dough is a strange game, the only way to win is not to play.
Or whatever. You know what I’m talking about. They’re not accomplishing anything. Meanwhile they kill kid after kid after kid after kid. Like in BR1 they list the kid and their number on the screen each time they die, and it becomes numbing. But this time I couldn’t help but compare it to watching the news every day and seeing which young american soldiers died in a mortar attack or a suicide bombing or a helicopter crash today. They might write their name on the screen and maybe show a picture if they’re lucky, but they’re like a blip in a video game, or like the kids in this movie. You don’t really know about their life you just know they’re one of the 500 who have died so far.
Sure, alot of movies say that war is hell, and try to depict it more true to life than this one does (or with giant bugs), but you can tell that this one really means it. There are so many parallels and references to current world affairs that a lot of people, especially americans, might feel their ears burning. I mean what are the Wild Seven if not a more enlightened and prettier version of our famous collection of blowbacks from Timothy McVeigh to Saddam Hussein to the mujahadeen? There’s even a scene where a character seems to be looking directly into the camera talking right to us. I wanted to apologize to the dude.
Now, it’s not a perfect movie like, say, the two BLADE pictures. Like BR1 or ALIEN 3 I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters, and it’s hard to stay involved in a story where so many of them die before you know anything about them. It may be slightly too long and some of it may be confusing (the subtitles on the version I saw were almost worse english than mine, so that was probaly part of the problem). But for me anyway, the movie made up for all that by pushing the audience to the limit. Appropriately for the subject matter, it is really fuckin violent. And you get two for the price of one because the collars are rigged up so that if one kid dies, his or her partner’s head blows up. For a while it seems like the whole movie will just be non-stop mayhem. But I love the hugeness of the story. I mean, a movie where a group of school kids are trapped on an island and forced to murder each other for their country is pretty edgy. A movie where the kids actually take up arms and go to war with the adults who screwed them – that’s even better. The whole feel is pretty epic and it constantly surprised me with how far it was willing to go. (One exception was when the government sent in the army – I thought it would’ve been more vicious if they sent in a new group of kids, but oh well. Maybe too obvious, what the fuck do I know.)
Anyway I’ll leave it at that but I just wanted to say that it’s not the pile of shit you heard about and if you look for some of the same things in movies that I look for I bet some of you newsies out there will really love it.
and fuck the rest of you
just kidding about that last one though, let’s all love somebody why you gotta fight everybody.
Thanks, Vern. I think Harry just saw this one the other day. He called me up, ranting and raving about it, and I think he mentioned that he was planning his own Texas-based suicide cult as a result. We all know how well that’s worked out in the past, so I fully expect this will be “Moriarty’s Ain’t It Cool News” site by this time next year.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/16833
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Jan. 21, 2004, 7:19 a.m. CST
Jan. 21, 2004, 7:44 a.m. CST
The movie Harry saw wasnt BR2…..
…It was Suicide Circle. I watched it last week. It is a damn strange film. It had sort of a “Se7en” feel to it in the begining and then just went right off the deep end later in the move. After listening to that J-Pop band in the film – I would probably end up killing myself as well. In any case I guess I will just have to get my BR2 DVD from Ebay…NOW!
Jan. 21, 2004, 8:04 a.m. CST
I loved it ! So there. Nyar.
by nervous twitch
This is a great movie and is slightly anti-America as well as being pro-terrorism. “We don’t have a choice. If we don’t bomb them, THAT country will.” See it if you get a chance. You won’t be disapointed.
Jan. 21, 2004, 8:18 a.m. CST
If it doesn’t have Vic Romano from MOST EXTREME ELIMINATION CHAL
by Margot Tenenbaum
Right you are, Ken.
Jan. 21, 2004, 8:35 a.m. CST
MOST EEEXTRRREEEME CHALLENGEEE!
Computer geeks are anti-social outcasts who can’t even remember what day it is. And they mess themselves.” – Captain Teneal
Jan. 21, 2004, 9:54 a.m. CST
I believe BR2 is not pro-terrorism, what BR2 says is that what Bind Laden does is terrorism but what USA does is terrorism too. At the beginning of the movie one guy mentions each and every country the USA has bombed, and the list is quite impressively long. I guess this flick wont be relesead in USA for a long time, unless Japan wants to be bombed again.
Jan. 21, 2004, 10:35 a.m. CST
dont give false hopes to the fanboys. ive seen it, and it blows harder than that whale from free willy!
Jan. 21, 2004, 11:23 a.m. CST
Vern! Great to see a new review, man…
Still the best damn film reviewer around, in my opinon.
Jan. 21, 2004, 1:32 p.m. CST
I hate to say this, especially as a fan of Manga, Heroic Bloodsh
BUT BATTLE ROYAL IS FUCKING SHIT!
Yeah, heard me right! Everyone goes rambling about how cool this movie is, but if u really look close, its just 15 year olds slaughtering 13 year olds. If that turns ya on, enjoy! It’s justification of being a ‘criticism about society’ just is a lame excuse. I don’t see any point in this. They just enjoy too much seeing the teens killing each other off. See, I loved Starship Troopers because they used gore in a clever way and made a point. But Battle Royal just is voyeuristic bullshit. I’d rather see Breakfast Club or Lord of the Flies if I want to see stuff about alienated youth or Story of Ricky for Asian gore. But Battle Royal is just pointless…
Jan. 21, 2004, 1:42 p.m. CST
Fuck all ‘yall
by ripper t. jones
My BR2’s on the way from E-Bay.
Suckage from a flick with
Sonny Chiba? Right, I highly doubt it.
Oh, and btw Beat is the shizzle BR kizzled MAJOR izzle, and
BROTHER didn’t fizzle.
Jan. 21, 2004, 2:10 p.m. CST
BR2 is terrible
I enjoyed the first one, but there’s nothing good about the second one. Even the gore is weak.
Jan. 21, 2004, 3:22 p.m. CST
Even with all the “haters” of BR2, I still can’t wait to see it! I absolutely love the second one. Going into it, I was expecting it to just be a senselessly violent, gory film that displayed no morality whatsoever. However, I found it to be surprisingly poignant! And Suicide Club kicks ass too, one of the most disturbing films I’ve seen in years. The movie sets you up for a mystery to unravel at the end, a la The Ring or The Sixth Sense or something, but it just turns into this nonsensical, abstract homage to David Lynch. What a crazy movie, though! It’s like The Ring meets Final Destination with a sprinkling of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Jan. 21, 2004, 3:47 p.m. CST
…there’s always one idiot that falls for Vern’s besserwisser-baiting. I was actually kinda’ disappointed, thought it was too obvious this time ’round. Guess I was wrong…
Jan. 21, 2004, 3:50 p.m. CST
BATTLE ROYALE was nothing special.
by Cash Bailey
It’s right up there with THE MATRIX as something that people put FAR too much gravitas onto. It was nothing more than just a fun ‘kids killing kids’ flick.
Jan. 21, 2004, 4:49 p.m. CST
War Games! that was what it was called!
Or was it War Gamez? anyway thanks for the tip dallenbach, not sure why you will never read my reviews again but oh well, don’t let the door etc. etc.
Jan. 21, 2004, 4:57 p.m. CST
Vern is the best so fuck da rest!
Great fucking review, man, we need more of that good shit! BTW, whatever happened to your review of Kitano’s BROHER that was on AICN quite some time ago? It seems to have disappeared and it’s not even on your site. Which sux cause that review got my ass into the theater and had me order the DVD of BOILING POINT just to see Beat randomly ass-fuck a dude and rape some corpse. Shit, that film was fun! I even watched GONIN where Beat once again ass-fucks some dude but this time it’s apparenly his son! Anyway, dude, keep the reviews coming and I sure can’t wait for your take on Seagal’s next epic. Now if we could somehow convince you to review Van Damme flicks for AICN …
Jan. 21, 2004, 6:33 p.m. CST
I really liked it myself.
Jan. 21, 2004, 7:03 p.m. CST
I was not saying what I think. I am saying what I think BR2 is about. If you learn to read I will grow up. And what the fuck, i believe BR2 has part of reason. Now you can tell me to grow up.
Jan. 21, 2004, 7:50 p.m. CST
for more information about BRII
visit http://br2.battleroyalefilm.com .
Jan. 21, 2004, 7:56 p.m. CST
BRII DVD with excellent English subs
http://www.ctenosaur.com/dvd/morpho.html . Bootleg? Yes, but the subs are going to be the best-translated around until the British edition comes out on DVD in November.
Jan. 21, 2004, 10 p.m. CST
You’re not seriously implying that every time the US has bombed another country it has been a retaliatory action, are you? ‘Cause that’s just funny.
Jan. 22, 2004, 12:30 a.m. CST
“3+ hours of unrelenting horror.”
MARRY ME VERN. Seriously, what a fantastic fucking review, in so many ways. The bar has been raised.
Jan. 22, 2004, 1:49 a.m. CST
I found nothing redeeming in BR2. BR1 at least had the game concept to keep it interesting, in BR2 they use a “Game” that just doesn’t really make sense for what they are trying to accomplish, and it feels more like a device to tie the movie in with the original than an actual plot element…
And without the game all you really have is a third-rate war movie, with entire scenes lifted from other war movies. Take the storming the beach scene, straight out of countless other war movies, but they even used the shaky camera ala Saving Private Ryan. I kept waiting for the camera to dip below water and everything to get quiet.
Then it plays out like a video game. Mission 1: Boat Landing. Mission 2: Secure Ammo. Mission 3: Attack enemy hideout.
It is also pretty Anti-american. I can’t say I blame the Japanese for having animosity towards the U.S. government, but by explicitly comparing the United States to the adults of BR2, and then saying it’s ok to bomb the adults, even if innocent people get in the way, they are basically endorsing what happened September 11th. In fact, it is shown at the begining of the movie that the terrorists went to the Middle-East to train… the scenes were actually shot in Pakistan, but the exact name of the country was never mentioned in the film (at least not that I saw), I took it to represent Afghanistan, and that the kids had trained with Al Qaeda. Add to that the scenes of the buildings coming down in the intro, and there are some disturbing metaphors going on here. While I don’t support everything the U.S. has done and definitely don’t support warmongering, I still don’t believe terrorism in any form is justifiable, and definitely shouldn’t be glorified the way it was in BR2.
That being said, the Anti-American slant was the least of my problems with BR2. It just wasn’t a very engaging story. Nothing unique or original happened, it lost steam halfway through and then went on for another hour (it’s over 2 hours long), the plot holes could hold the titanic, and the movie just felt like it was cashing in on the BR name, without being an actual BR story. I wasn’t looking for a repeat of BR1, just something in the spirit of the original, and this wasn’t it. I can’t help but wonder what the movie would have been like had Kinji Fukasaku not died half-way through, had his vision been left intact… but even if he were able to complete the movie before his death, with a script like this, a lot of the same problems would have remained.
Sonny Chiba fans are gonna be disappointed, his appearance is barely a cameo. Beat Takeshi is only in it for a few seconds as well, but that was expected considering he’s dead. The real stars of this new movie were the new kids (no, not THOSE new kids), and none of them were very interesting or compelling in my opinion.
Oh well, I didn’t all together HATE the movie, but I was already cautious going in, knowing the director died during production… but even with my lowered expectations I was still disappointed.
My advice, wait for a rental or watch it at a friends. It’s not worth the cost of importing it.
Jan. 22, 2004, 2:02 a.m. CST
and by dead I meant…
To clarify, I meant it was expected that Beat Takeshi wouldn’t be in the movie long considering that HIS CHARACTER is dead. Hope I didn’t confuse anyone.
Jan. 22, 2004, 3:15 a.m. CST
Battle Royale 2 sucked big time.
I really wanted to love this film. The first film was a masterpiece of the new millenium. Sure the violence was cool but the thing that killed it for me was the performances. Riki (known for overacting) was really pushing it. I think he created a new bar for overacting. And that stupid fucking blonde kid!!!! I fucking hated him……all he would do is overact, overact, and overact!!!!! If there’s only one cool thing is that more ppl’s necks get blown up!!!!!!!! There’s even a cool scene where like 20 ppl die in the same scene. Other than that, it sucked. Kinji’s son fucked this up………that little bastard. Would’ve been better if Tarantino directed this sequel. He loved the first one. I hate this movie!
Jan. 22, 2004, 3:39 a.m. CST
Jan. 22, 2004, 3:53 a.m. CST
I think the people who like BR2 are the same pople who dug the shitty Star Wars prequels. They just cant accept reality. Those of you importing BR2 are going to be sorely dissapointed. :(
Jan. 22, 2004, 4:38 a.m. CST
Battle Royale 2 is shit compared to BR1
by SD Canis
The problems with BR2 aren’t anything to do with the plot.
The premise is good but it lacks many of the best things about the first film.
1. The 2-man team aspect of the collars makes it ripe for scenes of mis-matched characters working together to survive. Instead all we have is scenes of the other “Tag-Team” member freaking out when the one member dies. A HUGE missed opportunity.
2. The original featured a ton of great characters who you really a developed a sense of concern for, credit to excellent scripting to make you feel like you know them well. BR2 features about 2 characters as decen as those in the first. One of these characters is the first one to die when the students are captured.
3. The first film was very well paced. The students attacking the terrorists should have been the main part of the film but it is over way too quickly.
4. The guy who plays Nanahara is waay out of his depth. If you are going to give a character lots of soul searching and rambling dialogue scenes make sure the guy can ACT.
5. It’s not the same without beat takeshi, the guy from dead or alive fills the teacher role and proceeds to ham it up like a 2 ton pig.
Loved the first one, the second one is shit, simple as that
Jan. 22, 2004, 6:20 a.m. CST
First in line for BR 2. Hell yes.
What a shame that you all downloaded or china-dvd’d BATTLE ROYALE II. You wankers you! The first BATTLE ROYALE is a masterpiece though. It’s right up there with Event Horizon, Spider, and Pass The Ammo. I am not kidding. Aah – VANDERSEXXX! PURE GOLD! Thumbs up for Harry and co for that. Let Chud.com exhume crappy advertisements,(Torque anyone?)but I’m going with Vandersex. All the fucking way. Hey, it’s Dutch, so Verhoeven would probably love it. And don’t we all love good old Paul. Btw: if his new flick does not contain titties, I will rape Rutger Hauer. Just kidding babe, loved you in WEDLOCK.
Jan. 22, 2004, 6:33 a.m. CST
i like it
i like BR2. And moriarty i think you might be thinkin of jisatsu saakuru (suicide club/suicide circle)?? That’s the one with a suicide cult.. not BR2..
Jan. 22, 2004, 6:41 a.m. CST
i guess people already said that. my bad. But anyway,, riki was only in BR2 for a very short amount of screen time, and he was only overacting in like half of that screen time. so it was bearable. . I don’t know why the hell he was actin like that, he was really really subdued in Dead or Alive.. a jon stewart to a jay leno (OC, bitch!!). But anyway, BR2 is highly enjoyable.
Jan. 22, 2004, 7:01 a.m. CST
truer words could not have been written on this site.
Face the facts, even if harry doesnt Cark it from being a hate filled self gorging Asshole ( or by being caped in the head by one of paul wS andersons heavies :)
moriarty is basically gonna own this site soon.
While harry is off making the next batman and robin,
moriarty is gonna be the only one posting decent, worth reading upto date news.
And moriarty If ur reading this post, and If u are as smart as most of your posts make you look (look at how stupid harry’s self serving preaching on this site makes him look)
then you should really consider going into business yourself, mate.
You’ve got the contacts, u’ve got the goods when it comes to being a proper journalist, you should just move up or on. Your the only person who is actually respected on this crumbling site. take over or just start ur own site.
Jan. 22, 2004, 4:46 p.m. CST
War & terrorism
I don’t see how you can deny that war and terrorism are, in a sense, the same thing. They’re both ways of using murder and destruction to force your politics or religion on someone else. Both kill innocent powerless people in the name of symbolically going after the powerful people. Even that great paragon of reading cue cards, George W. Bush, equated the two when he said 9-11 was an act of war and again in the state of the re-election campaign when he ridiculed the idea of crimes against humanity and international law saying that only a pussy would believe terrorism was a criminal act and not an act of war. So therefore yes, we are all in agreement. Terrorism is war on a low budget and war is terrorism on a high budget. Terrorism is My Big Fat Greek Wedding, War is Bad Boys 2. I don’t want to watch either one. But anyway thanks for all the people who bothered to form actual arguments against BR2. I can understand some of the criticisms but the things I liked about it outweighed those things. (And I liked the overacting.)
Jan. 22, 2004, 5:11 p.m. CST
I still really want to see BR2. I can’t help it. It can’t be any worse than The Returner.
Jan. 22, 2004, 9:15 p.m. CST
Try refuting my point instead of insulting me, boy. In your previous post, you offered a rationale for US actions overseas by setting out the difference between initiated and retaliatory action. Since I assume you would grant retaliatory action the moral high ground over unprovoked attacks, it followed that you were implying that the US had never attacked another country unprovoked. Which, regardless of your political stance, is an entirely untenable position to hold. It’s not about me “equating the US with terrorists” – that kind of reductive reasoning helps no-one. However, previous US administrations, on the advice of high-profile figures in the current administration, have made some very shady foriegn policy decisions in the past – including helping a certain Iraqi dictator take power and supplying him with the technology and the go-ahead to gas the Kurds. Irrespective of the righteousness of America’s war on those who perpetrated the September 11 attacks (which were undoubtedly used to bolster public opinion for the war in Iraq, a country with no proven or even strongly persuasive links to said attacks), one has to be circumspect about some of the motives of guys like Rumsfeld and Cheney. Not because they’re American, but because they’re precisely the sort of self-motivated corporate/political types I think it’s our duty to keep accountable. Which, surely, is an important function of democracy.
Jan. 22, 2004, 9:21 p.m. CST
BTW, don’t presume to lecture me on “adult argument”. Does the phrase ‘ad hominem’ mean anything to you?
Jan. 23, 2004, 12:26 p.m. CST
Pray tell, RainDog, what country you are from…
Jan. 23, 2004, 3:43 p.m. CST
Pray tell, RainDog, what country you are from…
Isn’t it obvious? He’s from the country of Berkeley, CA. Fist in the air, college textbook “Argument and Persuasion”, at his side…
Jan. 23, 2004, 10:14 p.m. CST
Well, that certainly floored my argument.
Particularly since I’m Australian, moron.
Jan. 24, 2004, 11:44 p.m. CST
Always good to see fobby unisexuals on the big screen…
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.