The claims of importance and cultural relevance made for Battle Royale (2000) perhaps does not apply to Battle Royale II: Requiem. It is a 2003 sequel, directed by Kenta Fukasaku, who wrote the screenplay to the original film for his father. Kinji Fukasaku actually started shooting this sequel himself, filming a brief sequence with Takeshi Kitano before he lost his battle with cancer. Kenta took over and brought the film to completion. As a capstone to his father’s works it is oddly appropriate. Kenji’s career was based almost entirely in violent pulp cinema, and violent pulp cinema is pretty much what Requiem provides.
The film begins provocatively, as a sunset-filled vista of downtown Tokyo collapses in a massive terrorist-instigated explosion. Requiem was released in a different world to Battle Royale – the 9/11 attacks came in between the two movies – and Kenta makes damn certain we realise this. It’s bold, but it’s also an empty provocation – it feels like a film attempting to shock rather than a film with something to actually say.