Wednesday, March 17, 2004

There are very few movies that have gotten into my head the way that Battle Royale has. If you don't know about the movie, it's this Japanese film where the opening titles explain that in the near future the adults of Japan become so afraid of children that they institute this law called the Battle Royale Act, which says that one randomly chosen 9th-grade class will be shipped off to an island, given weapons, and forced to kill each other until there's only one left. The movie starts with a class on a bus trip being unwittingly sent off to the island, and what follows is one of the most appallingly, fascinatingly disturbing movies I've ever seen. It's entralling and sickening. I loved the movie, and I sort of hated myself for loving it. So I've been wanting to see Battle Royale II ever since I heard it existed. Well, I saw it last night, and guess what? It blows. The premise this time is that a group of kids has declared war on all adults and formed a revolutionary organization, so the adults decide to revise the Battle Royale Act and send the group of kids off to kill the kid terrorist group. The movie actually calls its heroes "terrorists", which is not cool at all. And there's this overbearing anti-American slant to the plot, which wouldn't bother me so much if the first scene of the movie didn't show the heroes blowing up a couple of buildings that look a whole lot like the twin towers. Also, the movie is utterly incoherent; half the things that the characters do don't make any sense at all. (If you've seen it, what the fuck is up with the teacher in the rugby uniform at the end of the movie?) And where the first movie is taught and suspenseful, the second is bloated with lots of melodramatic goodbye speeches ("never forget me, Kuze!! I've always loved you!!", etc.), and it seems like it's never going to end. So Battle Royale: good, Battle Royale II: ass.

Speaking of disappointing follow-ups, how crappy is the new Da Band single? I liked "Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That"; it was simple, and it let the group show off their battle-rap chops, which is about all they have going for them. I know the music is really just a backdrop for the TV show, but does it really make sense for six randomly put together people to do a song about how they want to have sex tonight? It's like they had to have their R&B singer at the center of the next single since she wasn't on the first one. But why is she even there? When you pick out five great-to-decent battle rappers (season one was, like, all battles), don't throw an R&B singer in there with them! Let the rappers rap!