Sunday, 16 November 2008

Don't trust a sequel with Requiem in the title

Its not a good idea.

Two sequels, Alien V Predator 2 and Battle Royale 2, have the word requiem as sub-headings. Both films are considered embarrassments.

It's difficult to say which one is worse. Battle Royale 2 follows a well-respected first cult film, and Alien V Predator 2 followed Alien V Predator (and is actually better than the first one, not a difficult feat, by having one fairly decent idea, of aliens amuck in a hospital, doing unseemly acts).

Battle Royale 2 does try and be different from the first but is unfortunately moronic in how it puts its ideas across. The ideas start off well. First Battle Royale was about kids fighting one another on an island, forced by neck straps with explosives on them, this plan worked by adults who are sick of the children's awful behaviour. The first half of this film has one of the kids escaping from Battle Royale 1 learning to fight, returning to Japan as terrorist, blowing up buildings, declaring war on the grown-ups, having his own group of armed kids. A nice idea, kids finally having enough of adult behaviour and getting rough. The adults send another batch of doomed kids after the first lot, still with the explosive neck straps. Are told kill the other kids on an island base or die themselves. So they attack the island. That bit works. Its very Saving Private Ryan in look. As soon as the kids fight their way to their enemies, a way is found to disable the neck explosives and so the kids join up. Now the pulp joy is gone. The kid from the first film makes speeches, which are dull, take about half an hour it feels like. They are moronic and the actor saying them is awful. He is living in a cave (like Bin laden) but talks about saving the children's smiles (like... em Michael Jackson) And then encourages all his people to fight against incoming troops even though there has been an escape route they've known about forever. So we have a half hour of them fighting when they could have escaped a long time ago. It's over and over while you wonder why you're watching the fight and what does it have to do with the first half or any resolution. It also goes on without much sense of tactics. Just fighting similar moves, is very repetitive. Its even worse than Robocop 3 (oh yeas, by the by the director of Robo 4, the reboot, made requiem for a dream, so don't get too excited over that film, with this requiem curse in effect) Its good that girl as well as boys get to have their peckinpah-ish slow-motion death throes but that's all its got. There isn't really an ending but people wind up in Afghanistan, sentimentalising that situation, just like Rambo 3. It's just so stupid.

The real problem with this film, beyond terrible plotting and lack in basic filmic craft in the second half, is that the characters are objecting to something that was an outlandish satire, not the real world. So they're objecting to nothing real, the film-makers not tying it to anything that a viewer can connect with. The best idea, child terrorists against their parents, could have been very, very dark satire but is used for speeches that say nothing about anything.

Alien V Predator 2 has a base plot but I can't be bothered explaining it. Aliens fight predators in the rain, and we can't see much of it (but more than the first film, so it wins out over that one).

So which one is worse. Really, who cares. Just be careful of sequels with requiem in the title. Take it from someone not wise enough to know better.

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