Battle Royale 2

Follow-up to controversial 2000 pic, about death duels among school students to ease a juvenile delinquency problem. When director Kinji Fukusaku died during production, son Kenta took over helming duties.

Sales: Toei

The Twilight Samurai

Pic collected an impressive $9.3 million at the local box office in less than three months and is “Tora-san” series helmer Yoji Yamada’s first outing in the samurai genre. About an unlucky samurai, pic stars Hiroyuki Sanada and Rie Miyazawa and recently screened in competition at the Berlin film fest. It was voted best local film of 2002 by the Kinema Junpo Poll, Japan’s most prestigious award.

Sales: Shochiku

When the Last Sword is Drawn

Latest from helmer Yojiro Takita and closer of the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival. More classic in its approach to the samurai film tradition, it boasts the daring visuals Takita used so effectively in his “The Yin Yang Master.” Cast includes Kiichi Nakai and Koichi Sato.

Sales: Shochiku

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