Battle Royale


Action / Adventure / Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller


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September 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM



Chiaki Kuriyama as Takako Chigusa - onna 13-ban
Takeshi Kitano as Kitano-sensei
Ko Shibasaki as Mitsuko Sôma - onna 11-ban
Tatsuya Fujiwara as Shuya Nanahara - otoko 15-ban
718.71 MB
Not Rated
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
P/S 9 / 49

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Pierre MUSTIERE ([email protected]) 8 / 10


Battle Royale is based on the shockwave novel by Koushun Takami, which is a bestseller in Japan, and which has become very controversial in a very short time (and it is really easy to understand why). The plot is relatively simple (a class of junior high school students are forced to kill each other on a desert island, the last survivor wins and can go back home), but it is this simplicity that makes its strength. No need for a very long prologue before we enter the main act. Each of the 42 pupils involved in this "game" are not volunteers (no one would be..,), and of course they are forced to kill their best friends /girlfriends in order to survive this horror. The personalities and characteristics of each of the participants are of course very contrasted and even if there are some cliches, well, the worst has been avoided. There are even quite "realistic" (even if it is very difficult to judge what can be realistic with such a plot) moments. The transcription of the inner thoughts of the characters, which is one of the strengths of the book, is averagely well retranscripted. Takeshi Kitano plays a "teacher" (whose name is ...Kitano), leading the operation of surveilliance of this "game". It is very difficult to give an objective comment on this movie. Violent. Ultra-Violent. And bloody. This is for sure. The book has to be read for a more complete description of the hesitations and fears, but the movie restranscripts very well the book is the sense that it is all "absurd". There is no real meaning to this violence. The students know this, but it can not be avoided. It is quite sad that the movie dropped an essential background element of the book (the story in the book takes place in an imaginery Japan which would have not lost WWII, and the movie takes place in a slightly modified modern Japan), but I guess that making this happen in the "real-world" shows that there is no need to go to an imaginary world to see to what extreme behaviors humans are capable of.

Highly disturbing. Rated R-15 (forbidden to under 15), very, very violent, but nonetheless interesting.

Reviewed by Manji 10 / 10

It's been two years since I saw this flick. What do I think?

Kinji Fukasaku made a film called Battle Royale back in 2000. He's made plenty of films in the past. I've seen very few of them, apart from Battle Royale but I'm always searching for more.

Battle Royale is a film that has affected many, many people. There are rabid fans of Battle Royale and there are even more people that hate it. Let me tell you why. Battle Royale is a film that exercises its right to explore an idea. Many films have great ideas but most are poorly realized. Battle Royale is simply an awesome movie about one of the most hypothetically traumatic things that could ever happen to teenagers. For those that don't know, the film focuses on what happens when a group of high school students are sent to an abandoned island to kill each other. What brings such a bizarre idea to fruition includes civil unrest, teenage anxiety, and a nation literally terrorized by their youth. It's set in Japan and though it is just a movie it still hit pretty close to reality due to current problems with Japanese youth. In fact, the film was poorly received by the government who feared that the release of the film would incite riots and other such acts of mayhem by the same youth which it focused on. The problem is the same the world around. Young people are much more volatile than they ever were say 20-30 years ago and Battle Royale captures the essence of the horror that today's youth would face going into such a circumstance. Friends kill other friends and bullies all to survive. At the same time they get to live out those videogames that they loved to play at home.

[SIDE NOTE: Counter-Strike, a Half-Life (popular videogame) mod for example, easily prepares young people for the reality of weapons. How many bullets are in a clip of an MP5? What does an assault rifle sound like? Questions like these are easily answered by the videogames of today. Sure, these weapons are also on the streets and in some parts of the world they are even in the hands of children as young as five years-old but the videogame set up creates a comfortable experience with such weapons. It's not that videogames necessarily make people want to get guns rather it gives familiarity to guns. I should mention that I love to play Counter-Strike myself and will continue to play it in the future. I don't hate the game, I'm just pointing out that it does present a fairly realistic portrayal of weapons.]

The problem is that there can be only one survivor of this island massacre, this only adds extra pressure to the already unprepared children who have to fight for their lives. What is truly shocking is that the actors and actresses who have been selected to portray these teens are around the same ages of their characters. They aren't the aging 20-30 somethings that just happen to look young; they are literally teenagers. This flick has some serious bite! It's such a great comment on how we are living in the 21st century in a time when frequently the fear for a country comes from within rather than outside forces.

Certainly, terrorism is at the forefront of the average North American's mind due to the World Trade Center attacks and CNN's endless coverage of the horrors of said event have easily made the problem an international event. But before that the biggest headline grabbers focused on young people, filled with `rage', unleashing their anger on their helpless peers using an array of weapons (mainly guns). School shootings shocked the world when children started killing their peers.

Battle Royale is not meant to trivialize school shootings and youth violence. Rather, it's an examination of the lengths which a government will go in order to discipline the youth. It's such a ludicrous idea. But the characters stay true to form as they profess long held crushes with their dying breath all the way down to naively trusting others who they've always admired as the popular kids. It's sick. Strange. Beautiful. Familiar. Different. And completely engaging. Most people are against the film because they feel that the plot is simply silly or because the dialogue is too hammy or some such nonsense. At the same time, those naysayers will praise films like Braveheart for its honest portrayal of Scotland's only historical hero. I loved Braveheart. I thought it was great too but it's bogus, for the most part. Certain battles and events really did happen. But William Wallace was no man to look up to. He raped and killed women and small children but none of that made it into the film because it was not that kind of "feel good" thing that would sell Wallace as a hero. Battle Royale, since it draws on fictitious characters and plot is far more interesting because it really makes you think about your own life. Could you kill your best friend from high school if the two of you are stuck on an island of death? To this day I
refuse to answer that question. It sickens me to think of such a thing and so I felt disturbed by what those 42 kids had to do in Battle Royale. What's even worse is that they were picked by lottery to end up on the island. In the Japan that exists in Battle Royale, each year a random high school class is picked for the event. We are led to believe that all youth in Japan are bad seeds in this film but that really doesn't seem to apply to the class which the film follows. For all intents and purposes, they were innocent. The dialogue between characters is poignant, real, and totally innocent. You can literally see how limited their vocabulary and understanding of the world around them is. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, some of the characters even profess love for their classmates without even knowing what love is all about. High school is a weird time for anybody. It's an awkward time that is all about experience and misunderstandings. So many people AFTER high school really learn the truth about who liked them and what people really thought of them. During high school there's always some social wall that stops any REAL open communication between two people. Being on the island forces unchecked emotions and feelings to flow out of the characters because death is on the horizon. Can you really label the dialogue as lousy in those circumstances?

Obviously, there are intelligent and well-organized people in the world. Some exist in high school but for the most part teenagers are brash, foolish, and irresponsibly reckless because they've yet to learn from experience. They rarely have any experience. Teenagers put on an island to kill themselves will certainly not learn anything new and if they do it won't matter considering that they'll soon be dead.

Naturally, some go insane and mutter those math equations that their teachers promised them would be valuable in the real world. Others feel the need to fulfill their sexual desires, who wants to die as a virgin, right? Still others try to make the best of the situation by spending their last few hours alive as civilized as possible. But the purpose of the game affects all of these teenagers. They have to hurry. If the battle isn't finished in 3 days they all must die which is easy for the people in charge who have low-jacked each teenager with collars that explode. Not enough to take the head clean off, by default, but rather just enough of an explosion to open up the jugular. They bleed out until they die.their hopes and dreams for the future go with them. This is a grisly film that doesn't specifically cater to gore hounds. Certainly there are some really disturbing death scenes and moments but nothing TOO over the top. The idea is shocking enough, there's no need to be excessive. At first this fact upset me. I wanted this film to be a bloody parade of carnage because I reasoned that it's just a movie. Just some form of entertainment that existed to please me. But the whole idea is sickening and compelling enough to satisfy on more layers than just the visual.

In the end, this is not a film for just anyone off the street. There are so many sceptics and people who are unable to maturely grasp the concept of the film. These are the people that really hate it and you can't really blame them. For too long, Hollywood has been the dominant authority on filmmaking in the world. What was once a greatly expressive and thought-provoking medium has now simply become a trite and boring thing. Everything is recycled over and over. It's repackaged, re-sold, re-distributed to the point that people can hardly accept something new and radical and different. If it's not safe, generic, or commercial than the reason for a film's existence appears to be highly questionable. Battle Royale isn't going to change the world. I wish it could but the damage has already been done and now there is no place for a film that challenges socio-political norms or has subtitles. But that's alright. Films that matter are still being made even if they don't get the same amount of press or attention that the next Leonardo DiCaprio movie will get. If you enjoy Battle Royale then Kinji Fukasaku, who directed and adapted the film for the screen along with his son Kenta, will be able to rest in peace. The man died on January 12th, 2003. He was 72 years-old and all he wanted to do was make movies until he died. He got his wish.

I am a fan.

"Don't Hate Yourself... because no matter how hard you try there's always someone that does it better." - J.Symister 2002

Reviewed by hamsterrick024 10 / 10

The Best Japanese film I have laid my eyes on

I couldn't believe my eyes. Out of all of the horror/survival films I have ever seen, this is definitely on top of the list. I don't just mean that in terms of foreign films, I mean in terms of film. I was immersed into this crazy scenario that may seem absolutely ridiculous at first, but once you look at it, it almost turns into a not so outlandish thought.

The story is laid out like this: Japan has is going down the proverbial crapper. Unemployment is at an all time high and kids everywhere are boycotting school. The country is in chaos. The government decides to pass a law that is basically aimed at scaring the country into order. The Law is called the BR Act. Heres the crazy part. A class is selected by impartial lottery (and the grades seem totally random, as indicated by the shot of the 1st or 2nd grader in the opening sequence) and sent to an undisclosed, evacuated location. The classmates then have 3 days to kill each other off until there is only one student left. This year, it is a class of 9th graders (keep in mind that Japanese kids go to school year round. in our school years, these kids would be seniors). They are sent to an island, given weapons, and fight to survive.

The cast in this film is chock full of Japanese Stars. Kitano Takeshi (Kitano) plays the teacher that basically plays the ringleader. If you have watched spike TV, you have seen him before. This is the actor that plays as "Vic Ramono" on MXC. The rest of the cast is comprised of Japanese teen pop idols. Most notably, the gorgeous Chiaki Kuriyama (Chigusa). You probably know her too. She was Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill Vol 1. Ando Masanobu (Kiriyama) plays the most menacing villain I have ever seen.

Asside from the classic Japanese blood sprays and the amount of ammo some of the guns put out, there is great attention to detail in this film. From what I have read, since the author (Kinji Fukasaku) of the original book directed the film, everything is kept true to the book as close as possible. Every time a student dies, their names appear on the screen in the order they died. Inside the main building, there is huge system of screens that show who is dead and what not. Anyway, that screen is exact on the names as well as the 'danger zone' map. I had to look twice to realize that. That is damn good editing right there.

The characters in the film, though Japanese, can be related right back to the kids you knew in high school. I joke around with my friends all of the time saying, "Oh thats so and so" and, "oh man, that is definitely so and so." This brings so much depth into the film. It is simply amazing to watch how everything plays out. This is like Darwinism in the 21st century. I watch this film just saying, "this is what would happen." That is what the entire film is based on, the crazy idea of 'this could happen.' The whole tag line of the movie is, "could you kill your best friend?" The question is so spooky, I don't even know if I could answer it. It taps into something so deep that you really have to think about it.

This film does have some comical moments. It is just too damn funny to watch Takeshi Kitano sit on a couch and eat cookies while at the same time watching his former pupils kill each other. There is just everything in this movie. There are those love stories that you saw all too often in school as well as those feuds between certain cliques and egos.

If you want a superb psychological thriller, this is the movie. This film sent shock waves across Japan when it burst onto the scene. Intelligent writing, great acting, beautiful locations, and decent effects bring this film together. Its Lord of the Flies with High School Kids. Its just great.

10 out of 10

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