Battle Royale (2000)


Based on the controversial novel by Koushun Takami; legendary Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku brings the pages to the big screen to further shock audiences, but didn't shock'em enough to not see it. In fact, it was #1 at the Japanese box office for three weeks, and rightfully-so. In my opinion this has to be one of the best films I've ever seen. I've even heard that director Quentin Tarantino has even said it was one of his favorite films, and even featured one of the stars (Chiaki Kuriyama) to play in Kill Bill Vol. 1 as the deadly GoGo. The movie is just entertaining from start to finish. I liked how it tackled things like trust, friendship and love when put in dire situations with fellow peers.

For those who haven't read the novel, (now available in the US) troubled teens have practically taken over the schools, mocking teachers and adults alike. In order to regain some sort of stability in a once adult-dominated society, they've formed a new law where students are forced into a live-action game of kill or be killed in what the government has dubbed the BR Act or Battle Royale. Specifically, the teens are put on a deserted island where each one has to fend off against each other, with the hopes of being the last one standing and receive their ticket home. So, essentially there are two ways to leave the island -- kill everyone (including friends) or be killed by them, and they've got three days to do it.

So, you may wonder, why not try to leave the island or just hide until the three days are up. Well, each one of them has a metal collar, which is basically a means to keep them moving and if any of them get out of line or if the three days are up... BOOM! That's right, it blows up. There are "danger zones" that are activated over a certain period of time, and if you're caught in one the collar will explode, so hangin' out in the bushes isn’t gonna be safe for too long. Now judging from the plot it's safe to say that there's a lot of death and violence, and the fact that these are real teenagers playing these characters makes it as controversial as the book. Although, I'm told the book is a lot more violent. One of the most interesting aspects of the film would be to see how each one of these students would find a way to kill themselves or others. We've got the love-struck suicides to the badass gung-ho-type that takes on five at-a-time. Another great aspect is how they had to work with what they got. Before they went into the "field" each student received a backpack full of supplies that would last them the three days they had. Some were lucky to have guns while others weren't as lucky and had object likes a trash lid and binoculars (suckers!).

Considering most of these actors are newcomers it's a surprise to see that they do a pretty good job. If you're lookin' to check this flick out you might have some trouble finding it. It was once thought that a movie like this would be too "controversial" to come to the states, but in fact the production company Toei refuses to sell the rights to a distributor for one reason or another. However, there are places around the US that'll sell imports and I know Netflix carries a copy for rental. A year after the film's release director Kinji Fukasaku actually went back and re-shot some additional scenes (added up to around 10-minutes) to add to a director's cut edition. I personally have the very limited special edition tin version, which I'm quite proud of.

This is one of the best films I've ever seen and ranks high in my favorite films of all time. It's very innovative, controversial, and highly entertaining. You have got to see this.
This is one of the best films I've ever seen and ranks high in my favorite films of all time. It's very innovative, controversial, and highly entertaining. You have got to see this.