With the Japanese currently leading the way in thought-provoking cinematic violence, it's only fitting that Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale is being touted as a Clockwork Orange for the 21st century. Based on the novel by K... more »oshun Takami, the film opens with a series of fleeting images of unruly Japanese schoolchildren, whose bad behavior provides a justification for the "punishments" that will ensue. Once the prequel has been dispensed with, the classmates are drugged and awaken on an island where they find they have been fitted with dog collars that monitor their every move. Instructed by their old teacher ("Beat" Takeshi) with the aid of an upbeat MTV-style video, they are told of their fate: after an impartial lottery they have been chosen to fight each other in a three-day, no-rules contest, the "Battle Royale." Their only chance of survival is through the death of all their classmates. Some pupils embrace their mission with zeal, while others simply give up or try to become peacemakers and revolutionaries. However, the ultimate drive for survival comes from the desire to protect the one you love. Battle Royale works on many different levels, highlighting the authorities' desperation to enforce law and order and the alienation caused by the generation gap. Whether you consider the film an important social commentary or simply watch it for the adrenaline-fueled violence, this is set to become cult viewing for the computer game generation and beyond. --Nikki Disney« less
Nicole W. (sterju3) from SCRANTON, PA Reviewed on 4/6/2009...
this was a great movie...real teenagers not 20 somethings trying to act like kids...great concept of kill or be killed...what would you do if you had to kill all your friends to live? hopefully the american filmakers wont try to remake this...they almost always ruin japanese and korean horror
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Life imitating Art
Miguel B. Llora | Bay Point, California USA | 05/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit that this movie moved me on many levels. After getting over the initial shock of what is, for very good reason, considered to be not just a violent film but also a very disturbing one in terms of subject - this movie I am convinced is destined to become a cult classic. As mentioned previously, Battle Royale is an unforgiving movie but like all great films there are pockets of resistance and liberation. This exceedingly disturbing and deeply saddening film about watching young kids killing each other out of a primal need to survive should disturb anyone with a shred of humanity left in them. What should be noted is that in this case of art imitating life it opens up a portal of consideration of how people may react in this type of situation and the inherent complexity contained therein. No matter what critics say about its violence Battle Royale is really a story about character. Based on the novel by Takami Koshun, Battle Royale is provocative on many. One way to see the movie is in terms of a not so distant future Japan (which is this case can stand in as a metaphor to other countries) where the government's trepidation about rampant juvenile delinquency and the a lost generation's blatant disregard for order and the rule of law has caused it seek more immediate and less creative ways to deal with the problem, the solution: the systematic annihilation of teenagers. In this case, selected groups of high school kids are deceived and carted of to an undisclosed location, given weapons and supplies and a mission - to kill each other. In an orgy of blood and gore the last person standing is allowed to go home. This, at least for me, brings up two very difficult questions: Is it a story about extermination or discipline? If it is, what possible benefit can be derived from this?Returning quickly to the issue of "character," it is interesting to see how director Kinji Fukasaku and writer Kenta Fukasuka bring Takami Koshun's novel to the screen. It is also interesting to see how director Fukasaku controls a herd of cats in a powerhouse cast of 40+ characters that includes Beat Takeshi's rendition of Kitano as well as the portrayal of Shuya (Tatsuya Fujiwara), Noriko (Aki Maeda), Shougo (Taro Yamamoto), Kazou (Masanobu Ando), Mitsuko (Kou Shibasaki) and Takako (by Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama). I was intrigued to seeing how some of the characters reacted to stressful situations that in some places (unless you watch the film at least twice) are lost around the films central motif of extreme ruthlessness and violence.Needless to say that despite the films wicked cinematography and primitivistic tendencies - it being set in a tropical island and all - not to mention the almost mandatory erotic undertones, it is more than anything, a movie about a society on the verge of imploding. It is noted that Fukasaku's motivations for making the movie transcend politics and society. Dilemma: if your survival rested on you killing your best friends, would you do it? This is the circumstance in Battle Royale and it is a very provocative one. This brutal premise and what happens next is inevitably - a very cruel film. Fukasaku rendition has a Lord of the Fliesesque quality about it. I cannot stress how great a movie this is though. Overall, this is one of the most thought provoking, disturbing, and powerful films released. I was not surprised that this film has not been released in the US but just like the saga of "RINGU" - my guess is that inevitably this film will be hijacked as well - it is the Hollywood way. Another "layer" to be uncovered from this blood-soaked saga is how Fukasaku calls to question a Japanese society whose rage over youth delinquency (as mentioned previously) and has gone so far to imagine a `final solution.' If it was Fukasaku's intent, it got me thinking that if such a solution were put in place the results would be a fight to the death will be a traumatized, angry and extremely mentally agile mind would be released back on society - making the problem doubly worse - as if the society is cultivating violence. In Battle Royale Fukasaku is thought provoking again in that he allows for pockets of resistance and moments of female empowerment. The sub-plot of hacking in to the system and destroying the whole game and the scenes with Mitsuko (Kou Shibasaki) although not unique add a particular liberating quality to the film. However there still is lingering the disturbing theme of Battle Royale, dealing as it does with the corollary of a system of violence transferred from generation to generation thus perpetuating a cycle of violence. In the end, the hub of the Battle Royale films is that violence without doubt impacts children. Is this what we want as a future for them? A wild, sexy, and thought provoking film that begs to be watched more than one time to be fully appreciated.Miguel Llora"
Battle royale the movie is excelent
Steve Payne | 08/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this movie has alot of qualities that i liked from the start. the way the students tried to find a way around the game, the social interactions of the students, and the question of could you kill your best friend. the movie goes smoothly from the start, with everyone on the bus, and then comes to on the island. i even have a soft spot for kitano, the cookie eating teacher. the cast did a superb job giving the book characters life and keeping to the plot. and the fact that it didnt save characters that you get to like made it sad, yet, gave the sense that the students really were trying to survive. the one thing i like to point out is the way the students' clicks fell apart after one or two days. some worked better as a team, while others got ripped apart at the seams."
"Very good movie. I strongly reccomend this movie to anyone who enjoys strange movies, because you've never ever seen a movie like this.
It's the future... Kids have stopped going to class, and are becoming pests. So the government has started a new program called the "BATTLE ROYALE SURVIVAL PROJECT." What happens is that one class of 9th graders a year is chosen by impartial lottery to go onto a deserted island. The kids then get 'voted off' the island. And by 'voted off' I mean they kill each other. Each kid gets a bag, inside is food, water, a map, and a random weapon. With this weapon, they are ordered to kill each other until one remains.
This movie has everything. Violence, plot, character development (somewhat -- enough to satasfy me), and an amazing story. It'll keep you on the end of your seat, or couch, or whatever.Oh, and if you go out and see the new Tarantino movie, KILL BILL, the actress that plays Liu's bodyguard is one of the kids from Battle Royale.
Buy this movie. I can't stress it enough."
Great Movie, but Wilmington, NC is soo wrong...
kedo7 | CA | 08/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must clarify what this movie is about, Wilmington, NC's review is completely misleading.A shocking tale set in Japan. The government has labeled the next generation (students) the reason to degredation in society. They have greated a BR (Battle Royale) program that places one school class on a deserted island.Class 3B was chosen (9th graders, highschoolers). Awaking on the island they find metal colars on their necks and their teacher explains that they have been chosen for this year's Battle Royale...The Rules: They are given weapons and are forced to kill each other. Only the last one surviving will be able to go home.
Why comply to these rules? If there isnt a winner in 3 days, the colars on the students necks will explode, and no one goes home.Some students form alliances, others will allow nothing to keep them from the win...The producer meant the movie to be for kids the age of those used in the film (highschool) and older, however to his dissapointment the movie was rated R..."
We, who are about to die...
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 04/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Battle Royale" is a superb film, subtle and sad and over-the-top and loud all at the same time. The story is often compared to "Lord of the Flies," but that is a bit of a misnomer. "Lord of the Flies" was about reverting to primitivism, whereas "Battle Royale" is a futuristic cautionary tale in the tune of "1984" and "Brave New World." The caution at work here is the threat of absolute bureaucracy, and the dangers of the loss of the value of life and respect in a rules-dominated society. This is a threat quite apparent in modern Japan.The actors in "Battle Royale" all deliver excellent performances, including the amazing talent "Beat" Takeshi Kitano playing the appropriately named "Kitano." The film was not directed by Takeshi however, so it lacks his beautiful visual style. It does however feature one of his riveting paintings. There is a good range of responses from the various actors playing the students, from outright suicide, to panic, to a drive to win to a drive to help. Unfortunately, the character of Kazuo Kiriyama (the machine gun boy) is woefully underdeveloped, and instead of the fierce, cold genius of the book he is a somewhat characterless villain.While a violent film, I wouldn't characterize "Battle Royale" as an action film per se. Anyone looking for a Hong Kong-style action film should realize that Japan and China are quite different countries with different approach to movies.. "Battle Royale" retains the quietude and patient pacing that is the hallmark of Japanese cinema, and which leaves some viewers bored, who are used to a quicker pacing. The bloodshed, while in great quantity, is also more cartoony in nature, which is also more typical of Japanese films, which does not favor a naturalistic approach.I think some familiarity with problems in modern Japan (ie: school violence, overwhelming bureaucracy) gives some necessary perspective to this controversial movie, and helps frame it as more than exploitation. It is a political statement, with a subtle message underlying the overt violence. Along with this, knowledge of Japanese culture deepens the understandings of certain scenes, such as when Kitano performs the prescribed exercises, and the training video shown at the beginning. Without understanding, these scenes might come off as merely quaint or odd."