Title: Battle Royale; BR
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Writer: Kenta Fukasaku (Screenplay) Koushun Takami (Novel)
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara; Aki Maeda; Shogo Kawada; Takeshi Kitano
Duration: 113 minutes (original release) 121 minutes (extended version)
I’m sure most of the people in this website have at least heard of Battle Royale the 2000 japanese survival dystopian action film which has a big enough teenage body count to make a slasher movie jealous (not that there aren’t slasher movies with high body counts). It’s a movie that has had a lot of influence in the cinema of the 2000s 2010s, for example Tarantino movies or more recently the movie “the Belko Experiment” and the novel’s influence isn’t small either influencing books like “The Hunger Games”.
The plot is like this, while returning from a school trip a group of Middle School students find themselves in an abandoned school surrounded by military personnel. There they meet their former teacher Kitano who explains to them that they have been selected to take part in Battle Royale, a game sponsored that by the government that has the students of a selected class fight to the death between them until just one of them remains and they only have three days to accomplish this (in the beginning of the movie. Shuya Nanahara an orphaned student and basketball player thrown into all of this will struggle to keep not only himself but his friend Noriko alive through this sick game but with little time, trust being a weakness and only with the requirement of one single survivor… Will he be able to do so?
So after learning of the influence of this movie and book and knowing what the plot is about is the movie really good or was it the movie bad even if other directors took things from it.
My Opinion: This Movie is amazing! The movie is a real treat to watch and even though it’s around 2 hours long it doesn’t feel as long at all, the pacing was good and while you could argue some scenes could have been skipped they add to the movie so I’m glad they let them in.
The story is really well told and really explores how people would react to a situation like that, from those who advocate to cooperate to get out of the situation and those who decide not to participate to those who easily become killers and begin hunting down their former classmates and those who directly decide to rebel against the game and the rotten system. It also doesn’t shy away from showing some really good kills and blood. It’s really entertaining to watch, which makes me feel a little bad taking into account how many good characters die on this. I also like that while you can see there is some romance and there and even between the main boy and the main girl but it is subtle and doesn’t really deviate the story from the main plot.
The characters are teenagers, some normal some problematic, involved in a situation they neither understand nor want to be in, they behave mostly as teenagers except for 2 later 3 characters that behave a little different, and two of those three are psychos (one with a story the other one just because he is), but you kind of understand their behavior until learning a little about it. I was surprised because I cared about what happened to some of the characters and I was sad when some of them died. It was easy for me to root for some of these characters is what I mean especially the three MCs who like you would understand are more complete characters than the rest. Now for the main bad guy, Takeshi Kitano, he does an excellent job as the bad guy, you can even sympathize a little with him and even understand him a little. And his demise (spoiler alert!) is a really memorable and funny one.
I’d like to praise the actors and actresses plus the whole crew of this movie because they definitely do a wonderful job delivering a quality product.
So is Battle Royale a Five Star movie? Definitely, without a doubt Battle Royale is a must watch movie and deserves Five out of Five stars and the reputation and the following it has gotten over the years. And now I leave you with the trailer uploaded to YouTube by MrBungle79.