Battle Royale (2000)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Genres / Traits: Action Thriller, Thriller, 3-D
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Kinji Fukasaku Kinji Fukasaku
Tatsuya Fujiwara Tatsuya Fujiwara
Aki Maeda Aki Maeda
Tarô Yamamoto Tarô Yamamoto
Takeshi Kitano Takeshi Kitano
Chiaki Kuriyama Chiaki Kuriyama
Movie Connections:
Battle Royale
> Battle Royale (2000)
> Battle Royale II (2003)

8.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: February 09, 2005
Once again, Kif has spelled out the majority of the storyline to this movie in his review, so I'll throw down a condensed version of it in order to clear up a few things that he was a bit vague about. As unemployment and crime starts to rise in Japan, a level of violence starts to occur, and the teens start to disrespect and assault the adults. The adults decide to pass the Battle Royale act, which will take place once a year with a randomly chosen class. This year, it just so happens that a class of ninth graders have been chosen, and the games begin after the class attends a school basketball game. On the bus ride back from the game, some sort of gas is released into the bus, which knocks everyone out (except for the bus driver, who was wearing a gas-mask). When they awake, the kids get a quick run-through of what's going on. Each of them is wearing a metal collar around their neck which will explode if they attempt to remove it or walk through a danger-zone. The danger-zones will be set up randomly throughout the three days of the Battle Royale. The goal of the Battle Royale is quite simple; if there's only one person that is still alive when the three days are up, they get to go home and carry on with their life. If there's more than one person alive when those three days are up, everybody receives an exploding collar to the head. Each kid is handed a package containing food, water, a map, and a random weapon before being set loose on the island. The weapons are all different, with some being extremely helpful (an uzi, a shotgun), and others being useless (a fan, a frying pan lid). From there, the main storyline begins... would you be able to kill off your friends? How about your significant other?

With such a simple storyline, it surprised me as to how well this movie held my attention throughout the nearly two-hours worth of running time. A few subplots are thrown in as the movie progresses, but really, it's the same storyline from start to finish. We go back and forth between a select few kids and see how they're handling the situation and what they're doing in order to survive, and of course, we see a lot of the fodder children being picked off by the more vicious kids. There is some romance angles thrown in here and there, as some of the kids involved with this were romantically tied to the other participants. In my opinion, this didn't hurt the movie at all. It added more emotion to the overall product, and helped the audience to connect with some of the kids more. As the movie progresses, you'll most likely pick your favorites and hope to see them live until the end of the film. Thanks to a number of the kids having nicely developed characters, this worked out quite nicely. Also, even though Kif would have you believe otherwise according to his review, there is indeed a fair amount of blood and gore thrown into the mix when needed, with my personal favorite amongst these scenes involving a sickle to the throat (which resulted in a healthy spray of blood).

I'm not quite sure why this movie has so much controversy surrounding it. Sure, the storyline may be a bit harsh due to the fact that children are involved, but none of the actors in the movie looked like they were legitimately children. If you're going to base controversy around the fact that it involves children in roles that they shouldn't be associated with, I would say that Lolita should have been pulled from the shelves ages ago... but instead, it remains one of the classics to this day. With that in mind, I'm really not quite sure as to why this movie can't get a decent American release. Sure, there's Region 0 releases and a load of bootlegs, but it'd be nice to have one featured-packed, honest to goodness American release.

This is definitely worth the viewing if you can find a copy. While I do realize that there's a load of hype surrounding this film, and that movies with that amount of hype tend to end up disappointing, this is one of those select few that manages to live up to all of the praise that it tends to receive. 10/10.
Review by Christopher
Added: March 03, 2004
School kids killing each other. How pissed off America must have been when this movie hit theaters in Japan. Enough so where there hasn't been one official VHS/DVD/LD release in America. Not because of the gore or violence, either. But the obvious controversial story line. So let's begin with the movie.

Forty two students total, twenty one boys and girls. Two of the boys (Kawada & Kiriyama) are transfer students and are a bit older than the rest of the class, which they were not apart of. Kawada was a survivor from the last Battle Royale that took place. He was taken to this one because he wanted to get revenge for someone he lost during last years. Kiriyama's reasoning for being there was simply because he enjoyed violence.

Collars around their necks served more of a purpose than just to explode on the final day if the rules were not met. There were danger zones scheduled through an intercom system through out the island every couple hours. If any of the kids were in any of the danger zones the time they were scheduled, the collar would be activated and they would die. They were also used to hear what each kid would say and where they would go. And if they tried to take it off, it would explode, killing them.

The first twenty minutes of the movie is spent explaining all the rules and such to the kids. It takes place in a room where their seventh grade teacher tells them what's what. He also shows them a video which explains exactly what has to take place through the three days. The video is hosted by an insanely cheerful and cute Japanese woman. The video shows quite the bit of humor, after it ends, the humor is cut very quickly and the killings begin.

Lots of blood, not that much gore since most of the killings are done with a gun to the chest or back. The actors have their fair share of corny lines. For example, one of the female students is dying and one of her guy friends finds her. Her dying words were "God, can I tell him one more thing? I think you're cool, Hiroki." As he replies with "You're the coolest person in the world, Chigusa." Those type of lines were thrown in through the whole movie. Which was the only part I didn't like. The actual acting was decent though. Nothing was too over dramatic or played out.

This entire story was based on the novel "Battle Royale." As I don't know what the novel is like, I can say that the movie was very well put together. Took a lot of guts for everyone who worked on the film, in some way or another, to make this happen. A movie for anyone who isn't stuck on the American way and how wrong it would be to poke at such a sensitive subject.

Final Conclusion: 9/10
. #1: . - added 10/12/2004, 08:36 PM
Not as good as the book but something truly fantastic in it's own right.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 06/06/2005, 09:33 PM
Very cool flick. Shouldn't be long before an American remake.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 09/08/2005, 02:41 PM
Dying to see this... and besides, almost no movie is as good as the book, darkfortears
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 11/03/2005, 01:06 AM
I remember buying this DVD illegally when no one else in the States even knew what the hell it was. I loved it then and I love it now...it is absolutely my favorite of the Japanese action flicks. The violence is real and wrenching and the plot is so interesting and so involved. Love, love, loved this movie. 9.5/10
Ginose #5: Ginose - added 12/31/2005, 08:27 PM
This movie was gory and classic. It did nothing to frighten or "awe" you. I felt bad for none of these children. To many of them were morons. And all the others were ass-holes. I couldn't stop loving every second of it.
Cryptorchild #6: Cryptorchild - added 11/23/2006, 05:24 PM
I FINALLY watched this movie the other week with a friend of mine. I had heard all the hype surrounding this movie so I was so excited to finally see it. And wow, I enjoyed every minute of it. One of the best movies I've watched in awhile. Easily a 10/10, no question.
grain of sand #7: grain of sand - added 06/04/2007, 05:08 PM
finally read this book, loved it.
long, long time fan of the movie, one of my favorites.
George Snow #8: George Snow - added 08/11/2008, 03:39 AM
From idea to execution excellent.
Mörderwolf777 #9: Mörderwolf777 - added 08/26/2009, 09:32 PM
the movie was really good. nearly as good as the book. the only thing the book had over the movie was more room to develop characters. it seems in the book almost every student has atleast a chapter backstory
BuryMeAlive #10: BuryMeAlive - added 10/05/2013, 03:43 PM
Pretty good with surprisingly some laugh out loud moments. However I think the ending could have been better.
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