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Battle Royale



Battle Royale




Released: 16 December 2000

Directed By: Kinji Fukasaku

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto

Certificate: 18

Reviewed By: William McAbee





Violent movies always seem to be a touchy issue for audiences for some apparent reason. Moms and parents will come out from everywhere to bash films for being too violent and being impressionable on kids. We have seen films that have had this backlash like Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume One and Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. As a fan of cinema I feel as if these complaints of extreme violence is a little over the top. One of the points of movies is to take us places that we never go, or sometimes places we don’t want to go. As for its impression on kids? That’s ridiculous because all it takes is a parent to sit down with their children and talk to them about violence. That’s it…a talk. So is violence in movies bad? Of course not! They are some of my favorite parts of movies! Think of Seven Samurai, Ichi The Killer, and Oldboy where the movie literally wouldn’t be the same without the violence. So we come across Battle Royale. The film that caused controversy but nevertheless is one of the most popular movies in Japan and growing in the United States. I recently got to see it again while showing it the first time to some of my friends and wanted to share my thoughts on this film. Read on to see what I thought…

Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action film based on the novel of the same name which surrounds one class of high school students on a school trip. Not everything is as it seems and things quickly turn dark as the students realize that they have been chosen for the Battle Royale Act. The Act, passed after young adults became more dangerous and a menace to society, forces one class of students every year to fight each other to the death using weapons on a deserted island. As the games begin friends become enemies, little fights at school become reasons for death, and nobody will ever be the same. Who will survive the Battle Royale?

It is my personal belief that Asian cinema is making some of the best movies right now and they deserve more credit and recognition than they are getting. Battle Royale is a perfect example of this. A perfect blend of social commentary with high paced, bloody action, Battle Royale is one of my all time favorite films for numerous reasons. The first and main reason is because of the story which is totally unique, original, and way ahead of its time. The idea to place high schoolers against each other is a brilliant, daring move that had to take some real guts to do. Remember this movie came out in 2000, 8 years before The Hunger Games was published as a book, and this is a better version of it! I mean there is a reason Tarantino says this is his all time favorite film since he started directing.

One of the things that makes this film stand out is the brutal violence that is throughout the film. While this would be impossible to do in America sadly, this film holds back nothing and lets us see each killing in its deadly form. One of the most important parts of the killings and the movie as a whole is that it never lets us forget that these are kids, young adolescents that barely know anything about life nevertheless killing each other at their age. So everything is sloppy as expected. Kids end up with axes in their heads, bullets flying everywhere, and kids will even break down and cry begging for mercy. We see girls have crushes on boys and friends trying to protect each other against people they hated in school. It challenges the audience, like every great film should, that while we are basking in the awesome violence we forget that these are still kids who didn’t ask for any of this.

The best scene comes at the beginning as the kids are introduced to the Battle Royale Act and are told, by a hilarious video might I add, about everything that is about to unfold. We the audience experience the same feelings fears these kids are going through all while watching some great acting and action. Its not too many films that you see a girl get thrown at with a knife for whispering. The scene is a great set up to the rest of the film while we meet the different characters and their personality, all mixed with dark humor and suspense.

Overall this movie is a one of a kind experience. It is hard not to enjoy watching a bunch of high schoolers fight each other to death with all kinds of weapons and situations. There is great humor throughout and it is fun to see high school relationships play out in the battle field. Plus the commentary about how older generations see younger generations is quite enjoyable and makes a great point about the gap between the two that seems to be getting wider and wider as each year passes. It is one of those movies that you can watch over and over and never get tired of it. It is fun, violent, and has some great comments on society and high school. I was glad to see the action be brutal instead of trying to dodge how bloody the violence is because that was part of what made this movie so enjoyable. In the end, its a memorable film unlike most films you will ever see. Battle Royale is a MUST SEE and one of the greatest films of all time.


Hello! I am William McAbee. I do my fair share of reviews from time to time and I tweet like there is no tomorrow! I work currently as a video editor and producer.

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