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With the Japanese currently leading the way in thought-provoking cinematic violence, it's only fitting that Kinji Fukasaku'sBattle Royaleis being touted as aClockwork Orangefor the 21st century. Based on the novel by Koshun 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

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Details

CastChiaki Kuriyama, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Takeshi Kitano
DirectorKinji Fukasaku
DVD Release Date:  June 15, 2004
Runtime:  122 minutes
Studio:  Toei
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More Battle Royale reviews
review by . March 30, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
Finally! Blu-ray BATTLE ROYALE: It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!
   So much has been written about the film.  So much has been said.  So much has been debated, discussed, dissected, and so much has been praised or insulted or misunderstood.  Those of us who celebrate film will always owe a special debt to the people at Anchor Bay: for the first time since it was released, BATTLE ROYALE is now being made available – uncensored, uncut, unrated – in America.       No doubt that BATTLE ROYALE’s Blu-ray …
review by . September 07, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
Dvd
          Kinji Fukasaki’s “BATTLE ROYALE” (Batoru Rowaiaru, 2000) is the type of film whose reputation precedes it. The film sparked such controversy and almost became banned from its native Japan. Its hype was far-reaching that when the movie reached America, it was even proclaimed the ‘movie of the decade’. I’m not sure whether I can agree with that claim but one thing’s for sure; Japanese filmmakers had the guts …
review by . July 08, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This is a film with an extraordinarily flimsy and unrealistic premise. It violates its own rules and internal logic. It is, essentially, a great big snuff-film.    And I really liked it.    There's not a lot you can say about this film, really. 42 middle school kids, most of them played by actors who either actually are, or at least look close to, the ages of the characters are hauled out to an island and told to kill each other until only one is left. This …
review by . April 18, 2007
posted in ASIANatomy
"Battle Royale" become a cult favorite in many corners of the world. Fukasaku wanted this movie to be viewed by all ages, but putting its gory depictions of death and blood into consideration the ratings would not allow it. The film has provoked outrage, and I think this was the intent. Children are viewed as being innocent, yet here, we see them killing each other in gruesome ways, with or without remorse. Being that I only seen this twice but on my third watch it still gets me.    As …
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