Battle Royale (Japanese Film Review)

Battle Royale (Japanese Film Review)

“Have you ever killed your best friend?” – Battle Royale Tagline

To those who don’t know, Battle Royale is one of the most controversial (and most sought after) Japanese import film in the last decade. Its mix of brutal violence and social satire became a hit with youth all over Japan, and led politicians to denounce the film’s use of violent imagery.

This film review is for Tartan Asia Extreme’s version of the infamous Battle Royale.

Battle Royale was originally a novel written by Takami Koushun, then released as a manga – Japanese graphic novel – series a few years later. In 2000, Battle Royale was made into a movie resulting in one of the most surprising, horrifying, and eye-opening social satires in the history of film. The plot is fairly straightforward; in the near future, Japan has a major political upheaval, society becomes more unstable, and over-population endangers Japanese economic stability.

The Japanese government decides to create the BR ACT, in which a random class of ninth graders are chosen and sent to a remote island where they must kill or be killed; a brutal game of survival with the last surviving student winning their chance to return to civilized society.

Takami’s talent shines as he succeeds in showing errant graphic violence whilst providing his satirical message about modern Japanese society. And the fact that he hired teenagers to play the key roles in the film makes it all the more powerful. There were a number of times when I was really uncomfortable watching it, especially whenever Kiriyama enters the scene. That guy is a pure psychopath, only there to enjoy himself in the thrill of the hunt.

A sequel (Battle Royale 2: Blitz Royale) was made a few years after, continuing a the story a few years after the first one ended. Blitz Royale however, was not as good as its predecessor. The director Fukasaku Kinji died in the middle of filming, leaving his son to finish the rest of the film.

As this movie is not for sale anywhere in North America, your best bet is buy it from Asian film importers.


About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Nerd Explosion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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