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Battle Royale (2001)

Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, more...
Director: Kinji Fukasaku, Kinji Fukasaku
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universe Laser & Video Co.
Genre: Action, Cult, Drama, Foreign, Horror, Science Fiction , Slashers, Post-Apocalypse, Japan, Adventure
Running Time: 114 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English, Cantonese, Mandarin
    see additional details...

In a future where society is on the verge of collapse, the government takes drastic action against the problem of rebellious teenagers in this violent sci-fi opus from Japan. In the year 2002, Japan's economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and massive unemployment and inflation have thrown most adults into a state of chaos; the nation's youth culture responds with unprecedented violence, delinquency, and truancy. Desperate to restore order, the Japanese parliament responds by creating the Millennial Reform School Act, in which groups of junior high students are selected at random, sent to an isolated island, and forced to play a rigorous war game, in which all but one of their number are killed. Kitano (Beat Takeshi) is an embittered school instructor who guides the 44 students of the Zentsuji Middle School's Class B through the deadly game known as "Battle Royale," as they struggle to survive against the elements and each other. Battle Royale proved to be both successful and highly controversial in Japan, where it set box-office records and prompted political leaders to call for stricter controls on violence in Japanese entertainment; the film was initially rated R-15 (no one under 15 admitted), unusual for violent films in Japan, though director Kinji Fukasaku later prepared a re-edited version that earned a more lenient classification. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Please go to Special Edition to rent this title.

Special features: Star and Director Filmographies, Original Theatrical Trailer, Stills Galery, Mark Wyatt Film Notes, Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack, Anamorphic Widescreen

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GreenCine Member Reviews

What is this non-sense!? by jehnubis April 10, 2006 - 2:14 PM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The introduction to the movie held me VERY interested, until all the students were sent out of the classroom and onto the island. From there, the movie falls apart completely. I had no idea that this film was made for the mainstream audience. A movie strictly for teens/idiots alike who like to see fake blood, fake gore, and fake characters. Action scenes are much like the A-team, where people are dodging machine gun bullets aimed right in front of them. What upset me the most was how predictable the movie was! This flick should have been a cartoon and NOT a movie. This movie is complete mindless garbage, to say the least.

Lives up to the hype by MrBunBun January 20, 2004 - 7:10 AM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I thought Battle Royale would be some typical Japanese b-movie splatter-fest on a low budget. I was underwhelmed by the hype as I thought it was initiated by the clueless who just liked the novelty value of 'Asian cinema'.

Anywhoo, so I watched it as research and I was SOOOOO surprised by this film. BECAUSE I LOVED IT. It was able to escape the kiss of death that is hype. It's that *good*.

It really HAS A POINT. It's wickedly funny. You care a lot of about each of the characters and you're supposed to - not necessarily so you can sadisticly cheer at their deaths but so you can feel the desperation at their predicaments and do what the film really directs you to do -- and that is to think a moment.

It's innovative --you'd think that you just can't breathe life into a tired genre (EXPLOITATION) but this does.

Did I mention this film has a point? And Beat Takeshi does a kick-ass performance that translates well even if you don't understand Japanese. Battle Royale even uses a famous voice actress for the "welcome to Battle Royale" clip that the students have to watch, which packs so much meaning and punch just in itself. Her "instructional video" is a keeper.

I hate the cliche of the brutally exploitative film that is supposed to make you think. Most film makers who supposedly try to make such films just don't have the sincere interest, intelligence, or skills to make a violent film "that makes you think". It just ends up being another sensationalistic half-baked pretentious and/or pointless film. But that's just my opinion.

Unlike the rest of its violent contemporaries, Battle Royale is actually a movie that is able to engage the mind as well emotions. The hyper-violence really is a mockery, yet the deaths of the students aren't.

Watch it, even if it's just to see what all the hype is about.

NOT another teen movie by ColonelKong May 10, 2003 - 11:21 PM PDT
7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
This brutal, unsparing film about a group of kids placed in a no-win situation provides a fine coda to the career of director Kinji Fukasaku, whose last completed film this was (his son Kenta, the first film's screenwriter, took over as director of Battle Royale 2, which is due to be released in Japan this summber).

While Battle Royale is a violent film, the violence is never cool or glamourous, which probably would've been the approach a Hollywood studio would've taken. I think this approach gives the film a lot of its power, and makes it a very intense, harrowing experience.

While Takeshi Kitano didn't write or direct (His frequent DP shot the film though) fans of any of his work should definitely see Battle Royale, as it has some great moments of black comedy to match anything in the movies he's directed.

In short, I'm saying what pretty much everyone else has said about BR, that it's highly recommended to those who are not squeamish.

On a technical note, despite the "for progressive-scan players only" warning, the disc played just fine on my older, non-progressive scan player.

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