Battle Royale (2000)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Takeshi Kitano, ,Tatsuya Fujiwara,

Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto |

This film grabs you right from the start and never lets go, even when its finished. The premise is breathtakingly simple and equally shocking. A class of school kids are picked each year to be placed on an island and told to kill each other until there is only one left. The game lasts three days and if there is more than one left at the end of that time then explosive necklaces that have been put on them are detonated and no one lives.

Yup, this one pulls no punches, but don’t get me wrong, this is more than a cheap exploitation flick. This film was nearly banned in its home country because the powers that be thought that some of it was too much of a reflection of the direction Japanese society is going and it wasn’t released in America at all. But here in the UK it was released uncut. Wonders will never cease! Only Japan could produce a film of this nature, anywhere else would have come up with a lame happy ending and a bodycount of one (or two at a push).

Like I said, this ain’t no exploitation flick that helps pass a couple of mindless hours. If you don’t finish watching this film feeling that you have experienced something that borders on the transcendent then you are a soulless heartless reprobate, who doesn’t deserve to be called a film fan. Japan is one of the few countries that is producing exciting and provocative film and Battle Royale is in a class of its own (sorry bad pun). Unfortunately critics have to pigeonhole and compartmentalize every movie going, so this was described as a crossbreed of a Clockwork Orange and Lord of the Flies. What?? The Lord of the Flies reference I get, but the Clockwork Orange one is pushing it a bit. But on the other hand maybe I’m a filmic twat. Anyway, if you are into Asian action and/or horror cinema, this is a must for your collection. Go out and get it now!

Extras: Star and Director Filmographies, Theatrical Trailer, Stills Gallery, Film Notes (by Mark Wyatt), Asia Extreme Trailer Reel. Nothing juicy in the extras department I’m afraid, but with the film being so damn good, it’s easily forgiven. On saying that though, the trailer is extremely cool in that it makes you laugh and then it freaks you out. Now that’s clever.? Me? Never!

Review By Martainn Russell.
© Owned Martainn Russell   31/12/2004 18:58



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