Forty-two students, three days, one deserted Island: welcome to Battle Royale. A group of ninth-grade students from a Japanese high school have been forced by legislation to compete in a Battle Royale. The students are sent off to kill each other in a no-holds-barred game to the death, until one survives -- or they all die. Some decide to play the game like the psychotic Kiriyama or the sexual Mitsuko, while others are trying to find a way to get off the Island without violence. However, as the numbers dwindle is there any way for Shuya and his classmates to survive?Written by
Prissy Panda Princess
When Kitano kills Fumiyo Fujiyoshi by throwing a knife into her forehead the next scene depicts him pulling the knife out below her eye socket, not from her forehead where the initial wound impacted. See more »
This year Zentsuji Middle School number 4's Class E was chosen from among 43,000 Ninth grade classes. This year's game, said to be more blistering than the last - - Oh look there! There she is! The winner's a girl! Surviving a fierce battle that raged two days, seven hours, and 43 minutes - the winner is a girl! Look, she's smiling! Smiling! The girl definitely just smiled!
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As the credits roll, a class picture is displayed, showing all of the students that have been killed in the Battle Royale, including the two transfer students. See more »
The German version was supposed to be released uncut with a SPIO/JK approval (that basically states that the film doesn't violate the law (§131, glorification of violence)), a FSK rating was out of the question due to the excessive violence. But due to various circumstances at the time (political climate, the 2002 shooting at a school in Erfurt), the approval was denied. To release the film at all, German distributor Kinowelt had to cut the film. This cut version still only had the SPIO/JK approval and no FSK rating. Among the cut scenes were the following:
Kitano killing Fujiyoshi with his knife
Kitano killing Nobu by activating the collar
All notes telling the viewer who was killed and how many survivors were left were deleted
Mitsuko killing Megumi with a sickle
Much of Kitanos comments, such as "It's tough when friends die on you, but hang in there!"
Kiriyama killing the two girls with the MP was shortened
View of Kitano's picture was shortened
Nanahara saying "She took the knife that Nobu use to stab Kitano from the desk." In 2004 the film was re-released by Marketing Film, this time it was uncut.
I couldn't believe my eyes. Out of all of the horror/survival films I have ever seen, this is definitely on top of the list. I don't just mean that in terms of foreign films, I mean in terms of film. I was immersed into this crazy scenario that may seem absolutely ridiculous at first, but once you look at it, it almost turns into a not so outlandish thought.
The story is laid out like this: Japan has is going down the proverbial crapper. Unemployment is at an all time high and kids everywhere are boycotting school. The country is in chaos. The government decides to pass a law that is basically aimed at scaring the country into order. The Law is called the BR Act. Heres the crazy part. A class is selected by impartial lottery (and the grades seem totally random, as indicated by the shot of the 1st or 2nd grader in the opening sequence) and sent to an undisclosed, evacuated location. The classmates then have 3 days to kill each other off until there is only one student left. This year, it is a class of 9th graders (keep in mind that Japanese kids go to school year round. in our school years, these kids would be seniors). They are sent to an island, given weapons, and fight to survive.
The cast in this film is chock full of Japanese Stars. Kitano Takeshi (Kitano) plays the teacher that basically plays the ringleader. If you have watched spike TV, you have seen him before. This is the actor that plays as "Vic Ramono" on MXC. The rest of the cast is comprised of Japanese teen pop idols. Most notably, the gorgeous Chiaki Kuriyama (Chigusa). You probably know her too. She was Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill Vol 1. Ando Masanobu (Kiriyama) plays the most menacing villain I have ever seen.
Asside from the classic Japanese blood sprays and the amount of ammo some of the guns put out, there is great attention to detail in this film. From what I have read, since the author (Kinji Fukasaku) of the original book directed the film, everything is kept true to the book as close as possible. Every time a student dies, their names appear on the screen in the order they died. Inside the main building, there is huge system of screens that show who is dead and what not. Anyway, that screen is exact on the names as well as the 'danger zone' map. I had to look twice to realize that. That is damn good editing right there.
The characters in the film, though Japanese, can be related right back to the kids you knew in high school. I joke around with my friends all of the time saying, "Oh thats so and so" and, "oh man, that is definitely so and so." This brings so much depth into the film. It is simply amazing to watch how everything plays out. This is like Darwinism in the 21st century. I watch this film just saying, "this is what would happen." That is what the entire film is based on, the crazy idea of 'this could happen.' The whole tag line of the movie is, "could you kill your best friend?" The question is so spooky, I don't even know if I could answer it. It taps into something so deep that you really have to think about it.
This film does have some comical moments. It is just too damn funny to watch Takeshi Kitano sit on a couch and eat cookies while at the same time watching his former pupils kill each other. There is just everything in this movie. There are those love stories that you saw all too often in school as well as those feuds between certain cliques and egos.
If you want a superb psychological thriller, this is the movie. This film sent shock waves across Japan when it burst onto the scene. Intelligent writing, great acting, beautiful locations, and decent effects bring this film together. Its Lord of the Flies with High School Kids. Its just great.
10 out of 10
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