In a style that only the Japanese could bring to fruition, comes this bloody, engaging, and interesting take on the “fight for survival” concept. The movie, put simply, is about high school delinquents who are placed on an island and are required, by the Battle Royale Law, to kill each other within three days until only one survives. The reason: the Japanese economy has pretty much collapsed, students are boycotting school, and unemployment has skyrocketed.
This movie, to be blunt, was fucking cool as hell. I wish I didn’t have to use an expletive, but sometimes that is the only word you can put in front of “cool” in order for people to really get the point. I would compare this to The Condemned, but that would be degrading because it was a much better film, but the all around concept was somewhat similar.
Battle Royale begins with an introduction to the current state of Japan, as well as introduces you to the winner/survivor of the most recent Battle Royale, whose smile is penetratingly eerie to say the least as she emerges from victory. From there we meet our main character, Nanahara, whose father commits suicide and leaves him all alone (a minor detail, don’t worry). Eventually, his class is chosen to participate in Battle Royale and the students are given their weapons and supplies, at which time the game begins immediately when they step out the school door. With a neck collar that explodes, danger zones scattered around the island, and only three days to live or die, this deadly game of survival becomes increasingly more intense and keeps you wondering who’s next to go…and how. Guns, grenades, a garbage lid, and an ax are only some of the weapons which lead to an increasingly gory kill count. Many will find some of the deaths rather long and comedic but, hey, that’s how the Japanese roll and you just got to love it.
Throughout the chaos, we see a love story subplot emerge between Nanahara and a female, who I won’t name, and for them it becomes a game of protection and sacrifice. In a way, you can almost think of this as a slightly toned down Tarantino flick. I say that because it has a cool story, a lot of killing, a little romance and some clever kill scenes, but at the same time, it has its Japanese flavor because it is not excessively bloody and some of the death scenes are fantastically silly, yet, brutal, that only the Japanese can pull off in their filmmaking.
I must say, this movie was really cool and was one that I watched on the whim while movie browsing. Better yet, it is a movie that you can have fun watching despite all the killing (there are 40 students in total to give you an idea). Straight up, Battle Royale is a cool movie that guys will probably love, and be a hit or miss with women.
Rating: a cool ass Japanese movie with a lot of killing