Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000)

Could you kill your best friend?
Posted on by

Battle Royale - Possibly the best Asian Horror Movie

Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru) is a work of genius from Japanese director Fukasaku Kinji based on a novel by Takami Koshun. The originality of this movie is definately one of it's strong points. The movie was made in 2000 and paints a picture of a dark future in ruins where violence among Japan's youth has made adults fear their offspring. The very dark humour in the movie is made all the more macarbe by the brutal violence between the children around which the story is based. The fact that the main protagonists are highly emotional youngsters forced to exact brutal and bloody murders amongst themselves makes the movie all the more disturbing and is interspersed with almost comical adults completely indifferent to the fate of their children. The desperation of the class of ninth-grade students makes for a highly emotional and violent rollercoaster ride that doesn't relent from the first scene to the last.

"At the dawn of the new millennium, Japan is in a state of near-collapse. Unemployment is at an all-time high, and violence amongst the nation's youth is spiralling out of control. With school children boycotting their lessons and physically abusing their teachers, a beleaguered and near-defeated government decides to introduce a radical new measure: The Battle Royale Act."

Shuya Nanahara has become disillusioned with life after his mother abandoned him and his father commits suicide. The rest of his class has a similar attitude as society has given up on the youth of the country; this has led to a generation of uncaring and violent schoolchildren unguided by the fearful adults in their life which makes the problem even worse. As Shuya and his class mates near the end of their compulsory education they are taken on a school trip but are blissfully unaware of their destination.

Their destination is a deserted island where the ultimate act of discipline is about to be inflicted upon the class, the BR act. The pupils are gassed on the bus to knock them out and when they awake they are in a briefing room with a former teacher, Kitano. Kitano is a bitter adult since he was attacked at school by a pupil and is happy to take out this bitterness on the children that made his life so miserable. Made to watch an introductory video, the children discover that they are to be released on the island and have three days to kill all of their classmates, the one survivor being allowed to go home. If more than one child is still alive after the three days the irremovable collars that they have been fitted with will explode and no one get's to go home.

Each pupil is given a bag of supplies and a weapon, the weapons available range from the useless (such as a pot lid), to tactical (such as binoculars or a GPS device to track others) to machine guns. The weapons are handed out at random to eliminate any unfair advantages and the children are released onto the island.

Some decide to survive alone, some form into groups and some decide not to play and end it all by suicide. The emotional connections between the classmates are very complex and due to the desperation of the situation the loves, hates, untrust and vengeful motives all come to the forefront as the children try to survive. This emotional turmoil and the presence of deadly weapons leads to some easily provoked, violent showdowns between groups of friends.

The violence in this movie is able to be very creative as there are a wide range of different weapons available to deliver death. The desperation and the high levels of hormones can make this movie quite shocking in places, but there is so much more to the story than just mindless violence. Battle Royale is a darkly humorous and cynical look at society throughout the developed world. Fukasaku Kinji manages to keep the levels of action and violence extremely high throughout but also manages to deliver a complex and original story. This is a must see for anyone able to cope with blood and brutality not just the hardened horror fans.
This review was posted on by
Categories: Asian Horror Movies
Watch "Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru)" now Watch Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) Now on Amazon Instant Video

Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru): Movie Information

Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru): Related Images

Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru): External Links