Battle Royale (2000) Review

Full of death, games, teenagers and a constant challenge to our views of what is right and wrong when put to the ultimate test. This film is the much better and more controversial big brother to this years ‘The Hunger Games’, by that I mean that ‘The Hunger Games’ is the little brother who copies off the big brother but just fails to be the original masterpiece. If you like the idea of a hard hitting no punches pulled version of what to me was a disappointing ‘Hunger Games’ then this is for you because I really enjoyed this film. I love how every death is not only shown but also that you know a little about the people who died, for example most the characters had a little back story  this was a very clever thing to do in a film like this because you have to know people to care if they live or die and this film really used that to its advantage.

A long-unavailable underground hit that anticipated The Hunger Games novels by eight years, veteran director Fukasaku’s epically violent, still-controversial and deeply influential genre masterpiece takes place in a dystopian alternate universe. In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of its nation’s youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. Battle Royale follows one such class, with an ice-cold performance from Takeski Kitano as the group’s teacher.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 95%       Acting: 80%      Visuals: 70%      Dialogue: 75%

Thrills/Kills: 95%      Style/Sound: 70%      Characters: 95%

Total: 83%

To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting in this film was actually pretty good considering the age and low profile of this film. One of the best things that I thought about when watching the film was how character driven the story was, not in a sappy way either as the back stories of some are normal and other are terrible. Each of the roles are played well by its cast consisting of a very diverse group of teenagers who through one way or another we learn a little about (before they die). My favourite of the cast would be Taro Yamamoto because he played a character who from the beginning I thought would a really bad guy but actually turned into a hero of the story, really liked the twist they put on his mysterious character and self-sacrificing hero is always a favourite of mine. But the story isn’t only about the character you think will be bad and then turn out to be good but also the characters who start off good but when put in this situation show their true colours and boy do some have a change of heart when given a weapon. My favourite of the crazy people would be Mitsuko Souma played by the scary girl with the torch Kou Shibasaki, when you see it you’ll know who I am talking about.

So let’s talk about something more fun like the visuals. The Visual Effects in this film were really extreme, but not necessarily realistic. Some of the scenes will actually make you laugh but others are actually really good. To put that into perspective a funny visual would be anytime somebody got shot because they would flail and run around without dying or at least it would take thirty rounds of a machine gun to put a person down. A good example of visuals would be the explosions or knife injuries because they actually look pretty good. One of the best things about a story like this is how clearly good it is now but when it came out the banned in other countries and shown very rarely in japan itself, I really don’t understand that because is very clever and when you think about the idea behind it which that adults fear the younger generations and what would happen if this went to the extremes. When it comes to a dystopian future a story needs to see the extreme because people like to see what they should be avoiding because we all need to see that it’s not only wrong but could easily happen if we let it. The film never gets boring or stalls because they had so many stories to tell and a lot of people to kill off.

Must Watch Trailer:

The best reviews I have found would be these “Awful deaths (and hysterical reactions to them) punctuate declarations of love and friendship, revelations of treachery and heavily armed expressions of angst.” A.O. Scott. The deaths where really epic but also unbelievably funny to watch so yeah I agree with that, treachery and angst are the fuel that keeps this film going (sorely missing from the ‘Hunger Games’). “Before The Hunger Games there was Battle Royale. The bloody spectacle of Japanese schoolchildren being forced into a sadistic game of “last man standing” packs an emotional wallop.” Maitland McDonagh. Before there was ‘The Hunger Games’ there was something oh so much better. My favourite scene would have to be the scene in that class room when they all wake up in and they get explained to them why they are here. ”Life is a game, Let’s see if you are worthy”.

Oh and it’s free to Watch!

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

28 responses to “Battle Royale (2000) Review”

  1. The Vern says :

    Very Nice Review. I agree that that minor characters in Battle Royale were more developed then the ones in Hunger Games. I also recommend the Manga, its a good review


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Thanks. I found a lot more problems with Battle royal than others, people where dying that I am pretty sure I had never even seen before you spot the corpse 😦

      I’ll have to check the manga out 😀


  2. bakedmoviereviews says :

    Love love love this film. The Japanese schoolgirl shoot out in the lighthouse is one of the craziest scenes ever.


  3. Franz Patrick says :

    For some reason, I remember it being more violent/shocking when I saw it back in high school. I revisited this movie prior to watching “The Hunger Games” and was surprised I found it less violent than I thought. Maybe I’ve been desensitized.


  4. Mr Rumsey says :

    Man, this review has got me all worked up to see this movie again. Well, now I know what I’m doing with this evening!
    Nice review Tim 🙂


  5. flickswithmaddog says :

    I saw this film a while back, it was pretty awesome. Kind of a sucker for foreign films. 😀


  6. 42ndego says :

    Just saw this film for the first time. Definitely worth watching.


  7. Tyson Carter says :

    Loved it (and the sequel…….). Nice write up Tim.


  8. Novroz says :

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the book…but not that much on the movie. The movie changed the most crucial part of the story…the reason why Battle Royale is held.

    Maybe I could love the movie more if I have seen it before reading it


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      I would have liked to see a two part film, one for why the act is passed and then the results of it. I just view this film as the second part.

      Wish you’d have liked it more but glad you enjoyed the book 😀


  9. craft fear says :

    Heyo! I reviewed this one today too–great minds! I really appreciate how this film successfully juggles so many characters but is clear about which ones matter the most in the long run. Also Mitsuko is scary as fuck but I want her to be on screen all the time. I love this fucking movie, and I especially love crazy-ass Kitano-sensei. I want to read the book, and I should probably buy it before I forget again. Great review!


  10. mistylayne says :

    Great review – I love this movie! And totally agree about Hunger Games being the annoying younger copy cat brother.


  11. jmount43 says :

    This movie was f*cking awesome, Tim!


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  1. Tim Reviews “Battle Royale” | Grizzly Bomb - November 8, 2012

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