Battle Royale Review
Written by: jmh314
What would you do if you were handed a weapon and told to kill all your friends or you yourself will die? I am sure many people would say "oh I'd kill all those fuckers" but I'd say it's not that easy for everyone. As we see in the film Battle Royale, when these junior high students are told to do just it comes down to fight or flight for some people. Some have no problem killing, so would rather kill themselves, and some would go on with their day like nothings wrong. No matter what each individual decides one thing is certain, once classmates start killing each other no one is safe.
In Battle Royale the students begin to boycott school. One student even goes as far as stabbing his teacher in the leg because of how he treats them. After they get a new teacher, they head on a school trip. While on the bus trip, all the students suddenly pass out as we see the driver and another person with gas masks on.
When the students wake up they have all found to have metal electronic collars on their necks. The door bursts open and their former teacher storms into the room. He explains they have been selected as the next class for the governments Battle Royale program. These students learn that they have 3 days to kill each other. If more than one person remains alive after this time, all their collars will explode and they will all be dead. Their collars are also rigged to blow up in danger zones that are added as time goes by to make the islands area much smaller.
As some students protest and others ask questions, they soon learn how serious this whole situation is as they witness two of the classmates get killed right there in that very room. Soon they all know that this is real and thee is no way out. As each student gets their name called they leave and are handed a bag containing supplies to survive and a weapon. Everyones weapon can be different so the have no idea if they will end up with a gun or a pot lid. As everyone disperses the room and onto the island the game begins and no one is safe.
There really isnt a whole lot more I can say without ruining this film. There are some pretty good plot directions in this film and it would not be fair to give them away for a badass film like this one. Aside from a few pointless flashbacks that sometimes dont make sense, this story is pretty much filled with nonstop thrills. You wonder who is gonna be killed next and in what viscious manner it is going to take place.
The acting is quite good for being a cast of kids. Many of them have a real edge to them and are all able to portray their different characteristics very well. Beat Takashi who may be the Christopher Walken of Japanese films plays a great role as the students former teacher who submitted them to the program. His character is quite unbalanced as he shows is a little bit senile and a little bit funny. His character is heartless but is still able to provide some funny one-liners in the process. It is a humor that never takes away from the intensity of the film but adds to the madness the teacher provides.
The FX are some of the most entertaining you will find. There are many assortments of different kills and all have their own special quality with the effects. They may be CGI which arent always viewers favorite, but they still look very authentic and help keep the intensity of the film at a very high level. One scene that stand out is with a machine gun and shooting someone on the ground. The blood spray from the trail of bullets looked fantastic. The films music and sound effects were spot on too. The classical music used is consuming and adds edge to the action. Sometimes a classical score can be too dramatic or sappy, but this one provides enough ferocity to keep the action kicking ass.
One recommendation if you love the film: read the book. The book came before the movie and is so much more detailed and answers a lot of things you would have never thought about. It really is the definitive way to experience it. If you read the book then rewatch the movie, this makes the film that much cooler because you pick up on things that you never noticed before. You'll really be surprised at how much more complete the film experience is after reading the book.
Battle Royale is one of those films that is so cool you could talk about it forever. That makes it hard to review because I want to tell you everything but dont want to ruin how much ass this film kicks. There are vey few flaws but the few that exist cant stop Battle Roayle from being a film one hell of a ride. (And again if you read the book some of these flaws become answered) The only thing I wish they would have changed is the title. It should have be called "Chuck Norris" because it kicks ass like no other!