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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Haunting and 'Bloody' Good Cinema
I was excited when I heard about this film, apprehensive as to whether it would hold up to the good press it has received or just degenerate into another violence for kicks gore show. I was in for a shock. The film opens with a powerful introduction, dark, menacing and setting the tone of the film throughout. With teenagers behaviour crossing the line for the authorities...
Published on 10 Feb. 2003 by bottlebank2

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you have heard the hype - it's a major letdown!
Yes, it has some interesting deaths and violence but none that stand out in the memory a week or so after viewing. I think that they hype comes from the fact that the level of violence and variety of violence was less common than it is now. After films like Saw, Hostel etc it isn't really a novelty. Plus, apart from maybe one guy, it lacks character development. Add...
Published 7 months ago by L. Fleming


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fetishistic Final Fantasy Fighting Furore, 12 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I saw this at the cinema on its limited release in the uk and it is definitely worth adding to any DVD collection that has a leaning toward violent, stylish cult films.
I won't give away too much about the plot as it is best to see this film with no idea of what is going to happen, then spend two hours staring at the screen with a rabbit in the headlights expression on your face.
The film is fetishistic to say the least - frilly dressed schoolgirls, big weapons and lots of really shocking violence - and has a cast that you won't struggle to imagine in animated manga form. The plot moves along at a fair old lick and leaves you feeling satisfied but a little dirty.
It's a great film that's real fun to watch with a group of mates because you'll probably want to share your amazement with someone when it's all over. In fact if it looks like you are going to be on your own when you watch it for the first time, go out into the street and drag someone in to share the Battle Royale experience with you or, I guarantee, you'll be on the phone as soon as those final credits role.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cruelly Captivating, 8 July 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you are cult movie fan with a taste for sci -fi and horror, this is a film I guarantee you will enjoy.
I have recently been soooooo bored and frustrated by mainstream cinema, with it's patronizing, formulaic, money burning drivel that I had nearly lost my passion for cinema altogether. Then one weekend, on a blind recommendation, I watched BR...
Thank the film gods for extreme Asian film makers!!!! The Sci-fi and Horror genres have been saved!
This film is raw, brave, fresh, accomplished and the kind of film cult fans like myself, totally adore.
(I enjoyed BR so much that as a result, I have since been on a visceral voyage of discovery into live action Asian Cinema of the extreme kind., check out Ichii the Killer and Audition.)
OK, you have to be a bit forgiving at times to get the most enjoyment from the film. For example, the dialogue can be totally unconvincing, although this is mainly due to the difficult task of translation, and the significant cultural divide between the west and the east is very apparent. However, for me, this is a huge positive, providing a truly unique experience for those who have never encountered Asian cinema of this ilk before.
In my humble opinion, watching Asian cinema of all kinds, allows a limited, yet eye opening insight into the tastes and values of a very different culture to our own. This alone, is highly rewarding and enlightening.
Anyway, back to the film...
As others have suggested, I didn't find BR that thought provoking, however, I was genuinely impressed with the attention to subtle detail and the films ability to realize the difficult task of portraying a cohesive story whilst attempting to reflect the character, and in some cases the background, of so many characters (40 odd kids).
Anyway, to conclude, if you are a cult film fan, or simply looking for a change, watch BR. It is wickedly engrossing and I guarantee you won't have seen anything like it before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern masterpiece, stylish, brutal and moving, 7 April 2003
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
When I first heard about Battle Royale I was put under the impression that it was nothing more than your average ultra violent gorefest as the review which I read only focused on the details of the films frequent killings. Although, I have to admit, this is what attracted me to the film in the first place, I was quite surprised to find that this was far from the truth. Battle Royale, although unflinchingly violent throughout, is a truly gripping, thought provoking and in places moving film about a class of post millenium school students who are forced onto a desolate island and have to kill each other until only one survivor is left. Although the concept may not sound too original the film is a truly breath taking experience and by the far greatest film ever to come out of Japan(which is saying something!)One thing which really stood out in this film was the fact that the acting was brilliant by all involved, the young cast do a fantastic job and the two main characters Nanahara and Noriko are played with great depth and emotion by the two young leads. However, the real highlight of the film for me was the introduction of the 'transfer' students Kawada and Kiriyama, these two really take care of the action element of the film.The movie itself is filmed superbly with some amazing scenery shots which contrast quite strongly with the bloody killing scenes, these are brutally realistic and definatley not for people with a weak stomach. Combined with the extremley well utilised and haunting musical score(including a song by Dragon Ash), the original variety of weapons given to the students and the deaths they suffer at the hands of them, and Beat Takeshis great performance as teacher Kitano, Battle Royale is truly a modern masterpiece which I strongly recommend to everyone who is a fan of both ultra violent and message orientated films. Superb!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Japanese Film, 6 April 2007
By 
David P. "A Reviewer" (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I first watched this film about 3 or 4 years ago now, and let me say that this film is a true classic. Unfortunately the film is subtitled all the way through, but you get used to it after a while. The story to the film is great too. It features some good actors such as Beat Takeshi and Masanobu Ando.

The film revolves around a Japanese law, secret to the youths. Every single year, a class of any age or anywhere in Japan is secretly selected to participate in battle royale, and the chosen class are unaware of it until it begins.

This film begins with a specific class, who are gassed out on a bus, whilst journeying on a school trip. They awaken in a classroom, located on a small island. They each wake up with a colar around their necks and find two strangers amongst them. Soldiers march into the room, along with the class' old teacher Kitano. He informs them in the situation. They have three days to kill each other. There has to be no more than one survivor when the time's up otherwise all the survivors will die. The reward for the survior is that he/she gets to retrun to his/her life.

The collars are there so Kitano and the soldiers can know the whereabouts of everyone. They are each issued with food, water, a map of the island, personal items (for the girls) and a weapon; their weapons can be anything like a machine gun or something crap like a fan. Only two people are willing to kill; a girl named Mitsuko (I think it was spelled like that) and one of the strangers, Kiriyama, who volonteered to participate for fun, and believe me, he is definetely insane. Others however form a plan to escape and the two main characters Nanahara Shuya and...actually I forget what her name was, team up with the other volunteer, named Kawada, who says he's playing to avenge the death of his girlfriend.

Battle Royale is an excellent film, I'd recommend you watch. The sequal however was disapointing, so don't bother getting BR2 if you like this one. Just get this and enjoy. I can't promise that you won't be disapointed, but I DO promise that you are insane if you don't.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese version of Lord of the Flies, 11 May 2004
By 
W Moszczynski (London W5 United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
It is a wonderful story contrasting the comely greyish uniforms of the school children travelling in a coach through a dark tunnel into a frightening nightmare world which transforms these children into either dangerous monsters or young entrepreneurial adolescents who value friendship and loyalty higher than their own survival.
Characterization of many of the schoolchildren is remarakably good. Many even of the more rebellious children appear to be quite innocent, even romantic, on issues of sex. Of over 30 kids we become quite familiar with at least 15 of them; we soon get to know our favourites and our villains and wish them survival or destruction in turn. The death of each boy or girl is numbered and ticked off and each time you are reminded how many more there are to die. You cannot watch without taking sides. Some of the deaths are particularly violent. Gripping stuff.
The deterioration of civilized ritualistic behaviour into desperation and barbarism does remind you of the William Golding novel. However the barbarism does not emerge naturally, but imposed on them by jealous and corrupt adults. They are told they must all kill each other and only one survivor out of the whole class will be allowed to survive and die. If more than one is left after 3 days then everybody is killed. An alternative title could have been "The Reluctant Gladiators" - but in fact not all are that reluctant.
Superb film, marred occasionally by poor lighting during the night sequences.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special edition is a dissappointment, 16 Oct. 2002
Battle Royale is great film, no doubt about it but I believe that the special edition of the movie has damaged what was a good thing. The overall package is great, the extras are a treat for die hard fans, but my complaint is with the movie itself, for I don't buy a DVD for its extras.
Unfortunately the special edition failed to realise that less is more. I'd personally rather own the orginal edition of the film.
The new basket ball scenes during the movie add nothing in my opinion (the film was originally weighed down with enough flashbacks already, the original flashbacks were relevant though). Though the new scene with the step dad/pervert did give some background to the nature of that violent girls' character (forgot her name).
George Lucas released the Star Wars Trilogy special editions because he wanted to include scenes which he couldn't afford/didn't previously have the technology for.
It seems that this re-release is just a cash in, the unnecessarily added CG blood just proves this: cheap thrills.
The biggest crime is the ending: what a place to put those requeim scenes! Tacked on at the end! Why ruin a great ending? Even a friend who had never even seen the original mentioned how unnecessary they are: they stick out like a sore thumb. They should really have been edited in during the film or not at all.
I think all of these extra scenes should have been left on a separate menu on disc two and not edited into the film. But then they're for the die hard fans who want more, even it means damaging the original product.
This edition then, is one for the fans (the extras on disc two are plentiful and in depth, certainly merriting the £30 price tag) but perhaps pointless to everyone else who may be better off buying the shorter original.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Too many ingredients spoil the broth.
I gave this 4 stars but add one star for the original version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Today's lesson is:..., 2 Feb. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
...you kill each other off till there's only one left. Nothing's against the rules"--- Kitano.
If there is one film you could take with you to a desert island, do NOT take this one, for you will never want to be on a small island ever again.
Disturbing, poignant, compelling are a few adjectives that can describe this film.
This is Lord of the Flies with new limits, school children brutally murdering and killing each other in a bid to survive.
With the unemployment rate and youth delinquency rising in Japan, the government passes a new law called the "BR-Act" where each year a class of 9th graders are chosen at random. They're then given random weapons, ordered to kill each other within three days , and the last boy or girl standing gets to go home.
This film is disturbing, strangely compelling, and one you will never ever forget.
"Run!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous asian film., 25 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Battle Royale was a masterpiece that needs to be seen by every fan of wonderful Japanese cinema!, it's also one of the most controversial and challenging movies ever made. The film is very gory and violent, but it's also witty, satirical and thought provoking. The concept of "Battle Royale" is pretty simple. The act of Battle Royale decrees that once a year a class of 9th graders is chosen at random, stranded on a small island and armed with random weapons. The kids are also outfitted with strange necklaces that monitor their locations and life functions, and explode if more than one student is alive at the end of 72 hours. The kids are forced to become savage killers, and the movie provides them with interesting personalities and human reactions to the horrible situation in which they find themselves. The acting is brilliant and the violence is horrific and merciless. The film was also very exciting, intense and well-photographed.

With forty kids to deal with in a limited span of time, Battle Royale shows its cards early and reveals the handful of the film's most important characters--including Shuya Nanahara, all-around good guy and one of the most liked members of his class. However, in a masterful and traumatizing move his best friend Nobu is gruesomely murdered before the game even begins, setting up the suspense that even a character that is given attention and depth could suddenly bite it in the next scene, and the film would coldly move on to the next. Much of Battle Royale's appeal comes from the questions it asks of its viewers, namely: "Can you kill your best friend?" As a result the film, although with its fare share of carnage focuses on seemingly silly high school drama from unspoken crushes to hidden grudges and transposes it to the deadly game where every crucial moment matters. While some may find themselves entertained by the gore, viewers will be more intrigued by the ambiguous intentions, the shaky alliances and every instance of mistrust.

I think the one scene that worked best...that made me realize this film was something special, was when Nanahara was hurt and made it to this lighthouse, taken care of by 6 girls. One of those girls doesn't like him and feel he's responsible for a friend's death. So she tries to poison him in a sneaky manner. However one of the other girls ends up dying. The group has been so cohesive and tight minutes before and this one death spirals out of control and sets off this massive blood bath minutes later that frankly gives us the inevitable realities of paranoia. A highly suspenseful and memorable scene, you could tell that it was Tarinto's favorite since he ripped off a couple of scenes from it. Anyway the ending was good although it leaves a few strands untied...but overall, the film totally works. Go find this excellent film now!.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale - No 14 - All Time List 2008, 14 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Once upon a time I was a University student without any interest in non English language Cinema, then I heard about Battle Royale on the university grapevine - I liked the sound of it so I went and got it from Virgin or whatever the DVD shop was in Stafford at the time, I could say it was a mistake because that venture alone has cost me thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours watching Asian cinema - this is where it started for me - sentimentality aside - this movie is fantastic in every sense - if it were not, would I be hooked to non-English language cinema like I am today? Who knows...

Battle Royale - a simple storyline 50 school kids on one Island, their mission, kill each other in a last boy/girl standing wins tournament. Intrigued by the sound of that? Read on. If it sounds repulsive, I'd look elsewhere and save yourself a few hours of your life.
However, Battle Royale is much more that mindless repulsive ultra-violence, comparisons of A Clockwork Orange are formed in the mind immediately with the sweeping operatic music which accompanies the roll-calls during the movie - it also, as you can imagine, does have some very violent, graphic and disturbing images throughout the movie. Kids killing each other literally with whatever they can lay their hands on be it a hatchet, a gun, a knife etc.
A modern day Lord of the flies as numerous reviewers' state, it could be.

What makes this film a yard ahead of most violent films (and a whole different ball game to slasher rubbish like Saw/Hostel) is that it focuses strongly on the moral side of the children's psyche, portraying their dilemma at the ridiculous situation that they have been put in. The film centrals on the characters and the range of responses to this - Some have very few qualms about slaughtering their classmates, some commit suicide with their loved ones, some go into denial, some scheme looking after themselves others form groups with friends.
This is a dark, brutal and violent film, not for the faint-hearted but is so well made and that it makes eminently compelling viewing and is nothing but highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read the novel first..., 11 Jun. 2007
By 
L. Stampton "0w3n" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
This film has to be one of the most profoundly shocking peices of cinema to come out of Japan, however, this is not a bad thing because the film itself deals with so many of the raw emotions people go though day after day, but in an alien evironment where things such as trust become a huge psychological issue.

When watching we naturally put ourselves in the characters various situations, ranging from good to bad. This is one of few films that is truely thought provoking, emotionally moving and at points draws upon our morbit curiousity of how certain characters will perish. And who will be the killer. Friend...foe? does it matter?

I could go on and on about how amazing this film is, and if anyone has ever given this film a bad view i'm certain that it's because they lack the ability to understand the films strong message (both political and emotive) behind the gripping narative and the very convincing acting.

The most important point is that you SHOULD read the novel first! The novel go into every possible detail about every character in the story, whereas the film missed out (or fails to develop) some characters story lines; which is a shame because all the students have very different thoughts and feelings and you grow to them all in very different ways in the noel and the manga.

All in all! amazing film that doesn't deserve all the bad press that it recieves!

worth every penny! After you've brought the book though :)
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