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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could you kill your best friend?
From what I'd heard prior to watching this film, I had expected little more than a couple of hours blood-letting and dismemberment. But I was pleasantly surprised upon watching Battle Royale.
The idea of the film is simple, if not slightly cliché. It's set in the near future of Japan and an age of rebellion has begun. School children everywhere are ditching...
Published on 24 Oct 2004 by M. Magowan

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 4 days 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
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian view of near future Japanese youth likely to shock as much as make you think, 18 Nov 2010
AK (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] (DVD)
Battle Royale is first and foremost a movie that is likely to provoke a hate reaction in at least a fraction of the viewers. People who were disturbed by something like Festen: 10th Year Anniversary Edition [DVD] [1998], Gozu [DVD] [2003] or Oldboy [DVD] [2003] might better skip BR, too. There is a reasonable amount of graphic violence, the prospects for a satisfying ending are grim at best, and the main premise is disturbing. However you will probably be doing yourself a disservice by not seeing it (if you can stomach violence, that is).

The movie shows a somewhat dystopian Japanese near future, where the teenagers increasingly turn into out of control little monsters. The heavy handed adult response is the Battle Royale act - packing off a randomly selected class of students onto a remote and deserted island, with the basic rule being that only one will leave the island alive after three days. The premise is chilling and will have you struggling with the implications and with what you would do in a similar situation. Again this probably only works if you are capable of suspending disbelief and placing yourself into such a position in the first place.

The reactions are of course mixed, as the different students of course have very different psychological make-ups and personal histories - you will get everything from mutual suicide, to gleeful sociopaths who revell in the revenge and killing, to people fighting for survival, not yet aware of the psychological consequences of their actions. In that sense I find the movie very well done, probably on a similar plane to Das Experiment [DVD] [2001].

The actors and some of their motives are definitely realistic, as is their range of reactions to the killing (certainly on another plane than boycotting a class or slapping / cutting a teacher). The protagonists are also fairly convincing teenagers with the gripes and angsts of the age, and not actors in their late 20s, as could be expected in a more Hollywood style production. Some scenes, such as the hyper presenter, asking for attacking the task at hand with 'gusto' at the start of the film or the shooting in the lighthouse are likely to become classics in their own right.

Some have compared this to a more modern, Japanese version of A Clockwork Orange [1972] [DVD] and while some comparisons can definitely be made between the two on the surface, I find that BR does not go quite as far as the latter; also it is much more focused on the 'what would you do in the situation' than the societal effects of teenage anarchy and the repression thereoff. I would certainly put it closer to something like Audition (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2001] for both effect, concepts and some of the execution.

Apart from the somewhat poor picture quality, the only potential gripe is the ending, which is less of a 'bang' and more of a potential intro for a sequel.
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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
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) 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Japanese cinema, 29 Mar 2004
Many people have refered to this as a "Japanese 'A Clockwork Orange'", and in many ways they would be right. Although the story lines are completely different, they both have caused outrage at the level of violence in them both. However, those who complain at the level of violence have missed the point in both films. Like 'A Clockwork Orange', the real matter of the film is the social standing of those involved and the way society treats them. Many children in this film form factions; some to rob others of their belongings, some to hack into the controls of those running the 'game', some to attempt to create negotiations and some to heal any wounded they find. Others attempt to wage a one-man-war.
This is a facinating look at the creation of bonds between those caught up in the 'game' and all performances are believable. The only slight annoyance is that everyone seems to have a crush on someone which influences their actions in the 'game'. The violence is used to show the extremety of the situation and, on one occasion, the discipline the authorities are prepared to resort to in order to maintain control.
One reviewer refers to this as a zombie film. I can only assume they have never seen the film as there is nothing about the undead in any way, shape or form. You will notice that nobody has rated that review as useful so please disregard it.
This is, make no mistake, one of the best films Japan has produced, which makes it one of the best in the world. Those who approach it as a non-stop film of violence will be as disappointed as they were with 'A Clockwork Orange'. However, if you approach the film as one about formation of society(political factions with different goals and the evils of government), then chances are you will be incredibly impressed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COULD YOU KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND???, 7 April 2003
Adrian Sands (Ireland UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
The First time i saw the opening few minutes of this DVD i knew I was in for a treat!! The In-your-Face image of a little girl, with her clothes soaked with blood - Holding a Rag doll, is not only Shocking to some but gives off an idea of what you are letting yourself in for - a class of 42 Schoolkids taken from a corrupt society to fight each other to the death (with a sometimes bizarre array of weapons) til there is only one survivor. From The Violent-in-parts Class briefing from a teacher with Zero tolerance, to the very last flame engulfed battle, this is a Rollercoaster ride of fast moving action and suspense, and shows an indescriminate darker side to human instinct.
The Film starts with no lead or central character(s), which means you have to concentrate to be able to know who is who - but the film does take pity on the less well armed and characters become more centralised as the film goes on... Some of the scenes, are genuinely shocking and Gory and NOT for the faint hearted.
I found this movie Very enjoyable, and would have no problem Giving it Top marks...
Although One or 2 Minor Flaws i noticed - in a few of the death scenes (Yes! there are a 'Few') the dying folk liked to say stuff and sometimes do strange things, then just 'die', - this was really obvious in the Latter half.
Also for a film that starts off Ultra Hard, it lets itself soften a bit towards the end.
Apart from that, Overall an Exciting, Violent and sometimes breathtaking experience..
I'm Gonna go watch it again!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars School's Out, 14 Dec 2001
The only word that can be used to describe this film is 'breathtaking' the film is about a group of school children that are chosen in an impartial lottery to be sent to an island where they must fight each other to the death, the last one alive wins. They are each given weapons, ranging from an uzi to a pot lid.
The whole film is a joy to watch from start to finish and features many cool set pieces, one of the best involving an exploding necklace and lots and lots of blood. The film isn't just about violence though, it does deal with how each group of children respond to their situation, some are willing to kill themselves rather than kill their school mates, and others are quite happy to run around blowing away friends and enemies alike.
This film is definitley not for the faint hearted but i implore you to check it out.
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