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Battle Royale: The Complete Collection
03.29.2012 By: Chris Bumbray
Battle Royale: The Complete Collection order
Director:
Kinji Fukasaku

Actors:
Beat Takeshi
Chiaki Kuriyama

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A class of unruly teenagers are chosen by the Japanese government to fight to the death on a remote island in a tournament called BATTLE ROYALE. Each student is given a weapon, and only one will be allowed to leave the island alive. At first, most groups of friends ally themselves with each other, but as the grim reality of their situation sets in, kids start turning on kids. Complicating matters is the arrival of two former winners of BATTLE ROYALE, one who is dangerously unbalanced and looking to win again.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Its crazy how much can change in just over ten years. Upon its initial release in 2000, BATTLE ROYALE was wildly controversial. Despite near unanimous acclaim, including the championing of the film by Quentin Tarantino, BATTLE ROYALE never got an official North American release. In a sense, it was banned- most likely due to the lingering wounds of the Columbine Massacre, with the idea of kids killing kids hitting a little too close to home.

My how the times have changedÖ

Now that the oddly similar THE HUNGER GAMES is tearing up the box office, the time has finally come for BATTLE ROYALE to get an official North American release from Anchor Bay. Despite its lack of commercial availability, BATTEL ROYALE has still garnered a huge cult following in North America. I saw it on an imported VCD about ten years ago, and since then itís been freely traded on the net. However, itís never been available in as sharp a form as it is here, with Blu-ray being the perfect way to rediscover this chaotic, subversive classic.

I really love BATTLE ROYALE. It works on all kinds of levels. Itís a brilliant social critique, not only of Japan, but also of our own western values, with it correctly predicting the devotion to shitty, morally bankrupt reality TV. It feels like the work of a young man, but BATTLE ROYALE was actually the final film to come from renowned Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, who was seventy nine when this was filmed. The characters are exceedingly likable, and the tragedy of the competition is not ignored. The bad guys are a lot more three-dimensional here than the ones in HUNGER GAMES, with Beat Takeshiís burnt-out teacher, turned blood-crazed maniac being a real standout. I also liked the BATTLE ROYALE veterans, with the good one sporting a cool, Christopher Walken-circa THE DEER HUNTER head-sash, covering a horrific scar he got in his first go round. I should also mention that the action is absolutely hardcore, and brilliantly directed, with all manner of carnage coming out here. Thereís stabbings, beatings, and gunfights galore- including a classic shootout, where a roomful of cheerful, bubbly teenage girls all of a sudden get gripped by paranoia and start killing each other.

The inevitable sequel is not quite as successful, with it being little more than a curio or companion piece. Running well-over two hours, it was a quick cash-in (Fukasakuís son directed it after his father passed) but BATTLE ROYALE was a one-off, although itís nice than Anchor Bay included it here.
THE EXTRAS
BATTLE ROYALE makes its American debut packed to the brim with extras. First- BATTLE ROYALE is presented in both the theatrical version , and the directorís cut . A comprehensive making of documentary, running just under an hour is provided, and provides an intriguing insight into the series. The rest of the extras consist mainly of featurettes ported from the Japanese DVDs, including auditions, raw footage, and more. Finally, thereís the trailer and a TV spot with testimony from Tarantino.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
BATTLE ROYALE is an absolute must-have. Iím most interested to hear what teen devotees of THE HUNGER GAMES, whoíve never heard of this, would think of it. I was about 20 when I saw it, and it blew my mind. If you havenít seen it yet- get ready.
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3:29AM on 03/29/2012
I also saw Battle Royale back when I was 20. I'd say it was a fun but in a sadistic type of way. To me, Beat Takeshi easily stole every scene from the other sub-par teen actors. The teenage characters and there overall development was ultimately Battle Royale's downfall as you did not care for any of them before they met there demise. I cared less about seeing any of their heads rolls and that's what I got in return for entertainment. Again, it was a fun movie. I will say I am a fan of
I also saw Battle Royale back when I was 20. I'd say it was a fun but in a sadistic type of way. To me, Beat Takeshi easily stole every scene from the other sub-par teen actors. The teenage characters and there overall development was ultimately Battle Royale's downfall as you did not care for any of them before they met there demise. I cared less about seeing any of their heads rolls and that's what I got in return for entertainment. Again, it was a fun movie. I will say I am a fan of "Hunger Games" books. Read all three installments a few weeks ago. Let it be known that I am not a psycho fan as I really don't care all that much about seeing the movie. Its not hard to miss all the comments written by Die Hard Battle Royale fans ranting and raving that the Hunger Games ripped off Battle Royale. Let it be known that this particular concept is not and has not been an original for a long time. I would say that both author's borrowed the main concept from the short story "The Lottery". That being said brings me to my comparison of Hunger Games and Battle Royale. In my opinion the world (Panem) and character development in the Hunger Games made it much more intriguing than the one I read and watched in Battle Royale. But I have to say I am comparing a book to a movie. If only the Hunger Games movie lived up to the violence in the book. It could of been appreciated by the Battle Royale fans.
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5:30PM on 03/31/2012
Well said. :)
Well said. :)
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