All Time Classics: Battle Royale (2000)


Battle Royale
Cast:  Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Chiaki Kuriyama
Writers: Kousun Takami(Novel) Kenta Fukasaku
Director Kinji Fukasaku

For this review, I’m going to try my best and not make any comparisons to this and The Hunger Games trilogy.  The debates on wither that author ripped off  the novel or movie are irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.   To be fair, most audiences wouldn’t have any idea about BR even existing.  So it’s not at all  that surprising that the author of Katniss and her adventures would have the same problems in not knowing about these 42 students with collars  that explode.   I have covered Battle Royale vs The Hunger Games before for Impassioned Cinema and you can read that post below the pic.


In an alternate universe.  Parents are upset that kids are not giving them the respect they think they deserve.  So an act is created where each year a different class of kids are picked  to go to a deserted island and then forced to kill each other.  There are no rules except that there can only be one survivor at the end.  If not, then all of the collars they are attached with will explode and then no one wins.  In the book it explains that TheBR Act is more of a form of control then just having kids kill each other.  You could also maybe compare it to the draft when a major war starts too.  It also can be seen as a satire of moving from childhood to adulthood.  Many friendships end between the time you are a kid and where you are now.  You may have not killed anyone or have been killed yourself, but there is some pain.

battle-royale-3There are 42 students in this arena but our main characters are Shuya Nanahara(Tatsuya Fujiwara), his girlfriend Noriko Nakagawa(Aki Maeda), and Shogo Kawada(Taro Yamamoto).  A former participant of these games who agrees to help out these two characters.  As these characters try to survive we meet some of the other students and how they deal with the situation.   A few of them play to win and go on a killing rampage.  Others band together to hopefully stop the Government who are running the program.   The book goes into much greater detail of all the kids but for a 113 minute feature.  This one still manages  to give you a lot of character development in a very short scenes.   The scene where two players decide to take their own lives rather then play is well acted.  The moment when a girl shoots a guy who later reveals he was in love with her was good despite not knowing anything about them.    I also love the scene where the rules of Battle Royale are explained by a friendly woman on TV and of course the one where Chiaki Kuriyama(GoGo from “Kill Bill Vol 1“) stabs a dude in dick for attempting rape.   But the one that is just too awesome for words is the light house scene

You may say that the acting in that scene is over the top and a bit too over dramatic, but I love that it is that way. We have so little time to spend with these people that sometimes their emotions need to to be ramped up just enough so we can be invested in the story. Their emotions need to to be ramped up just enough so we can be invested in the story. The use of violence is used to great effect because some times it’s humorous and campy and while others it’s suspenseful and horrific.

battle-royale-instructional-videoWith all of the recent dystopian YA movies being released this year. I sometimes wonder why Battle Royale hasn’t gotten more exposure over the years. It has been seen by more people now then when it was first released and there were even talks about Americanized television series being made. The wave of school shootings that happened in the US may have also curbed people’s interest in this film. But don’t look at it as a gory horror film. Look at it like you would The Running Man, Death Race 2000, and Escape From New York. If you replaced these kids with adults. Would there still be an issue? Even without any social moral messages this film presents.  It still stands alone as a good action movie and one that will last for years to come.  Gathering new fans each year.

battle_royale_fr2I talked about this movie with other critics on an earlier episode of The LAMBcast 

LAMBcast #128 Battle Royale

Check out the other reviews set in by writers for that show as well

Listen to Alcohollywood’s most  recent episode on this movie.

The Making of Battle Royale:  A three part video that features interviews with the director and cast members

Check out the video review Alex Jowski of Geek Juice Media made about the sequel Battle Royale II and how it’s not as bad as others would tell you


About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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14 Responses to All Time Classics: Battle Royale (2000)

  1. emmakwall says:

    Great review Verny. I always love that video introduction as well, you can’t help but laugh at the perky girl giving the instructions!! And that crazy ending with the phone and the cookies and the painting!!! And I like the geeks 🙂

    I love Battle Royale 😀

  2. The Vern says:

    Thank you Emmy. I am working on your Versatile Blogger Award post and should have that up very soon

  3. table9mutant says:

    I don’t know why I’ve STILL not watched this movie… I so need to! Funny – I also just recently watched Escape From New York for the first time too… 🙂

  4. ReyShelley says:

    Great review! This still remains an oldie but goodie in my movie library. I too, love that scene where GoGo stabs that guy! This movie always makes me think about what would I do in this situation? Sadly, I would probably be one of the first few killed!

    • The Vern says:

      Rey, Thanks for reading my review Yeah if I was in that situation I would try my best and hide for most of it and wait til everyone else got picked off. I will check out your site later this week.

  5. Laura says:

    Great post. I love this film. It’s one of those that I wish more people would see. Unfortunately I think a lot of people are put of by subtitles, which is a shame.

    • The Vern says:

      Thank you Laura. I apologize if I havent been visiting your site recently, but I will. Yeah it irks me that a lot of people wont watch foreign flicks. My parents are one of them. No matter how good a film is, tey will avoid it if it has subtitles.

      • Laura says:

        Cheers Vern. I haven’t been around much lately and haven’t been posting but am going to try to get my act together!

  6. I’ve always taken fiendish delight in telling all my “straight” friends (non-horror oriented) that The Hunger Games isn’t quite as revolutionary and original as they probably think it is. Of course, I then point them toward Battle Royale. Sadly, I don’t think that has ever resulted in any of them actually watching Battle Royale.

    To be clear, I’ve enjoyed both of The Hunger Games movies I’ve seen – haven’t watched the third yet – and they’re certainly entertaining enough. It just really irked me when the first one came out and everyone acted as though the wheel had been re-invented. I’m just a grumpy old curmudgeon. I felt the same way about everyone raving about the “rules” conceit when Zombieland came out.

    …so you kids get off my lawn! LOL

    • The Vern says:

      Dude. I fully agree with you. I enjoyed Hunger Games quite a bit but for me they are the safe G rated version of this type of material. Yeah I will never get most people who enjoyed those to watch Battle Royale. That one is for true movie fans like you and me. Thanks for reading. I will be visiting your site soon. Just been really busy with work. thanks for commenting

  7. sweetarchive says:

    Oh man, I watched this film a long time ago and thought it was absolutely brilliant!! I love how you reviewed it. Awesomely written!! I remember Gogo being on that one and thought how COOL is she. Great film.

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