Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Battle Royale

Batoru Rowaiaru (2000)

Ranking: Yes
Trashiness: Somewhat Trashy

Set in the near future where entire classes of high school students are selected 'by impartial lottery' and sent to an island to compete in a sick game known as Battle Royale. They are each given a weapon (selected at random - some people get good stuff (i.e., a gun) some people get crappy stuff (a pot lid)) and told that the last person standing gets to go home. Each kid is fitted with a collar and if there is no winner after three days, the collars all explode.

And holy shit is it fucked up, really going into everything that's scary about young punks in this world today. The acting and possibly the writing (or maybe just the translation) weren't always great, but I did feel they did a pretty good job of showing exactly what would happen in such a situation. When a bunch of teenagers are put on an island and told to kill one another. Everything gets blown totally out of control.

It's kind of a 'what would you do?' movie in a way. What would you do? I spent a lot of time thinking about this movie. It disturbed me, man.

It was so frigging intense, too. And violent! Holy shit. Genuinely shocking film. I thought it was really well done although sometimes a little bit hard to watch.

I'm surprised they haven't remade it in America yet. Of course, there are lots of similarly themed films, most recently The Condemned, which was a real piece of trash. This film wasn't that trashy. It wasn't classy by any means, but it has style. The characters were more interesting, the situation more compelling. Even the 'evil' and/or 'crazy' people had real lives and actual problems as opposed to just being evil 'because they are'.

I dunno. It was good. It was a scary idea and very well executed. And though they haven't done a straight up American remake yet, I'm sure they'll get around to it (actually, I just checked IMDb, and there's a remake scheduled for '08, so there we go).


Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku. Written by: Kenta Fukasaku based on the novel by Koushun Takami. Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Beat Takeshi, Taro Yamamoto, Kou Shibisaki, Masanobu Ando.

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