Monday, August 17, 2009

#77 - Battle Royale

Baturo Rowaiaru (2000)
Only Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku. Written by: Kenta Fukasaku, based on the novel by Koushun Takami.

Plot: In the not too distant future, an entire high school class is sent to a small uninhabited island to participate in Battle Royale, a game in which all of them are handed weapons and told that the last person standing after seventy two hours gets to go home. What follows is a shocking festival of non-stop carnage as the teenagers shake off their inhibitions and kill the shit out of each other.

Review: Yet another film which probably doesn’t technically fall under the horror genre (rather, dystopian science fiction and action), but it’s a festival of non-stop carnage goddamnit. That’s what horror is about. Well, not really, but I think you follow my meaning.

I would hesitate to call this movie great - the writing isn’t especially good and the acting is sort of amateur (at least I thought so), but it makes up for it in enthusiasm. It is enthusiastically violent, which, in this case anyway, is a good thing.

It’s also a very interesting concept and (despite the slightly wanting script (which, admittedly, could have been just a bad translation. I can’t remember if I watched the dubbed version or the subtitled one but whatever it was it was sort of weird) and acting) is fairly well executed. Execute being the operative word.

I mean, the movie just basically kicks ass for two hours (with a few obnoxious character building detours), but is at the same time extremely disturbing. One of those movies that causes you to lie awake at night wondering what you would do in such a situation (being seventeen, I really can’t help but think these thoughts). I’m saying right now, I’d be fucked. Most of my friends could kick the living shit out of me, especially if they were armed.

Anyway, yeah. Horror or not, this movie is totally fucked. They keep trying to do similarly themed movies in America (The Condemned and the Death Race remake, which was pretty much a clone of The Condemned, a movie which did not need to be cloned), but no one can do seriously-fucked-in-the-head like the Japanese (I always attribute this to the fact that Japan was nuked all to hell in the war. That would fuck anybody up) and they should just stop trying.

There’s been an American remake of this movie in the works probably since this movie came out and no sign of them actually, you know, making it, so that’s good. Some things really don’t need to be remade (although if you really can’t come up with anything, this wouldn’t be the worst thing you could redo - the worst thing would have to be, like, Alf. Honestly). Yeah, this movie is deeply disturbed and alarming. Yay!

Favourite Part: It's hard to pick a 'favourite moment' seeing as when the movie wasn't horribly disturbing it was kinda depressing. There's this one character in it though, I don't know the name of the actress, but she was pretty good/scary. It was the sort of psychotic girl. I dunno why but I really liked her and was rooting for her the whole way. She was just a real hardcore bastard.

Other Versions: None as yet.

Sequels: There was a Battle Royale 2 made in 2003. You kind of have to wonder, though, what could really happen…

Click here to read my original review (July 3rd, 2008).

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