Japanese middle school student Shuya Nanahara copes with life after his father’s suicide. Meanwhile, schoolmate Noriko Nakagawa is the only student attending class 3-B. Their teacher, Kitano (Takeshi Kitano), resigns after being impulsively attacked by a student. One year later, class 3-B takes a field trip, but they are gassed, fitted with electronic collars, and sent to a “briefing room” on a remote island. Kitano explains that the class has been chosen to participate in the annual Battle Royale as a result of the BR Act, which was passed after 800,000 students walked out of school. A cheerful orientation video instructs the class they have three days to kill each other until only one remains. The explosive collars will kill any uncooperative students or those within daily “danger zones”. Kitano kills two students for misbehavior during the video. Each student is provided a bag of food and water, map of the island, compass, and a weapon ranging in efficiency from firearms to a paper fan. The program’s first six hours see twelve deaths, two by suicide. Mitsuko Souma and mute transfer student Kazuo Kiriyama soon become the most dangerous players, while another transfer student, Shogo Kawada, seems somewhat more merciful. Shinji Mimura plots to hack into the military’s computer system. Amid shifting loyalties and violent confrontations, Shuya promises to keep Noriko safe, because his friend secretly loved her. Will Shuya be able to protect Noriko and survive Battle Royale?

I have never been a major fan of asian movies and I reckon it´s due to the fact the way movies are made in Asia with a very theatrical foundation in the acting and the different or sharp sort of flow/structure compared to European or American films. What we get in “Battle Royale” is a version of “The Hunger Games”, but more violent, provocative, satiric and self-destructive in my opinion. The Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw gave the film four stars in September 2001, choosing it as the best film of the week. He praised Takeshi Kitano’s performance as the teacher and some of the scenes as “a stunningly proficient piece of action film-making, plunging us into a world of delirium and fear.” He notes that, among “the hail of bullets and the queasy gouts of blood, troubling narratives of yearning and sadness are played out. It is as if the violence of Battle Royale is not a satire of society at all, but simply a metaphor for the anguish of adolescent existence.”. It´s a bleak commentary on humanity and our society and the story is there. But, yet again “Battle Royale” didn´t convince me of it´s greatness due to overdriven and theatrical acting/performances despite the fact it was most certainly the intention, the black humour doesn´t fully work, and the violent scenes are partly CGI so it seems and not convincing either in my eyes. The violence becomes too comic and I would´ve preferred something much more “realistic” to achieve what I think would be the better solution for the film. If Kinji Fukasaku had found a better balance I would have bought the whole package and the t-shirt as well. (3 out of 5)

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