THE PLOT THUS FAR
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Battle Royale” follows an unlucky class of ninth graders who are gassed into unconsciousness and kidnapped during what they think is a school trip. Upon waking, they are presented with the previously outlined situation and turned loose, one by one, onto the island. Since this is a do-or-die scenario, the kids take drastic measures; some become vicious predators while others, realizing that they are in no way cut out for this, commit suicide. Former members of the same clique betray their superficial bond and turn on their friends, formerly put-upon kids feel the power that a weapon grants them, and virtually no one can be trusted.
The three main protagonists are Shuya, Noriko, and Kawada all of whom are forced to rely on each other during the three-day hell. Since their fellow participants are armed with weapons that run the gamut from grenades to pump-action street sweeper shotguns, mercy is a thing that is best forgotten, and Shuya and Noriko clearly undergo sweeping changes by the end of the story.
Kinji Fukasaku was one of the most revered directors of Japanese movies. He directed over 60 movies in his lifetime of which Battle Royale was the last one, and while some have proposed that he had lost his touch over the years, BR proves otherwise. Fukasaku directs steadily without resorting into too many gimmicks of visual presentation and some scenes almost attain a film noir visuality. While certain moments are very Kubrick like, the movie is refreshingly different from the western style of movie making, and perhaps in the hands of a younger director the movie possibly couldn’t have made such valuable points that it now makes.
The Blu-Ray comes with a strong 7.1 DTS-HD master audio track. What hurts the presentation is that the 1080p transfer has this slight green tint during exterior daytime shots. It was present on the transfer on the Arrow disc, so I don’t know if Anchor Bay reused the material. Still, this disc is only for people that aren’t die-hard “Battle Royale” fans. The hardcore should buy the Complete Collection.
RELEASE DATE: 03/20/2012