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"Battle Royale" (2000) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #56 Gem Mint 10.0

“Battle Royale“ aka "Batoru rowairau" (2000)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Writer: Koushun Takami (novel), Kenta Fukasaku (screenplay)

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sôsuke Takaoka, Takashi Tsukamoto

Rated: Not Rated but I'd say a hard R for strong violence & gore, sex & nudity, language, drugs & smoking, and frightening images

Runtime: 1h 54min

Genre: Action, Thriller, Horror, Science Fiction

Country/Language: Japan/Japanese (personal choice; I always pick original language w/subtitles over dub)

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.

You might like this if you like: Japanese cinema, Japan, science fiction, "The Hunger Games" franchise, horror, action, thrillers, survival movies, f*cked up movies, Japanese anime, dark comedy

"Battle Royale" (2000)

A truly amazing bloodbath of cinema.. The R-Rated "Hunger Games". I’ve seen this film a few times and shown it to many over the years. It’s a huge crowd pleaser and feels like a perfect midnight movie to watch at a drive-in. I would totally show this if I had a theater.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Japanese cinema, anime and Quentin Tarantino. So when he put this in one of his favorites list years ago I had to check it out. After that I flew through Kinji Fukasaku’s work and consumed everything in my path. He’s probably my favorite Japanese director.

Chiaki Kuriyama in "Battle Royale" (2000)

If you love horror it’s a great homage to the genre especially Japanese anime horror. It’s definitely a niche and I don’t expect everyone to be into this movie let alone type of.

It’s a total “what would you do” type of movie and almost feels like a game when you sit down to watch with friends. Almost betting on who’s gonna lose or live. It’s strange but I guess it’s a similar feeling you get watching “The Hunger Games” (2012-2015).

Tatsuya Fujiwara (left) & Aki Maeda (right) in "Battle Royale" (2000)

I wasn’t familiar with most of the cast but I did know Chiaki Kuriyama from “Kill Bill” (2003-2004) as she’s literally playing the same character, Tarantino essentially continuing the universe of “Battle Royale” (2000). Takeshi Kitano as the main antagonist is fantastic. He was a standout for me. All the kids were great I’m just so caught up in the survival and ensemble of it all that I wasn’t too focused on one student like I am say in “The Hunger Games” with Katniss Everdeen.

"Battle Royale" (2000)

There’s a ton of fun moments in this movie so if you’re into the horror, if you’re into the idea of a R-Rated “Hunger Games”, into Japanese cinema, Japanese anime (I think all anime is Japanese but I just like to add it to extra represent), you will love the sh*t out of this movie! Watch it with some friends! It’s a bloody fun time!

Written by Sam Gall on 09/26/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"This savage social satire revels in the brutality and gore and plays it for dark comedy and gallows humor, a teen melodrama gone feral as cliques fall apart under fire and young love is literally under the gun." - Sean Axmaker, Stream on Demand

"Before The Hunger Games there was Battle Royale. The bloody spectacle of Japanese schoolchildren being forced into a sadistic game of "last man standing" packs an emotional wallop." - Maltland McDonagh, Film Journal International

"A gloriously entertaining ride, provided you have a taste for dark material and don't mind the occasional poke in the ribs." - Rob Vaux,

"Battle Royale's dystopia reflects a hyper-tech Japan still deeply concerned with social cohesion and the value-gaps between the generations. It's the disturbingly dark social frame, not its bloody canvas, that makes this a battle worth watching." - Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Alberta)

"The last half hour is the most successful, a final interlude of generational warfare, then radical anonymous freedom." - A.S. Hamrah, The Baffler

"Battle Royale is above all a high-concept, action black comedy. Beat Takeshi's performance as Teacher Kitano is one for the record books..." - Ed Travis, Hollywood Jesus

Official Trailer:

2nd Trailer (also amazing):

Available on various VOD platforms

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