A warning: this review is about a movie that is drop dead gory. I mean... really bloody. If you are not into Japanese movies, just click close on your browser. This post is not for you.
This. Movie. ROCKS.
Welcome everybody, to the strange and demented world of high school. Try to remember your high school tales. All the different groups, the people that loved each other, the people that hated each other... The gossip. The teachers. The nerds. The jocks. The cool girls. The timid chicks. And, most of all... try to remember field trips. This last one is very important. Battle Royale is definitively, the field trip to hell.
This is the basic premise of the movie: society has changed a bit, and suddenly young people are a bit rebellious. They are not going to school. They don't behave or listen to grown ups. And, in a weird Japan way kind of life, the government has decided to deal with this issue in a... very strange way.
Take a whole class of troublemakers. Throw them on an Island. Give them weapons. They have three days to kill each other, until only one survives. The last kid goes home. That's it. What the fuck?, you might think. They cannot possibly kill each other! Um. Yes, they can. They will.
Hey, um, guys? This is a movie, ok? Not reality. So let's just play along and not go into a huge debate about violence in schools or young people. We are talking about fiction, so bear with me.
Anyway. This is not a kung fu deal, not by any means. This is just violence. But in a weird way, it's not your average gory movie. For example, Halloween is violent but in a useless way. It has no plot, no meaning. Battle Royale does.
I remember high school like a big soap opera. It had all the copy points of a great drama. I kind of liked mine, hey, but it was set in the 80's, the greatest years of all time. Great music and awful clothes surrounded us. But trust me, if I suddenly lived in Bizarro World and was given a weapon... I don't know if I was the first to say, hey, let's not fight at all. I would be like... Hm. I have to survive in order to get home, so... First on my list, skinny chicks who made my life miserable and wanted to steal my loving boyfriend. Where's the ammo, dammit?
People carry grudges, specially high school ones. And this is a well known fact. How many people do you see that buy expensive sports cars, get plastic surgery and botox or lose massive amounts of weight just to walk into their 10 or 15 year reunion? Lots. You want to look your best and want to give the impression that you are the king of the world when you get there. That, my friend, is a grudge.
For some strange reasons, most of all distribution rights and the fact that this violence is acted out by "teenagers" (they must be on 11th or 12th grade), the movie is very difficult to get. I guess they think that suddenly kids will start playing this game or something, I don't know. I bought my copy at Hot Topic, you can try there or any artsy fartsy art or comic store.
So. Are you at your video store and all that you can find is dog poo like Must Love Dogs? Try Battle Royale instead.