First things first, this is not a review of Godzilla if you didn’t already notice. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Kyle had to silently switch the film he swapped with me. So here we have Battle Royale, a film I’ve been meaning to watch for a long, long time. A controversial film involving kids murdering other kids, sounds a bit like a certain franchise that recently released it’s final installment not too long ago. Battle Royale definitely feels like it heavily influenced the Hunger Games. Although this is way more gruesome, violent and terrifying, honestly being one of the most violent films I’ve seen, more so due to the context than the overall brutality.
Battle Royale takes place in Japan and revolves around a middle school class room that has been chosen to participate in the Battle Royale, a new act that has been passed in order to help punish kids for not respecting their elders, which has become a major issue. Shuya Nanahara is a young boy who serves as the protagonist although this is a film that is more so a big ensemble with vast different characters but we ultimately spend the most time with Nanahara and Noriko Nanagawa, a girl who Nanahara swears to protect. From there on, it’s a fight for survival in the most brutal death match I’ve ever seen on film.
Like I said, this film is violent and pretty much all of it deals with children being slaughtered and killing each other. It is very sadistic but not in a bad way. The way these children react and deal with this situation really made me question what I’d do in this situation. There’s different reactions with each character and I liked that as opposed to each kid just becoming a murdering machine. Something else the movie captures is the teen aspect, having multiple characters face each other in the midst of normal high school drama with the added violent deathmatch scenario, making for a very unique tone. The tone was the most unique part of the film, having a very clockwork orange esque dark humor to it, mixed with the brutal ultra violence and I think it worked really well. I found myself chuckling more than I probably should and I think that’s due to the weird darkly comical tone sprinkled in the film that works wonderfully.
I thought all of the kids played their parts extremely well, the entire cast for that matter was 99% kids with the teacher, Kitano being wonderful with a likable but sadistic nature to him that was strangely relatable.
Battle Royale was a really violent, adult version of the Hunger Games that I found myself liking more so then said film. The unique tone, cast, ultra-violent and brutal action scenes and intriguing premise made for a really cool movie. This was a good ending to the Asian cinema theme of the month and while it wasn’t the first pick of Kyle’s, it was still a great choice.
Kyle’s Next Film:
The Room (2004)
Oh Kyle, today is my birthday. So, my present I’m giving myself is giving you one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever made. Nothing else needs to be said except enjoy.