Monday, March 19, 2012

Battle Royale (DVD review)

Forty-two students, three days, one deserted Island: welcome to Battle Royale. A group of ninth-grade students from a Japanese high school have been forced by legislation to compete in a Battle Royale. The students are each given a bag with a randomly selected weapon and a few rations of food and water and sent off to kill each other in a no-holds-barred (with a few minor rules) game to the death, which means that the students have three days to kill each other until one survives--or they all die. The movie focuses on a few of the students and how they cope. Some decide to play the game like the psychotic Kiriyama or the sexual Mistuko, while others like the heroes of the movie--Shuya, Noriko, and Kawada--are trying to find a way to get off the Island without violence. However, as the numbers dwell down lower and lower on an hourly basis, is there any way for Shuya and her classmates to survive?

Normally I'm not one to watch subtitled movies, but a co-worker told me that I had to see this movie after I started reading The Hunger Games last week. He mentioned that there are some circles that think Suzanne Collins stole the idea for her book series from Koushun Takami who wrote the book that this film was based on. I can see that, and there will be a blog later in the week dealing with just that.

As I said above, I'm not normally one to watch subtitled films, but this one was riveting, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I wish that it would have been slightly better explained where the Battle Royale act came from, and also why, other than getting stabbed by a student that the teacher Kitano would turn into the violent blood thirsty man that he had become. Maybe both of these are explained better in the book, but really those are my only complaints against the film.

While the sets weren't the greatest, it fit well within the story telling. The more and more of the big blockbuster films I see, the less I like movies with a lot of CGI in them. This film either had no CGI, or so little that it wasn't noticeable. I like when the blood and explosions and the like on the set are really done with stunts, rather than CGI, it gives an added sense of realism to the experience.

The film runs nearly two hours, but you don't find yourself watching the clock as it doesn't drag at all, the action and story keep moving at a fast pace to where you don't realize that you've invested so much time into the movie until you glance at a clock afterward.

I can't give a proper review of the special features because the copy of the movie I had was procured at a comic convention as no American distributor was ever found for the film. It's sad in the sense that the American audience would love this movie. Hopefully with the comparisons to The Hunger Games bringing this film back into the spotlight it may get a US release complete with an English dub of the film. I'd be first in line to buy a copy of the disc.

No comments:

Post a Comment