Posts Tagged ‘Battle Royale’

Battle Royale – An Unconventional Action Film

Posted 19 Sep 2010 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Corey Birkhofer

Battle Royale, Japan, 2000

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

battle royaleFrom a spectators stance, I would classify Battle Royale as an action film. But the way director Kinji Fukasaku breaks the conventions of the action genre leads me to define it as mixed-genre. By obeying certain conventions but totally disregarding others, Fukasaku presents an action movie, a tragic drama, and a pseudo-post-apocalyptic film. To start off, the film earns its setting in an alternate future Japan where unemployment, student dropout rate and crime are all at an unprecedented high. To remedy this economic nightmare, Japan’s government instates what is called the Battle Royale Reform Act. Fully backed by the government, the reform act seeks to filter out Japan’s younger, unruly generation by forcing random classes of ninth-graders to take part in an annual competition. For our main character we have not one person, but rather fifty ninth-grade Japanese students randomly picked that year to take part in the Battle Royale competition. Under the impression that they are on a simple field trip, the students are gassed to sleep while on their bus and flown to a deserted tropical island, waking to realize they will be forced to take part in the annual game.

In the game students have one goal: to win and be re-granted Japanese citizenship. To create some sense of order and keep students from refusing to participate, there looms a military presence, but most importantly, instead of banding together to protest the students have no choice but to follow the last rule of the game. And the main rule of winning Battle Royale is you must be the last student living on the island. Upon watching an informational tape hosted by an anime-esque broadcast girl, students learn they each get a survival pack and random weapon. Some students get fully automatic machine guns while others get GPS locators or kitchen utensils. Regardless what each student gets, all are equal in the fact that every one of them has a collar around their neck. This collar, if tampered with, will explode if they try to swim from the island, or if they are in certain places at certain times announced by an island-wide intercom system. Which leads me to yet another essential component of Battle Royale, as it broadcasts every few hours the current updates on which students have been killed. Read More