Battle Royale (2000)

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku
Produced by: Masao Sato, Masumi Okada
Teruo Kamaya, Tetsu Kayama
Screenplay by: Kenta Fukasaku
Based on: “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto
Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Takeshi Kitano
Released: December 16 2000

I first caught this cult Japanese teenage slaughter film, Battle Royale (2000) at a Film Festival Midnight Madness Event the year it was released. It’s essential the Japanese R-Rated version of The Hunger Games. But on a little bit of Heisenberg’s blue meth. It’s ultra-violent, bloody, and is considered one of Japan’s top films…ever !

Thirty unsuspecting teen students that think they are headed on a field trip, are gassed unconscious and abducted by the Government. They awaken in a strange location on remote island, and are fitted with an explosive collar that explodes if they go past the automation to an isolated location where they must battle each other to the death until only one has remained standing. This is some bizarre form of truancy control mandated by the Government after an incident in years prior that had 800,000 students simultaneous walk out of school. Every cycle, a random class is selected to compete. The group is given their instructions that they have just three days to kill each other until only one remains. If they do not comply then the explosive collars will kill any of the students that refuse co-operate. It becomes class rivals against each other, love interests pick up arms against one another, and some are just bloodthirsty enough to kill them all!

When the movie was released in 2000, it was wildly criticized by critics and other interest groups, and the movie was banned in several countries. But the film was also applauded by critics and audiences alike, and has also grown into a huge international fan film. Battle Royale (2000) is a great presentation of the man vs man — us vs them — man vs the elements horror dichotomy.


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