I had a nice quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon yesterday. Housework done, pot of coffee brewed, nice lunch eaten, slanket donned, it was the perfect time to sit down and watch a total bloodfest!
I love this film. I think I first saw it in about 2001/2, when it was supposedly banned (I have never confirmed that it actually was banned, so don’t quote me on that!)
The film was set in the very near future (2002, I believe) and the premise is that an economic downturn in Japan has thrown the country into turmoil. There is massive unemployment and the government is losing control, and the teenagers have rebelled. In an attempt to regain control over youth culture, the government have introduced the Battle Royale Act where a random class of students are whisked away to a deserted island, given weapons and made to fight til there is only one survivor.
Yes. It’s a blood fest, but it’s an amusing blood fest, and to be honest, the blood isn’t even very realistic 😀 I think I read somewhere that even though there was a huge amount of shooting going on, there were only two of the kids that were equipped with proper blood squibs – which shows how realistic it wasn’t!
Chigasu is one of my favourite characters, in her yellow tracksuit, which is quite fitting as she went on to star as the mental one in Kill Bill.
Youth culture is a huge thing in Japan. Everything seems so childish over there because it’s all aimed at the kids, and I think Battle Royale really highlights that. And amongst all the running, shooting, killing etc, the kids are going through stuff that kids go through – they have their cliques that turn on each other, they have the cute one that they all fancy, there’s the boy that’s never told one girl that he likes her etc.
I love the countdown as the kids are killed off. there is a message after each: “XX, boy #4 – 23 to go” etc. It really is quite tongue in cheek. Probably best highlighted by the training video that they are shown when they are first told what they are going to have to do (see below). And the guy who plays the teacher is fantastic – comic genius!
This film is definitely in my Top 10 favourites, but if you’ve never watched it before, you DO have to just go into it wanting to be entertained and just suspend the thought that it’s a bunch of teenagers killing each other off.
My rating 10/10