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Filmreview - Battle Royale

En engelsk filmreview om den kontroversielle japanske filmen "Battle Royale"

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The title of the movie is ”Battle Royale” and it’s a Japanese action-movie. The story of the movie is based on the novel with the same name by the Japanese writer Koushun Takami.  The movie is directed by Kinji Fukasaku, who is a legendary filmmaker in Japan. The budget of the movie was about 4, 500, 000 American dollars, and the movie won the ”Best Editing” award, 2 ”Rookie of the Year” awards (Tatuya Fujiwara and Aki Maeda) and the ”Audience Popularity Price” at the 2001 Japanese Academy Awards.


Brief summary:

The movie is about a bizarre political resolution. The government is tired of the lack of discipline in public schools, and therefore they have made a resolution to scare students all over Japan. The government gas and kidnap a class of 42 students, and place them on an isolated island. When they wake up from their sleep (because of the gas) they all wear special metal collars around their necks. The class gets to know that they have 3 days to kill each other, every one will be equipped with different weapons. If the students don’t manage to kill every one in the class, until one person is left alive, the metal collars will explode and every one that participate in the “deathmatch” will die! This event is broadcasted on national television in Japan to scare all students. So basically 42 persons enter, one person leaves. Or the whole class dies!


Actors and their characters:

The main actors of Battle Royale are Tatsuya Fujiwara, as the student Shuya and Aki Maeda as Noriko (picture). Fujiwara gives a very nice performance as the confused Shuya, who has had a traumatic childhood. His mother abandoned him at young age and his

father committed suicide when he was a 15 years old. When they arrive at the island his best friend’s metal collar explode just to prove that the government is not kidding. He has a crush on Noriko but he doesn’t have the guts to tell it to her. We can see in the movie that Shuya is a real man, since he doesn’t want to kill his friends. Therefore he and Noriko decide to try to trick the government and escape from the island with their friends. Maeda was excellent as the troubled girl Noriko. The other girls always gave poor little Noriko a hard time, and she didn’t have many friends. Shuya was always nice to her, and eventually she fell in love with him, but she is even more shy than Shuya so he doesn’t know about it.


It’s no surprise that these young actors were awarded for the “Rookies of the Year”. They were perfectly suited for the roles. If it was up to me, they would’ve won an Oscar!



There aren’t so many special effects in the movie, but there are many incredible fighting scenes that often include various weapons. Also the violence in the movie is pretty extreme, if I had to compare “Battle Royale” to any other movie it would be “Kill Bill vol. 1”. The use of violence and blood is very alike if we compare the two movies.


The music in “Battle Royale” is emotionally charged, the only music found in the movie is old classic music. The music is mostly by Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi. This music was made for “Battle Royale”. I can’t imagine any other music that would fit so well to this movie!


The movie was followed by “Battle Royale 2: Requiem”. Fukasaku directed this movie too, but he died while making it, so his son took his place. The movie was a success.


My opinion:

This is one of my personal favorite movies of all time. Not just because of the violence, but for the moral questions too. Just imagine that you and your class were placed on a godforsaken island, and you had to kill your best friends or die. It’s just sick! In my opinion that must be one of the most twisted situations any person could get in.


You get sucked into the story and you just have to watch it over and over again! I highly recommend this film, but keep in mind: this movie is not for the easily frightened!

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