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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Battle Royale: Death To The Students!

Life is a game, it's a fight for survival...

Have you ever heard of the Millennium Education Reform Act? Let's hope you never have to!

As a former junior high school English teacher (an assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme) I was drawn to this... this movie called Battle Royale.

I watched it last night for the first time ever and would probably watch it again right now if I didn't feel the need to write down some words here for you all.

Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) is a 2000 Japanese flick directed by Fukasaku Kinji (surname first) that was based on a book of the same name written by his son Fukasaku Kenta.

This is one freakingly good gore movie. It has a plot, too. I'll give you some details without spoiling it all for you, okay? Okay!

It's just past the millennium, and Japan's economy has collapsed, with 15 percent unemploymemt and 10 million people out of work.

As such, 800,000 students decide to boycott school, figuring what the heck is the point of working their butts off to only become unemployed as an adult.

As such, the adults lose confidence in the youth of today, and fear them. Their solution? The Millennium Education Reform Act, aka the B.R. Act.

Let's just say that every year, out of 43,000 grade 9 (third-year junior high school) classes--not necessarily schools, but classes--one class is chosen at random via lottery.

In this movie, we see one class of 42 kids (21 boys and 21 girls) taken on a field trip, gassed while on the bus, and then deposited on an island evacuated for the purposes of the government.

On this 10 kilometer diameter island, the kids are informed that they have three days... three days for only one student to survive... that they must kill their own classmates or be killed themselves, in a battle royale. Wrestling fans will know of what I speak.

To ensure that everyone plays the game, each student has a neck device placed on them... that will explode should they stay in one place too long, or get stuck in an ever-tightening no-stay zone, or if there is more than one survivor at the end of the three-day event. Boom!

Of course, none of the kids have ever heard of this B.R. Act, but they do now... most only believing it after two of their own are killed in a show of force by the government agency.

Each student is allowed to bring whatever personal items they had in their backpacks, plus they get a survival kit that contains: food, water, a map, compass, flashlight and a weapon.

Each kit contains a different weapon, and it's not just the typical guns and knives, though they are there. Maybe you get lucky, and maybe you don't.

Here's a list of some of the weapons:
machine gun;
GPS (Global Position System) locator;
stun gun;
binoculars (really?);
samurai sword;
pick axe;
pot lid (again, really?);
nunchuks (aka nunchaku);

There are more... but let's just say my favourite weapon was a hand grenade stuck in the head of a decapitated kid. Nice.

Oh... of the 42 students, two are transfer students that none of the kids have ever met before... just to throw a monkey wrench further into the works.

So... the Game Begins at Day 1 1:40AM, and ends on Day 3 at 4:30AM. Personally, I would have started and ended it at times when school actually begins and ends, but I suppose some would call that too hokey... even for a slasher film involving junior high school students.

There... that's pretty much all I'm going to tell you... except that one of my favourite scenes in the movie was a junior high school girl gun fight.

But don't worry about these kids... all of their parents have been notified that they are in the Battle Royale, so it's cool...

It's Lord Of The Flies, with a wicked Japanese twist, and I love this movie.. but then again, I am a sick bastard.

Lastly... besides the content of the book and film being a tad controversial, the largest amount of criticism was heaped on the movie's director for actually daring to use actual 15-year-olds in the movie! Realism! I respect that!

Should you wish to view this movie, check the Foreign Movie section... god, no, not at Blockbuster!, but at a place where you can purchase movies... or you could try a torrent download site. Just do yourselves a favour and watch this flick!

I give Battle Royale 9.5 decapitated heads out of 10! I always leave room for improvement.

I have also heard that there might be a recently converted 3D version of this movie! That might make it 10 out of 10!

Also: Should you wish to check out a more recent blog I wrote comparing the Hunger Games, that is right HERE.

And... just so you know, I will provide a movie review here from time to time... it's just so difficult when I spend so much time writing for you all. Hee!

Keep reading! I have some real neat stuff planned that I am sure will either amuse you or fear me.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Andy, I'm so glad to hear someone else likes this movie as much as I did. I read the book around 2004/2005 and absolutely LOVED it! I told my dad about it and he got me the DVD the following Christmas. Excellent story and I highly recommend it.

  2. Thanks Jimbo! I appreciate the kudos... but dude, AJ or Andrew... never Andy... that's too cutesy... and I am not cutesy... at least not since last year of this time... then I suddenly became un-cutesy. Shhhh... I started going grey... Hee.

  3. They weren't all 15...
    The person who played Shuya was 18
    And Kwanda and Kiriyama were 26-27.

  4. Anonymous - you are indeed correct. I'll go and kill someone to atone for my past mistake. I'm not Japanese... I'm not committing harikiri!