#102: Battle Royale

These exams are bloody hard!
These exams are bloody hard!

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Year: 2000
Genre: Action/Thriller

Since the release of The Hunger Games films Battle Royale has fought its way back into the public consciousness. The latter is a Japanese film released in the year 2000 based on a novel of the same name. These two franchises, The Hunger Games and Battle Royal, have been compared due to the fact that they share the concept of teenagers being forced to kill each other in controlled environments. Where The Hunger Games focuses as much on the revolution outside of the televised battle ground as it does the carnage within, Battle Royale never leaves the fighting ring and isn’t concerned with much more than high school pressures and violence.

If you’re looking for an epic story with heaps of character development maybe you should just stick with The Hunger Games, which is more than a decent franchise, but if you’re partial to lots of graphic on-screen violence and are looking for something a little more thematically challenging then get your hands dirty with Battle Royale.

Set in a near future where high school students are forced to kill each other on an isolated island until one sole survivor remains, Battle Royale is a vicious examination of the severe high school pressures in Japan and our obsession with reality game shows. What would you do to survive? Could you turn on your friends? Or will you sacrifice yourself so that you don’t have to do the unspeakable?

Whilst this film raises a variety of issues it is, none-the-less, 2 hours of high school kids trying to kill each other with a random assortment of weapons. Due to such subject matter it’s clear that Battle Royale’s target audience is rather niche but if your stomach’s churning from a chunky blood lust and you’re yet to see this modern classic then strap an explosive collar around your neck and hope that you can kill all of your classmates before it goes off!

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