Battle Royal

Release Date: 12/16/2000 – Rated R

Plot Summary: In a near-future Japan, the adults have become fed up with the country’s youth.  Their lack of respect and a lack of desire for education has led the government to create the Battle Royal Act.  This act says that each year a class of 9th grade students will be selected at random and forced to battle to the death in a macabre reality show.  No students actually think this is real, and believe it is all just staged by the government in an attempt to keep them all in check.  A class soon finds out that it is very real indeed after being drugged on a class trip and waking up on a deserted island.

As they sit terrified in a classroom, their former 7th grade teacher explains why they are here, the rules they must now live by and what they have to do, if they want to get off the island.  This contest will last for three days, each student will be given a pack with rations, a map and some form of a weapon… and it is either kill or be killed.  The last one alive after the three days wins their freedom.  If that wasn’t bad enough, every few hours an area of the island becomes a ‘hot zome’ where it is closed off to the kids, and anyone caught in that area is killed by the monitoring collar they have all been forced to wear.  As more of the youths are pushed into a smaller and smaller area, tensions rise.  There are groups of students who do not wish to fight and have banded together for safety in numbers, students who only want to win and will kill anyone in their way, and there are those who just can’t handle the pressure and begin taking their own lives.  Who will have the courage to do what is right, and who will kill for a chance to return to a normal life?

Alex’s Thoughts:  As disturbing as this movie sounds, I did like it.  For each of the main kids, there was a small flashback scene to show you what their intentions were for the most part, which helped me to identify with them.  You find yourself rooting for certain kids to make it out alive, knowing that most if them will probably die at the end anyway.  It is a very cruel movie, but also exemplifies some of the brighter sides of the human spirit.

Tim’s Thoughts: I am still confused by the end/beginning of this movie, but all and all it’s pretty good. An ultraviolent Lord of the Flies, with piggy dieing right away, and the evilest kid is only that way because of her screwed up childhood, that’s if you don’t count the one that looks like an anime character.

Final Thoughts:  This is sort of a Lord of the Flies meets The Running Man mash-up.  At times it is hard to watch, as teenagers are killing each other, but it also has a lot of redeeming qualities – especially if you like your sub-titles in broken English and misspelled.

Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim Rates This Movie 8/10

“You just have to fight for yourself. That’s just life… ”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue