Review this movie
Sep 14, 2016Battle Royale is a fine film. A compelling premise with clear influence on The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is a gruesome, action-packed film with some good takes on growing up, loss, and teenage love. That said, it is a film with chutzpah. Yes, I understand it kills teenagers for two hours in incredibly graphic ways, but it refuses to deviate too far from classic young adult material.Battle Royale is a fine film. A compelling premise with clear influence on The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is a gruesome, action-packed film with some good takes on growing up, loss, and teenage love. That said, it is a film with chutzpah. Yes, I understand it kills teenagers for two hours in incredibly graphic ways, but it refuses to deviate too far from classic young adult material.
Compared to The Hunger Games, Battle Royale blows it away. I really hate The Hunger Games films, simply because if a paper bag and Liam Hemsworth were the last two actors on Earth, the paper bag would still win every Oscar. Plus, the film's unwillingness to show the true nastiness of society is really too bad for me. That said, while I hate the hair in that film, I do appreciate the theatrical nature of it. It really makes it that much more screwed up. Really, this is what I wanted from Battle Royale. It hints at it, but it is all too hush hush. We see the impacts on the teenagers, but not on the adults. I assume their parents could not be too happy, right? Unfortunately, we never get to see this element. Instead, it is a classic film aimed at teens in which all adults are bad and not to be trusted because they let you down. In a film that preaches understanding of teens, it could not be less concerned about extending that same courtesy to adults.
This said, the ending is really my biggest complaint. I really want one of these films to ditch the romantic element. Instead, both this and the later Hunger Games decide that their two lovers will survive in a message that "love triumphs all". This may be heartwarming, but annoyingly cliche. I want brutality. I came to watch a movie in which teenagers slaughter each other for survival. Give me what I show up for. Ultimately, I want a film with chutzpah and guts. A film that will leave its two lovers for last and one of them kills the other. Or, even better, no romance and a protagonist that his entirely against the whole Battle Royale program, but eventually opts to begin killing. Thus, becoming a part of the system they fought against. Personally, I feel like that is a better film and has a far more hopeless feeling that I think these films really lack. In this one, the predictable ending that could have been written by Stephanie Meyer and right at home in Twilight is really too bad. How can you kill kids all movie and show so much pathos from other characters losing their crushes/significant others, but not follow through with the "protagonists"?
Battle Royale is certainly action-packed. With good action sequences, it is no surprise to me that everyone is a bag fan of this one. However, I am simply not a big action guy at all. Thus, most of the bullets just get ignored by me for the most part. That said, when the film really goes for hand-to-hand combat and does not have that one guy just spraying bullets everywhere (and missing everyone, but Nakahura, of course), then the action is really much more appreciated.
I know that thus far, the review has largely been me complaining, but I guess that is just because everyone else loves the movie and I came away largely mixed. I did love the setting, the lack of needless exposition, and the general premise of the film. I just wish it was better and that I liked it more, personally. Overall, Battle Royale is a film beloved by many and I can certainly identify the reasons as to why, but it is simply not up my alley apparently. As it stands, the film is slightly above average in my books and works as an entertaining action flick that has a lot to say about growing up, loss, and teenage love.… Expand
This one's a thoroughly campy exercise in teen melodrama and Grand Guignol gore (how gory? it's one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite movies), the other (The Hunger Games) a straight-faced action picture.
American fans of "The Hunger Games" may not embrace - or even be permitted to see - Battle Royale, which is too bad. It is in many ways a better movie and in any case a fascinating companion, drawn from a parallel cultural universe. It is a lot uglier and also, perversely, a lot more fun.
Departing from two decades' worth of domestic and personal dramas and returning to his roots as Japan's maestro of mayhem, Kinji Fukasaku has delivered a brutal punch to the collective solar plexus with one of his most outrageous and timely films.