I know I said I was not going to be blogging as much and this is my third this week, but it’s mostly because I have actually been home more and have less to say. The less you have to say, the more blog posts you do. The more you have to say, the more likely you are to get shot for having an opinion. Speaking of getting shot, here’s a review I wrote months ago that was supposed to be on some website that never existed and it’s about a movie where a lot of people shoot each other.
My Review of Battle Royale:
If you are anything like me, I don’t mean the manic depression, then you were a little upset with the 2012 hit film The Hunger Games. The film was pretty, had a good story, and it was long which means I got my money’s worth. The problem with The Hunger Games other than no one actually starved to death was that in a film about kids killing each other, things never got very gruesome. For those like me who were upset that many of the death scenes had cutaways, you are in luck because there is a much more violent film where The Hunger Games basically lifted its idea from and it’s called Battle Royale.
I have been a Battle Royale fan for years now. I even have an old faded shirt I got off eBay years ago. I wear it to bed now more than anything because when I do put it on I have self-esteem issues about my body. I think it makes me look fat. What are not fat are the kids in this movie. Except for one of them, but he doesn’t last very long which really bugged me because as racist as it may sound, I had some trouble telling the characters apart.
Battle Royale essentially is about a group of Japanese high school students who while on a field trip are gassed to the point where they pass out. When they wake up, they are in a classroom. I know I’m sounding nitpicky with one of my favorite films, but I want to point out it would have probably been cheaper if they just drove the bus to wherever they were going and had a few guys with guns push the kids into the classroom. Knock-out nerve gas has to be really expensive. I have never bought any, but it’s not exactly something we ever see for sale in a Walmart circular. I think it’s safe to say nerve gas is expensive and I would have kidnapped these children at a much cheaper cost.
A video is played that lets the children know they are on a remote island where they will have to fight each other to the death until only one is left. Sound familiar? It’s not. Battle Royale came out first and the book was published in 1999. The Hunger Games should sound familiar to you.
Questions are raised at this point as to why this is happening. As the case is with subtitled films, a lot may go overlooked because reading during a movie can be tiresome. These students are part of something called the BR Act which was passed after 800,000 students walked out of school without permission from their parents. Think of this as Ferris Bueller to the extreme with a lot more Japanese kids and machine guns.
In addition to the students in the class there are two other men in the room with them. These two men are former winners of the game. I never like games that when you win all you get is a chance to play again. Miniature golf does that. I also had a friend win a pie eating contest once and he won a pie. None of these prizes are fair, especially the one about having to kill more people after having killed all of your classmates.
Each student is given a bag at random. The bags contain helpful items like maps, swords, and guns or unhelpful things like a paper fan, a saucepan lid, or a copy of Battle Royale 2. I never saw Battle Royale 2. I heard it’s exactly like the first one so to me it sounds pretty useless.
The film follows these different students as they fight for survival. Some form alliances, others fend for themselves. Others choose to not fight which is ridiculous because if they don’t get down to one person before time expires, the collars on their necks will go off and decapitate them. Maybe that’s why they needed the knock-out gas after all. Kids hate when you put death collars on their necks. The only way you can do it is if they are knocked out. There goes my theory that I’m good at kidnapping children.
There are two main characters in the film, a male and a female. Their names are whatever the Japanese equivalent of Katniss and Peeta are. Their characters are not as deep as some of the side characters, some of whom are completely badass evil, but they work for what they are.
I originally fell in love with Battle Royale because of its ultraviolent images. This may indeed be the most violent film I have ever seen. It’s bloody, gory, and has good guys as well as bad ones. Where Battle Royale falls short I believe is that it is adapted from a very complex book. There are times I felt like important parts were skipped over too quickly and plot points were not fully explained. I had to do some reading on this film after viewing it which is actually a good thing because it means I liked the film enough where I wanted to learn more.
Although at times you may find yourself watching this film not quite sure why this is all happening, it can be enjoyed from a less complex perspective. Did you enjoy the Christopher Nolan Batman films? Those are incredibly complicated. The Dark Knight Rises spoiler alert: Remember how Bruce Wayne’s girlfriend, whatever her name is foreign girl, reveals why she turned on him? It made no sense at all. She spent all those years getting into a business that she knew would get her close to Bruce Wayne. She went to school all for the sake of getting to kill him. It’s like in The Naked Gun when bad guy points out he spent years doing a job he hated just so he could one day kill the queen. And what if the Bruce Wayne girlfriend lady was ugly? Bruce Wayne doesn’t date ugly chicks. So many little things had to be perfect for her to pull that off. It made no sense and still the film was enjoyable.
Battle Royale is not much different in that way. Watch it for what it is, something different and original with graphic scenes of high school kids killing each other.