I had a free day. I watched this film. Was it a battle to get through or was it as satisfying as a royale with cheese? I should be killed for trying that hard. Onward with the review.
The three key points to this film are the acting, the action, and the concept.
I haven’t seen many films that aren’t American or British productions, and so if I sound culturally ignorant, excuse me. Given that this film is in Japanese, a lot of the acting, for me, was expressed through body language. These actors were very animated in their movements and emotions. Even in a death match where characters are killed left and right, you still get a strong whiff of personality from many of the kids. Their performances were right on and believable.
The teacher is badass. One of the most badass characters put to screen.
The action in this film is relentless and well done. The skirmishes are very interestingly put together and well thought out. Many of the kills are intriguing. What makes the action engaging is that the characters are portrayed as being extremely hysterical and panicked. You can see and feel how afraid they are. Realistically, the kids wouldn’t be able to think straight, and their fear makes the film feel grounded in reality.
The concept of Battle Royale was chilling and well executed. A class of 9th graders are taken and forced to fight to the death. Their time limit is 3 days. If more than one person is left standing, the collars around each student’s neck will explode. That means that close friends need to kill to survive. Camping it out is not an option. Murder is inevitable, whether you are on the giving or receiving end of it. There was more battle than camping, which is part of the reason why many were underwhelmed by the Hunger Games.
Don’t snap at me for comparing the film to the Hunger Games. Their core concept is similar and so references are fair game.
Over all, Battle Royale was a strong T-Bone. The ending was exactly what I would call Japanese but it’s probably normal to the Asian peoples, so it’s not a huge gripe. If you are interested in the concept of Battle Royale, don’t let the fact that it’s in Japanese to turn you off. It’s a very entertaining film.