At the dawn of the new millennium, Japan is in a state of
near-collapse. Unemployment is at an all-time high, and violence
amongst the nation's youth is spiralling out of control. A
beleaguered and near-defeated government decides to introduce
a radical new measure: the Battle Royale Act. This Act decrees
that periodically a randomly chosen school class be taken
to a deserted island and forced to fight each other to the
death, the Act dictates that only one pupil be allowed to
survive the punishment...
of the Asia Extreme range from Tartan Video, Battle
a black comedy which pits friend against friend in a mass
fight to the death. Look around your workplace now and ask
yourself whether, if you had to, you would kill everyone around
you to ensure your own survival. Most of us would like to
think that we wouldn't but, once placed in an environment
where it's you or them, the fight for self-preservation soon
sets in. Paranoia is a powerful thing and, like the youngsters
depicted in this movie, the chances are you will be forced
to kill someone in self-defence.
Battle Royale act itself is an unfair one - because not every
class will be unruly and some pupils do want to learn.
Part of the charm of this movie is that we can relate to these
children. While hardly any of them voluntarily go to school,
they are not totally evil children. In fact, the majority
of the class want to stick together and ensure no one kills
anyone. The only problem with that is that at the end of the
battle there can be only one survivor.
pupil is given a bag which contains a map of the island, provisions
and a random weapon - which can be anything from a saucepan
lid to a machine gun. All
the pupils are electronically tagged with an explosive device
which is programmed to explode if tampered with or if the
pupils are in certain zones of the island at certain times
(information on these danger zones is broadcast on a PA system
across the island). If after three days there is more than
one pupil alive, all remaining contestants will be instantly
killed. The winner isn't really a winner because they will
have had to kill people they care about, and now have no friends
to speak of.
about every possible way of killing someone is explored -
from suicide to decapitation. The humour plays an important
role in the movie. Given a choice, almost all of the children
don't want to take part in this ridiculous charade. So asking
if your friend is "alright" when he is running around
with an axe in his head is pretty amusing - it's the sort
of thing you would say, and at the same time is a stupid question
are an impressive array of extras on the second disc, but
the only ones that are really worth giving your full attention
to are the two documentaries and the special effects comparison.
On the actually movie itself, there are an additional eight
minutes of footage and an extended ending.
be totally honest, the movie itself is worth the asking price
and the extras are just the icing on the cake. The DTS soundtrack
isn't really necessary (this film doesn't really warrant it,
and the 5.1 surround track is adequate) but it is great to
see that Tartan are releasing a number of DTS DVDs at present.
doesn't get much better than this. Along with The Matrix
and Akia, this is one movie that should be on everybody's
"must buy" list. And Tartan Video have ensured that
serious film collectors will not be disappointed.
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