BATTLE ROYALE

​     This controversial 2000 Japanese film retains so much of it's punch, it could easily be a contemporary release. Which for many it will be, considering North American distribution has always been severely limited since it's release coincidentally followed the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The idea of a film where 9th grade high school students fight to the death was a little unsettling to some after the Columbine events where 12 students and 1 teacher at the Colorado school were killed (21 others injured) by a couple of fellow students.​ 

  The comparisons are minimal at best.

  In Battle Royale classmates are sent to an island with scarce provisions and one random weapon each to see who survives. Against this background even the most innocent Japanese schoolgirl transforms into a coldhearted killer of her closest friends.  How the students dispose of each other is always different and always quite inventive. Flashbacks make the killings all the more uncomfortable when we see how close these young people were before being drafted into this sick game. As an extra kicker, students who refuse to participate are simply exploded via a tracking device all are forced to wear around their necks.

  The new "Complete Collection" is the near definitive  set of all things Battle Royale. Included in this 4 DVD anthology (also available on Blu-Ray for the first time ever) is the Director's Cut, the original Japanese theatrical cut, the slicker and far bloodier 2003 sequel Battle Royale II and a battalion of bonus material on the fourth disc. The extra stuff includes original trailers and documentories on the making of these groundbreaking films. Some of the material on the 2005 Korean 3 DVD boxed set is not included here but there's enough to satisfy anyone's thirst for more info about Battle Royale.

 

Robert Lawson 2012