Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
You know you’re watching an awesome movie when all you can think the entire time you’re watching it is, “God damn this movie is awesome.” Believe me, I realize how obvious of a statement that is, but really think about the last time you experienced that. It doesn’t happen very often does it? Certainly not as often as we would like to think. Well, if you’re looking for a movie that’ll get your juices flowing, “Battle Royale” is it.
I’ve heard a lot about this movie over the past few years and in the back of my mind I have always kept an eye open, trying to find it. I never have. Until recently that is, when I was at someone’s apartment and noticed a DVD copy of it on their shelf. (Yes, I browse the movie collection of every house I walk into. In my defense, how could I unfairly judge others if I didn’t?) I didn’t know these people nearly well enough to ask to borrow it, but I decided I had finally had enough with not seeing the movie and made a mental note to acquire it by other means… which means that I definitely did not download it… definitely not.
But this is not a story of how I came into possession of the film, it’s a story of how I reacted to it. And that reaction was, to say the least, visceral. What a fantastic film. What a hilarious film. What a violent film. “Battle Royale” really is everything you look for in the movies, all rolled into one package. At times it reminded me of the Japanese film that Kubrick never got to make (the soundtrack and wide shots specifically) and at other times it was almost as if Godard and the other Frenchy New Wavers decided to make an insanely violent but masterful film, and if you know me, then you know that Kubrick and New Wave are two of my favourite things about film in general, so “Battle Royale” was like a God send. Sure, it’s not perfect. There are many loopholes in the logic of the plot and at times it really doesn’t do a great job at making clear what is going on (*cough* New Wave *cough*) but all of those little thing are forgiven for two reasons… 1) This film is awesome and 2) Beat Takeshi. I didn’t realize that he was in this film, but am I ever glad he was. Nobody is as cool and hilarious as Beat Takeshi and nobody looks like they give less of a shit about acting. The man is a little Japanese genius. (Plug for “Fireworks” directed and starring Beat Takeshi, because that film is also awesome.) I realize that Japanese cinema is probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but trust me, you won’t regret watching this film.
What’s that, you want a plot synopsis? I hate doing those but for this film I’ll make a slight exception… “Battle Royale” is about high-schoolers taken to a deserted Island and told that the only way off the island is to kill or be killed. Yes, it’s that crazy and awesome. And once again, it has Beat Takeshi. ‘Nuff said.