Battle Royale (2000) Blind Spot Review

Battle Royale (2000)
Batoru Rowaiaruis
Japanese: バトル・ロワイアル

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

Based on Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Takeshi Kitano

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

My Opinion:

Here’s a quick list of links to my 2016 Blind Spot Reviews so far, including where I’d rank Battle Royale:

7. An Education – 7/10
6. Summer Wars – 7/10
5. True Romance – 7/10
4. THX 1138 – 7.5/10
3. Play Misty For Me – 7.5/10
2. Battle Royale – 8/10
1. Natural Born Killers – 8/10

I put Battle Royale on my Blind Spot list as I really have wanted to see it for years. I put it off mainly because I’m kind of a wuss with violence so I was waiting for a time when the hubby could watch it with me (Thanks for finally watching this with me, dude!). I didn’t have to annoy him by asking him what was happening, though. It was of course violent but not “gross” – I was able to watch all of it. However, I think I’d hyped it up too much in my mind all these years as I’m sad to say that I was a bit disappointed with the movie overall.

Now, calm down Battle Royale lovers! I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed it quite a bit & I think it’s one that might go up in my estimation once my initial disappointment has worn off. I’ve not read the book so I don’t know how faithful the movie is but I was surprised to find that it was far more shallow than I’d always imagined it must be. Maybe the book is a bit deeper & more of a social commentary? Has anyone here read the book? I have to say that I’m definitely now interested in checking it out to see how it differs as I did really like the story & characters.

I can see why Quentin Tarantino loves this film – it’s a thoroughly entertaining action movie with loads of violence that seems to have no consequence. It’s a Japanese Tarantino movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I like his movies and do, first and foremost, want a movie to actually entertain me. Battle Royale certainly did that but it’s also nice when you’re entertained plus get a little something more as well… Anyway, it’s cool that Tarantino cast Chiaki Kuriyama (below) in Kill Bill as Gogo Yubari. One great thing about Battle Royale is that there were some really kick-ass female characters! I always love that.

It’s interesting that my two favorite Blind Spot movies so far are mega violent but I have to say that I thought Natural Born Killers was the better “film” whereas I think I enjoyed Battle Royale more. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that it’s one that will only go up in my estimation if I watch it again or read the book. I think it may just be that the message was more clear in Natural Born Killers than in Battle Royale (whether or not you agree with its use of excessive violence to show us how wrong it is to glorify violence).

I don’t mean for this review to sound so negative as I did really enjoy the film. I guess I’m still sorting through my feelings on it as I type this but I already know I like it even more now than when I watched it a week ago. It’s extremely rare that I re-watch movies nowadays (no time for that) but this is one I do want to re-visit fairly soon. I think one problem may be that Battle Royale has so many characters that it was hard to keep track of them all on the first watch. It’s also hard to fully develop so many characters but this movie did actually do quite a good job with even some of the lesser characters considering how little screen time they got. The main characters were very strong and the movie did well with them – I’d like to read the book for, hopefully, even more insight into everyone involved. I’m glad I put Battle Royale on my Blind Spot list, forcing me to finally watch it all these years later. I wish I’d seen it at the time as it probably would’ve had more impact on me in 2000 than post-Hunger Games (no, I won’t even begin with that comparison but I see now why people moaned about The Hunger Games being so similar).

My Rating: 8/10

28 thoughts on “Battle Royale (2000) Blind Spot Review

  1. I love this film but the ‘message’ gets lost across culture, because the brief explanation is very brief, and it gets lost in the action. So three reasons why it can be hard to see the point. I’ve even looked it up to find out more about WHY this is happening in the story (not having read it either) and I still can’t fully explain it other than it was supposed to point out the tensions between generations. Much like Logan’s Run was meant to reflect the tensions between changing cultural values between the generations which was also lost when that book was turned into a film.

    • Yeah, they rarely manage to get the same message across in a film as in the book. I do really want to read Battle Royale now to compare. I’m putting the book on my Christmas list! : )

  2. I can agree with your disappointment that the movie does have too many characters and it doesn’t much time with. I have the book and would be willing to loan you it if you like

    • Thanks, Vern! That’s sweet! I seriously do want to read the book now to get to know the characters more. You can keep hold of it – I’m going to put it on my Christmas wish list. For my hubby to buy me… Anyone else in the family would think I was weird for having Battle Royale on my Christmas list. Lol ; )

    • Me too! I really did enjoy it. And it’s one that’s already growing on me. I still like The Hunger Games too – I suppose there’s more of a story to that. But Battle Royale was more enjoyable. : )

  3. As I think we’ve discussed elsewhere this is one of my all time fave films, so naturally I consider anything less than 11/10 an offensive score! 😛

    For me it is one of those films which reveals more on subsequent re-watches which is its true value. For many, the violence obscures the message (the manga is 1000 times more gory and graphic) but really, it is simple – Shuya lost his family and now only has his friends whom he is now forced to kill. What kind of society makes a kid do that?

    You’ve assumed correctly that the near 700 page book goes into greater depth on this subject and fleshes out the characters too, although some obviously stand out more than others. With a 2 hour run time Kinji Fuksaku could only focus on so many of them and I think he did as god a job as possible in that respect.

    Sorry, I promised myself I wouldn’t rant. I am glad you enjoyed it though. Maybe one day it might click with you on a deeper level but at least you’re on the right track! 😉 😀

    • If it helps, the movie has grown on me… ; ) I know I wanted more character development, etc, but holy shit – that book is THICK. Lol. Looking forward to reading it, though. And then maybe I’ll watch the film again afterwards. Just give me, uh, a year or two….. ☺️ : )

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    • Thanks, Zoë! : ) Oh, I’d love to know your thoughts on this one. It’s grown on me! I did actually pick up the book and it’s THICK. Will probably take me a year to finish. You should read it & let me know what you think in three day’s time… ; )

    • Yeah, I really expected to love it as well. Although I have to say that it really has grown on me now that I’m over it not being quite what I expected. I did pick up the book the other day & think it does get much more in depth. I would hope… The book is THICK!!! : )

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