Posted by: Scott Groves | January 12, 2012

Movie review – Battle Royal (Japanese)

Battle Royal – I just don’t know how to feel about this movie… not at all.  I feel I could give it a 1-star rating, or  a 4-star rating.  Frankly, I’m confused by what I just spent 2 hours watching.   In a way I’m amazed by the story the film was trying to tell;  yet I’m annoyed by it’s poor pacing, average editing (I think that was the problem) and horrid dialogue.

Battle Royal is one of those Japanese films that has yet to be reworked for an American audience or dubbed in English.  The fact that the film is directly translated causes the sub-titled dialogue to break-up the flow of the movie in several key scenes.  So I gave the movie a bit of a pass on this problem, a true case of lost in translation.

I originally became interested in the book, movie and sequel projects entitled Battle Royal when I heard this Japanese story was the origins for much of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games.   I definitely see the similarities in plot-points, but not the story telling styles.  The Hunger Games tended to build up a characters before killing him off.  In Battle Royal it’s all over-the-top carnage from about seven minutes in.

As with other movies, I’m not interested in writing a synopsis of the movie, so Google it.  I will say this was one of the most violent films involving teenagers I have ever seen.  Much like the first time I read ‘Lord of the Flies’ or watched the 80’s classic The Warriors at a very young age, I was pretty disturbed watching this film.

I don’t know why I was surprised to see so much violence and brutality in a film that I knew centered around a “last-man-standing” type of story.  However, the horrific nature in which some of these teenagers execute each-other was tough to watch.

If you have the time, and you like Japanese action film, you may want to put it on your Netflix queue.  However, I don’t know that I would actually recommend it.

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