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Battle Royale (with cheese)

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I first saw Battle Royale in the original Japanese, without subtitles, and that was one hell of a scarey movie, a whole bunch of Japanese teenagers and older folks barking at each other, and using weapons to make much bloody.

Now I’ve gotten the DVD with the how you say, koni chi wah, English sub-titles, and you know what, it doesn’t make a whole lot more sense. The basic plot is that a couple of dozen of high school students get put on an island to kill each other, with the survivor, well, surviving. That you know about this movie is because Quentin Tarantino used one of the actresses from Battle Royale in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (and some of the scenario). I think I liked it better when the movie was called A Clockwork Orange.

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About Jim Carruthers

  • i liked battle royale although i do think its a bit overrated. the sequel is great, but very very silly.


    I read the first issue of the comic, it was interesting, definitely a Clockwork Orange feel.

  • The movie was an underground sensation for a while before QT. The distributor refuses to sign any distribution agreement in America because of post-Columbine fears. I’m guessing you saw the Korean disc with the really loopy English sub-titles? Towards the end of the film, they get pretty hallucinatory.

    I wrote a long, long review / examination of the movie. You can read it here. Scroll about halfway down or do a “Search in page” for Battle Royale if the link is bloggered. A great web page on the movie (with tons of vidcaps!) can be found here, where they also review tons of other Asian horror films.

    It’s not the best film ever made, but I love the hell out of it.

  • I guess the DVD is the Korean version (well, since all the bonus features are in Korean, and I don’t understand either Japanese or Korean, and my attempts to get translation from the local convenience store — which played the convenience store in “Detroit Rock City” have got me nowhere).

  • Mike, after reading your in-depth review of “Battle Royale”, the only thing I can possibly point out is there are some similarities to “Seven Samurai” and a Japanese movie whose title I can’t remember from the late 80s about a family who get trapped in their house and go to war with each other, and having seen some Japanese teevee which is very weird (humiliation is very popular, but then, when isn’t it?)

    And of course, there is the faux-Japonaise of the UK’s “Banzai”. But I don’t think they’ve actually killed anybody, yet.

  • Chaseg

    Though the film is not so hot – the fact that A Clockwork Orange came after Battle Royale, seeing as the premise from this film came from a novel that was inspired by the great black author Ellison, then I suppose that Clockwork would be copying off of this.

  • Um, while it’s true that African-American author Ralph Ellison developed the novel _Invisible Man_ out of his short story named “Battle Royale”, other than the title (and the theme of innocents who are forced to fight each other) that story had nothing to do with the Japanese film.

    Then again I don’t see much connection between this movie and _Seven Samurai_ either, so maybe I’m not good at making tenuous comparisons.

  • Necrosorrow

    And come to think of it, I don’t really see what the Japanese movie has to do with _A Clockwork Orange_ either. Am I missing something?

  • Chase Guymon


    You must remember that Battle Royale is originally a BOOK. Don’t even bother with the movie. It isn’t worth it. The only thing that is is the book, if you get a good translation, that is. It’s amazing. The movie – well, is just like movies are: Dissapointing. Especially a movie off of a book. It’s too hard to put a long, well made, and drawn out book into a 1:30 to 2:30 minute film. Don’t recommend; read the book.