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Will Battle Royale Fly As A US Remake?

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My short answer is "Hell no!" I know that flicks like Hostel have taken gore to a whole new level, but gore is not the real aspect of this bloody cult film that people here in the US of A critics will boo-hoo over. It's the kids.

I own a copy of Battle Royale (and its so-so sequel) and it is a story of an alternate future where schoolchildren are pitted into battle against their own classmates. Their teacher is the head of the soldiers who drop these students on an island to kill or be killed. If they refuse, they die. If they try to run away, their heads will be blown off by an explosive collar.

I think it's pretty clear by now that interest group after intrest group would be outraged by an American remake of Battle Royale — and not because it'll most likely suck. New Line Cinema has not snagged the rights to Battle Royale – yet – but I bet that they could. When and if they do, there will be a lot of unhappy people talking about bad examples for children and child endangerment. Does anyone remember a director named Larry Clark? If people hate his work with a passion, why would they let a Battle Royale pass? The following is a quote from a New York Times article about Battle Royale:

Despite its success, the film was never released in the United States, and many in the industry said they thought it never would be. In post-Columbine America, they said, audiences weren't ready to watch 14-year-olds — even cute ones in stylish school uniforms — maiming and killing one another with axes, crossbows and automatic weapons.

I personally hope that no American film company gets the rights to Battle Royale, not because I am against violence involving children; I hope that they don't remake it because Takeshi Kitano and crew (including Kill Bill's Chiaki Kuriyama as a young girl) did such a great job originally.

If you really want an American Battle Royale, it's already here. Just go to one of the larger comic book stores in your area and the original manga is likely to be there. Better yet, Google it and find someone who will sell you a copy of the movie.

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About VichusSmith

  • http://www.moviesteve.blogspot.com Steve C.

    It’s not the violence that worries me about a proposed remake, nor is it any form of ‘controversy.’ I’m most worried that a Hollywood version would concentrate solely on the violence and miss the soul, not to mention that Kinji Fukasaku takes every single one of the kids seriously as characters. My fear is that this remake would become just another body-count flick.

  • http://silverstarhawk.livejournal.com Jared

    I’m skeptical of a proposed remake, but I’m sort of cornered into wanting it. Being about as blind as it gets the only way I’m watching it is when subtitles aren’t the medium for dialogue. How’s that for Catch 22?

  • Ty

    FYI, You can netflix the Battle Royale movie. That’s how I saw it.

    And it’s sequel is NOT so-so. It flat out SUCKS!

  • http://myspace.com/yotaruvegeta Vichus Smith

    Here is the link to the original NY times Article, BTW:

    I wanted to be nice but yes, Battle Royale II does indeed suck ass. The only thing good is the premise, but the new headmaster (Riki Takeuchi) in the sequel is so over the top and goofy that it’s sickening. That’s especially sad because i’ve seen Riki Takeuchi in better movies.

    In part 1 you had Takeshi Kaneshiro and you kinda felt sorry for him, even though he was heartless. Battle Royale was simply trying to cash in on the first.

    I know about it being on Netflix, but that was after I bought a copy of both movies. Either way, they’re not very expensive.

  • http://blackholereviews.blogspot.com/ Mark Hodgson

    I agree – a remake is going to disappoint on all fronts. BATTLE ROYALE is one of my favourite movies ever! It’s a classic premise, the controversial story is unflinching, the characters are very real, the young cast is expertly handled… For fans of hard-edged thrillers or horror films, this is hard to beat. I hope it turns more people on to movies with subtitles – see what you’re missing.

  • Sakura G.

    Just so you know, New Line Cinema did get the rights to BR (it was in Anime Insider August 06). And with the producer of The Ring, it will most likely come out great.

    But please, do not tell people to go and read the manga. The manga completely SUCKS compared to the book. The drawing and storyline twist is not good at all. The book is the best one I have ever read (making it my favorite) and people should read that, not the manga. I personally have not actually seen the movie, but it still seems (from all the screencaps I’ve seen) to be not as good as the book.

    If you dont want to watch kids getting killed, then dont go see the movie. But with the way America is right now in horror films, the movie is perfect and will probably do very well.

    Some people like myself have been waiting a LONG time for this movie to come with an American cast. We dont want people like you ruining it for us.

  • V. Smith

    I am sorry, I do not follow. I thought that the manga IS the book. Aren’t they one and the same?

  • Billy

    The american make of this movie will suck, no if ands or buts really. Roy Lee shouldn’t be dabbling in movies, both the ring and the grudge were horrid. Frankly I’m getting real sick of these watered down versions of japanese horror. They were done right the first time. Also to remake something that was done less than 10 years ago is down right stupid.

  • Vichus Smith

    I do agree that remaking movies is a bad move, not necessarily because it’s a stupid idea, but because it just shows Hollywood to be unoriginal.

    However, you know that the average American knows nothing of japanese horror, new or old, and if they do, they want nothing to do with subtitles. Plus, how great is it for America to borrow an idea that already worked and make their own money off of it?

  • http://myspace.com/nacho_sam Samuel Jackson

    I really want to get in touch with Roy Lee who is producing it. If he wants the film to be a success he has to make it more like the book. Like, Sugimura was a kungfu expert, and Kiriyama has a car chase with the Shuyas trio. Anyway, can anyone help me find his contact adress for like email?

  • Vichus Smith

    If you have to ask, then I don’t think you have the stroke to network with someone like that.

  • Samuel L Jackson

    Well If someone could organise it to test all your skills in international waters or an island a real battle royale!

  • Night

    I agree entirely with the author of this movie. I don’t want a remake to disgrace the original. Look at what happened with Kairo (aka “Pulse”). The original wasn’t fantastic, I’ll give you that, but the American remake, Pulse, was just terrible. At least The Ring was excellently done. But I don’t look forward to an Americanized version of Battle Royale, simply because there’s so much about Japanese culture in Battle Royale that can’t be represented even in an American remake. Too much of the morals and meaning will be completely lost. And that’d be a shame. It’d turn it into a random violence, hack-and-slash movie.

    ~Nightfire

  • DownWithWhiteTea

    Whoever tries to remake this original beauty should have his balls cut off by that ball cutting weapon used in Planet Terror.

    PS if they do release a remake, I pray to whichever god is real (if any) that they blow millions on it, so I can watch as they die on the inside, when they realize that anyone retarted enough to watch their version, is watching it streaming off the movie links, or downloading it via BT~

  • L.H.

    V. Smith: The movie is actually based on a novel by Koushun Takami (which is available in English via a branch Viz Publications). There is a manga (comic) series, but it is just a retelling. The original soure material is the novel.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=Vichus%20Smith Vichus Smith

    Thank you for the input

  • Pfft.

    Agreed.

  • Meghan

    Um wow, there is so many things wrong with your review! Well, besides an american remake being a horrible mistake. OK seriously, The book is the original creation and it’s where they got the movie from: Not the manga, which sold out for fanservice and completely ruined characters like Mitsuko (made her out to be pamela anderson, which she wasnt)…god it totally destroyed the book. Also which I recommend you read the book, because its a criticism on the japanese government-so its not just about pointless kids killing eachother.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=Vichus%20Smith V. Smith

    Someone did point out that the book was the original and the manga is not. There is nothing wrong with my review, because this is not a review. It is just an opinion piece. Thanks for reading, and for your comments.

  • Judas

    Well, yeah. Sure, children violence is bad, I guess….
    But, the whole story line, the setting is The Republic of Greater East Asia, and their enemy is the US, as well as anyone against the Republic. Now I don’t mean to be racist, but I think the only real way for this to make sense to close-minded Americans is for the cast to be Asian themselves. And so I ask, what is the point of a remake? It’d just be a toned down, less plot-driven mish-mash of a rewrite. It would totally kill the cult classic that Mr. Takami had set up. And, that’s just heartless.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=Vichus20Smith Vichus Smith

    US Studios want to make their own version simply because they cannot make money on something that’s old. They want zero hassle to think of an idea and they want to give you that old idea repackaged to look shiny and new. Think of the special effects they can use now, think of all the big Hollywood names they can put in here, and think of the sequels they can do if an American version of BR was made?

    See, this is capitalism at its finest, but also its laziest.

  • Judas

    Sure, I guess…

    I’m just glad they haven’t gotten their hands on the rights, yet.

    Also, I’m not quite sure if the rumors are true, but I heard the director, or co-director of the remake has a history of failure in the remake department?

  • A person

    But it doesn’t have to be a remake. It could in a way be a sequel. You know, Japan conquering America and bringing the Program along with it.

    That’s how I hope they do it.

  • Stephanie

    The only chance that I would watch the American version is if Tarantino directs it. He already loves the movie!