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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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Battle Royale ( Batoru rowaiaru ) 
"Battle Royale" by Yojimbo
3.5/4 stars

A Japan increasingly concerned with spiralling urban violence makes an example of troublesome teens by stranding them on a desert island with the sole purpose of making them kill each other off until just one remains. Kinji Fukasaku's magnificently tasteless satire on reactionary politics could be considered the logical conclusion of reality TV. The concept is a kind of cross between The Running Man and Lord Of The Flies. All the usual High School shenanigans are involved, but the introduction of lethal weapons throws the cliques, crushes and rivalries into a whole new light! The young cast are all great and Fukusaku was a veteran of Japanese Yakuza films and therefore a dab hand at stylized violence; the unrelenting drama and action of a type of slasher film where EVERYONE is the killer means it's virtually impossible to get bored! The sentiment can get a little heavy handed in places but Takeshi Kitano's surreal and sardonic host pops up at strategic intervals to routinely steal the show and stop the schmaltz before it goes too far. Certainly not as profound as it thinks it is, but it's a wonderfully entertaining and unique film that's destined to become a cult classic. Just avoid the dismal sequel (completed by his son after Fukusaku's death) like the plague.


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