The pornography of violence is a phrase banded about by armchair critics. What does it mean? It means Battle Royale.

Veteran Japanese director, Kinji Fukasaku, has taken the concept of Series 7: The Contenders and given it a political dimension. If killing strangers for a reality TV game show is sick, what about killing your friends in a Lord Of The Flies mock-up?

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The year is 2000-and-something. Japan suffers mass unemployment. Schoolkids riot, as their prospects diminish. The government is panicked into drastic measures, one of which is the island of death scenario.

A high school class is picked at random, its pupils drugged and escorted to the island, where they are given weapons and told to murder each other until only one is left. The time limit is three days. If they don't play along, they are killed by the army and if they are found in certain danger zones, they are dispatched by detonating explosive devises implanted in neckbraces.

At first, they swear allegiance to each other, but soon trust evaporates as the body count rises and, for the next hour-and-a-bit, your watch teenagers being slashed, shot and beaten to death. This is not a pleasant sight.

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2001
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Futuristic Japanese survival gameshow where school children fight for their lives.
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Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Writer: Kenta Fukasaku

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto

Year: 2000

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Japan


EIFF 2001

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If you like this, try:

Battle Royale II: Requiem