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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blu-ray Review: BATTLE ROYALE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

  

BATTLE ROYALE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Directed by:  Kinji Fukasaku
Distributed by:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

 
 FINALLY!!   That is what I screamed when I heard that Anchor Bay was releasing BATTLE ROYALE 1 & 2 for the first time ever in North America!    If you have never seen these films, do yourself a favor and do so asap!   I had seen BATTLE ROYALE a couple of years ago, but I had never seen BATTLE ROYALE II:  REQUIEM until I watched it as part of the awesome complete collection set Anchor Bay has released. 

 The timing of this release is perfect, and intentional of course, due to the theatrical release of THE HUNGER GAMES, which a lot of people feel is a rip-off of BATTLE ROYALE.  I have not seen THE HUNGER GAMES yet, so I can't make that accusation, although the plots do sound very similar.

 BATTLE ROYALE is a about a Japanese society that has seen an increase in juvenile crime and over population.  To take care of both issues, the government has created Battle Royale, an annual game in which a random 9th grade class is selected to participate.  The rules are simple, kill or be killed.  The kids are taken to an island and are given a map and a weapon of some sort. They are to kill each other off any way they can until there is only one student left, who is declared the winner.

 This is one of my favorite Japanese films of all time.  It is beautifully shot with the island providing some very nice scenery.   The subject matter is pretty crazy and seeing kids kill kids is very unsettling and caused quite a stir upon the films initial release.   The acting in the film is very good from all involved, and I especially love how the teacher that runs the game delivers some of his lines.
The movie has some very violent scenes, especially those involving collars worn around the contestant's necks.  There are certain "danger zones" on the island and if you are in one of these danger zones at certain times, then the collar explodes, as does the wearer's neck!  The provides some excellent gore for sure.

BATTLE ROYALE II:  REQUIEM is a much different film than the first, but just as good I think in a different way.   The plot is similar to the first, except the government has changed the rules.  Now instead of killing each other, the kids must find and kill a terrorist living on an island intent on overthrowing the government and killing all adults for making the kids kill each other in the first film.
I won't tell you who the terrorist is as I don't want to give anything away if you haven't seen the first film.

BATTLE ROYALE II is more like a war movie than the first film.  In fact, it reminded me of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN but with kids at some points.   My buddy Scott from The Shattered Ravings blog compared it to BLACK HAWK DOWN which I can definitely see as well.   As with most any war film, BR2 is very bloody and action packed.  This is a great sequel and continues the story perfectly.   The basic concept from the first film is still there, but it is different enough where it doesn't feel like they made it for no reason other than make more money based on the recognizable BATTLE ROYALE title. 

BATTLE ROYALE:  THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is available now, along with a single disc version of just the first film on DVD or Blu-ray.    I highly suggest you get the complete collection, though, as you will definitely want to check out part 2.  Also, the complete collection comes with a 4th disc full of the following special features:


*  Audition & Rehearsal Footage
*  Special Effects Comparison Featurette
*  The Making of Battle Royale
*  Original Theatrical Trailer
*  Basketball Scene Rehearsals
*  Special Edition TV Spot
*  Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
*  Battle Royale Press Conference
*  TV Spot: Tarantino Version
*  Tokyo International Film Festival 2000
*  Filming On-Set
*  Battle Royale Documentary
*  Instructional Video: Birthday Version

This is must own DVD/Blu-ray set in my opinion.   Get your hands on a copy of this one as
soon as possible!

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for BATTLE ROYALE
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for BATTLE ROYALE II:  REQUIEM
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray or DVD


 

2 comments:

  1. I've never seen Battle Royale II, but I recently revisited the first film and now wish that I had waited to check it out in this collector's edition.

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  2. Yeah, I first saw BR1 on a bootleg DVD and it looked basically like a VHS. Watching it again on the Blu-ray was like watching it for the first time! Definitely check out BR2 if you get the chance. Both are great films!
    -ZH

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