I finally got around to watching Battle Royale, and I feel like a better person for doing it. Seriously, everyone needs to watch this masterpiece. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies, but the children are Japanese and have lethal, often military-grade, weapons! The plot seems bleak, but it plays out in a manner that is both entertaining and dreadful. There is even an element of humor mixed into the bloody warfare, not typical of Japanese movies.
The government imposes a new law to enforce punishment on schoolchildren who are abusing the system. Random groups of the schoolchildren are taken to an island, handed survival kits, and given three days to fight until only a single person stands. After three days, if more than one person is still alive, everyone is killed. Each aforementioned survival kit includes bread, water, and a randomly chosen weapon. The "weapons" range from a GPS device to a grenade, with everything in between.
I want to feel ashamed for watching a movie about teenagers slaughtering each other, but I can't. This was too good a movie to keep quiet about. Like Lord of the Flies, the movie did a great job exploring tough situations and decisions as kids formed alliances, dealt with their friends being killed, and fought to escape their own death. On top of all the gruesome battle, a layer of romance is used to bring the children to life.
Battle Royale is bloody, yet symbolic and thought-provoking. The actions kicks off almost immediately, pulls you in, and doesn't let go until a felicitous ending.
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