Maybe Battle Royale's ultimate punchline is its inexplicable ability to fool some people into taking it seriously.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
It's fascinating, tense and grisly... but a bit of a muddle really.
| Original Score: 2/5
The basic storyline just isn't very good, and any attempt to say anything meaningful or moving is ham-fisted and obvious, which quite simply isn't good enough for a film as in-your-face as this.
What it does have is plenty of splatter, noise and energy.
| Original Score: C+
'Battle Royale' is another deeply flawed addition to the deeply offensive phenomenon of 'reality TV'.
A minor sensation in Japan where questions were asked in parliament, this noisy and bombastic adaptation of a recent pulp novel doesn't shape up as satire or death-sport fantasy.
It gets no points for subtlety, but this confronting, devastating, hilarious and extremely fun film is a masterpiece all in its own right.
| Original Score: 5/5
Battle Royale is The Hunger Games not diluted for young audiences.
| Original Score: 3/4
It may suit a certain worldview, but Battle Royale's cynicism is still a form fantasy-a balm as well as a bomb.
Races along with the swift, brutal precision of a samurai sword cutting through cotton.
| Original Score: B+
A gloriously entertaining ride, provided you have a taste for dark material and don't mind the occasional poke in the ribs.
| Original Score: A
3D conversion of a classic teen massacre thriller raises the gore level.
A modern classic about the folly of violence.
Battle Royale's dystopia reflects a hyper-tech Japan still deeply concerned with social cohesion and the value-gaps between the generations. It's the disturbingly dark social frame, not its bloody canvas, that makes this a battle worth watching.
Fukasaku, who is now 70, is the most durable master of all that's hard-boiled in Japanese filmmaking.
Stylistically it's a beauty, with khaki-uniformed waifs fighting for their lives to a crashing classical score.
Gloriously sick and twisted. A masterpiece.
Disturbing, gory, shocking, and very original.
Pitched with the insatiable verve of a TV game show and the vacant regret of a Grand Theft Auto videogame.
Once it dropped a lot of its satirical baggage, I was able to stop considering it an important film, and start watching it as an entertaining one.