Saturday, July 26, 2008

Death Neglected I: There Can Only Be One

For many, middle school was the worst time of their lives. Sexual tension, cat fights, pretense of friendship, bullying. Secrets, shame, awkwardness. It's all there. It is, however, also the first time people start to take control of their lives, and not just stand up for themselves, but also for the things they find important to them. In addition, it is when most have their first real crush. And there's something about first loves that, despite how ridiculous and fragile they often are, makes it real and lasting in one's mind.

And now, take this nostalgic moment to remember all those young, savage yet innocent friends and foes from in middle school. Give them each a weapon (don't forget one for yourself), and start killing. Because there can only be one.

Nope, not that movie.

Battle Royale, the cult classic Japanese film, is not actually legally banned in the US, but no distribution company want to touch it. And understandably so. When the next Columbine happens, no one wants to take the blame. Plot: Forty-two normal 15 year olds going on their middle school graduation trip, are sent instead to an island and made to kill each other within three days' time. If more than one is alive at the end of 3 days, the exploding collar on their necks will, well, explode.

Good times.

One can still get the bootleg version of the film in the US though, so skip down to your local chinatown and grab this fun-for-the-whole-family!

Here's a fan trailer that I think introduces the movie better than the official one:

After the movie, one does think about (well, at least I thought about) if you can kill your best friend. What if he/she is coming at you with an ax? What if he/she is coming at you with an ax, and your girlfriend stands behind you? And, even if you are able to answer yes or no with certainly, if the situation does happen, would you actually be the person you always thought you were?

The thing that I truly enjoy about Battle Royale, is that hardly any of the students are "nameless meat". You're introduced to near everyone, with flashbacks or individual goals and dreams, before they need to make the decision to kill or to be killed. Some characters you only get a line or two from them, but those lines, and the action that follows it, go a long way of revealing who they are. In general, I'm actually quite impressed with it.

The two actors that American audiences have the highest chance of recognizing are Chiaki Kuriyama, who was Gogo in Kill Bill, and Tatsuya Fujiwara, who played Light Yagami in the two giant Death Note movies. The first 30 seconds of the film is the hardest part to swallow. The prologue, or, the reason why Battle Royale is happening, makes little to no sense. But if you can chill out, sit back, and say, yeah why not, this is Japan we're talking about after all, you'll have a wonderful bloody time with this movie. Especially if you're watching it with classmates.


Janet said...

Liked your ending comment :)
I tried introducing it to some of my coworkers, and I don't think anyone took...
Which one is bloodier? Battle Royale or Kill Bill 1 & 2? It's been a while since I watched either. (For fairness sake, take the average bloodiness factor for Kill Bill 1 & 2 instead of the sum. Because Battle Royale 2 wasn't as good IMO)

Onyx Enforcer said...

I remember hearing about this movie a few years back, and I heard about the repeated stabs to the groin kill. Hearing about it was tough, but actually seeing it pains me. Might hold off on seeing this one, but I will imagine what it would be like for The League to be stuck on an island and forced to kill each other. Last one alive gets a million dollar screenwriting contract.

DOA said...

The stabs-in-th-groin-kill wasn't all that bloody. Ooorrr maybe I just have a hard time sympathizing.

Considering how Austin HAS hunted (not humans. Only zombies), I'd place him pretty high on the surviving list.

DOA said...

Personally I think Battle Royale is bloodier. While Kill Bill has a lot higher body count, a lot were just nameless meat action sequences. I think it's always bloodier when you know the character and then see them killed.

Onyx Enforcer said...

You're right, Austin does have experience ending the heart and brain functions of living things. That's why if we end up in a Battle Royale scenario we have to all gang up on Austin first.

Zombie said...

I leave for a few days and come back to you guys plotting my death...

DOA said...

...We love you Austin!