10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™




Battle Royale – Limited Edition (BluRay) 
Written by: on December 16th, 2010


Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2000
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Writer: Kinji Fukasaku
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Masanobu Ando, Takeshi Kitano, Tarô Yamamoto, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sosuke Takaoka, Takashi Tsukamoto, Yûko Miyamura, Kô Shibasaki

BluRay released: December 13th, 2010
Approximate running times: 114 minutes (Theatrical Cut), 122 minutes (Director’s Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese, DTS Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £22.99


Synopsis: At the dawn of the 21st Century with unemployment on the rise and rebellious youth becoming more difficult to control. The Japanese Government pass a law called Battle Royale Act. This new law has been created to help reign in a rebellious youth culture that threatens the status quo. Every year as part of the Battle Royale Act one ninth grade class is randomly selected as participants in a game called Battle Royale. 42 participants are out on a secluded island and given three days to kill all the other participants. At the end of these three days the last person standing with the game and gains their freedom. If at the end of these three days there is more than one person still alive. Then everyone left alive dies.

With a film career that spanned five decades and a filmography that is as diverse and as accomplished as any director past or present. Kinji Fukasaku would achieved his greatest international success with the controversial film Battle Royale. From the moment of its arrival Battle Royale has been a film that has divided its audience. There is no middle ground. Either you love this film or you hate this film. And while some of this can be attributed to the film’s subject matter. Which was adapted from Koushun Takami’s novel also titled Battle Royale. A lot of the credit as to why the film resonates with its audiences. Falls squarely on the shoulders of its director Kinji Fukasaku, who puts the focus on the characters and their emotions.

Content wise Battle Royale treads familiar ground that has been covered in other films like The Most Dangerous Game and Lord of the Flies. Fortunately the end result is far enough removed from any of these aforementioned films that any similarities quickly become a moot point. There are many themes at play during the film with some of the more prominent ones being, youth vs. adults, poor vs. rich and outcasts vs. popular kids. And while there are a few participants who try to work together. As the game progresses tensions grow and allies become enemies. Also to shake things up two delinquent transfer students are thrown into the mix.

When discussing Battle Royale the one area that often draws the most criticism is its graphic depiction of violence. Sure the killings are graphic and often verge into nihilism. What did they expect? After all this is a story about 42 students participating in a game of death. Without giving to much of the plot away. Let’s just say that the film’s bloodiest moment is the result of a misunderstanding and not at the hands of one of the more sadistic participants that are only out for blood.

From a production stand point there is not a single area where this film is lacking. The direction, the pacing and the score (which is mostly made up of classical music) are all pitch perfect. With the most powerful merging of visual and music being a bloody shoot out in a warehouse. Laid over-top the ensuing carnage is Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Air’ from Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068. Another area where this film excels is its cast which includes many actors in their very first roles. Some of the more notable cast members include Takeshi Kitano (Sonatine), Tatsuya Fujiwara (Death Note), Aki Maeda (Linda, Linda, Linda), Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill Volume 1) and Masanobu Ando (Sukiyaki Western Django). Ultimately  Battle Royale is a provocative film about the darker sides of human nature. That over the years has not lost any of powerful and relevance.

The BluRay:

Battle Royale comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay (both versions included with this release). The theatrical and director’s cuts are both presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. When compared to previous releases of Battle Royale there are several areas where this new release from Arrow Video improves like color reproduction and black levels. It should be noted that there are some mild instances of edge enhancement and DNR. The main difference between the theatrical and director’s cut in that the latter looks ever so slightly sharper.

Both versions of the film each come with two audio options, DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese and DTS Stereo Japanese. All four audio mixes are in great shape and the differences between the DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese and their DTS Stereo Japanese counterparts is minimal. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs to. Also there is good channel separation. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included.

The extras are spread over three discs. Extras on disc one (a BluRay) include a trailer for the film (1 minute 51 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a lengthy behind the scenes documentary titled ‘The Making of Battle Royale: The Experience of 42 High School Students’ (52 minutes 32 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles).

Extras on disc two (a BluRay) include a T.V. spot (32 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), special edition theatrical trailer (1 minute 5 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Shooting the Special Edition’ (9 minutes 1 second – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Conducting Battle Royale With the Warsaw philharmonic orchestra’ (7 minutes 27 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘The Correct Way to Make Battle Royale Birthday Edition’ (3 minutes 9 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Tokyo International Film Festival Presentation’ (4 minutes 37 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a interview with actor Takeshi Kitano (11 minutes 51 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles). All the extras on disc 1 and disc 2 are presented in 720P.

Extras on disc three (a DVD) include a T.V. ad (34 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), T.V. promo (1 minute 49 seconds  – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), T.V. commercial (3 minutes 41 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), promo #1 (16 seconds  – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), promo #2 (37 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Premier Press Conference’ (12 minutes 2 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Opening Day at Marunouchi Toei Move Theater’ (14 minutes 26 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘The Slaughter of 42 High School Students’ (10 minutes 9 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘The Correct Way to Fight Battle Royale’ (2 minutes 35 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Royale Rehearsal’ (7 minutes 11 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Masamichi Amano conducts Battle Royale’ (9 minutes 46 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Special Effects Comparison’ (4 minutes 17 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Behind the Scenes Featurette’ (12 minutes 9 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), ‘Filming on the Set’ (11 minutes  – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles) and a Kinji Fukasaku trailer gallery. All the extras on disc three are presented in standard definition and PAL.

The bulk of the extras consists of on the set footage. With the standout extras being the interview with Takeshi Kitano, ‘Premier Press Conference’ and ‘Behind the Scenes Featurette’. These latter two contains comments from  the cast and crew. Also included with this release is a 32 page comic book, 5X7 postcards, a fold-out reversible poster, two booklets, a 16 page booklet with concept art and a 32 page booklet with a Kinji Fukasaku interview, two essays about the film, cast and crew bios and an extract from Koushan Takami’s original novel. Overall Arrow Video gives Battle Royale its most extravagant release to date.

Note: The title card and the first two screenshots are taken from the theatrical cut. The last two screenshots are taken from the director’s cut.

Disclaimer: Some of the reviews contained here at 10kbullets contain screenshots that may not be suitable for those surfing the website at work and discretion is advised while viewing these pages. All of the screenshots and other images used on this site are solely for promotional purposes and are copyrighted to their respective owners. All reviews, bios and interviews unless noted in the text of the review, bio or interview are original content that was written exclusively for 10kbullets and has never been published anywhere else. On occasion there may be typos or errors in the text and if you let us know we will be more then happy to correct all typos or misinformation in the text. All opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author(s) and not that of any company or person referred to. All the written material contained on 10kBullets is intended for informational purposes only and it is copyright © 2004-Present by the authors.