Kinji Fukasaku's BATTLE ROYALE (200) is sometimes hailed as a modern classic. Quentin Tarantino certainly thinks so, and who are we to argue with him!?
Well at least one of the Dads is keen for an argument as someone didn't enjoy this. But if unbelievably violent satire is your thing, this movie would fit the bill. It is really very violent though.
Did I mention it's violent?
Sidey: Dan, just Tervis us tonight to discuss the mid weaker.
Dan: just the two of us.
Sidey: This all feels very familiar.
Sidey: We're going to talk about battle Royale from the year 2000.
Dan: I remember the movie coming out. But I didn't watch it like at the cinema or anything. Watched it a couple of years later on DVD. And was pretty excited about this when I'd seen it.
I remember shouting about it. a little bit.
Sidey: Yeah. I remember a lot of hype about it, but I don't know if it actually made it over here
to the to the, local multiplex. So I caught it on DVD. And I remember enjoying it, but it seems a bit hazy in the, in the long, distant past. And the reason that I picked it is because I was on a YouTube mission, just flying around loads different.
And a Tarantino interview where he picked his top 20 films from 1992 onwards, which was the year I think reservoir dogs came out. So it was like from his directorial life onwards. And this was his absolute first. The other 19 that you picked were in no particular order, but this was number one,
Dan: He singled this out.
Sidey: strong recommendation right out the gate. Let's see what we think the premise is kind of hunger games, Z but far, far more violent
Dan: Lord of the flies kind of thing. Isn't it? It's which is how I remembered it Cause this predated hunger games and. Fortnite, of course. And the influence of this film, I think, is still felt in, in so many others.
right up to to those that we just mentioned, But maybe it got his it's influenced a little from William Goldens, Lord of the flies. Basically you've got a load of kids on an island.
Sidey: Yes. The reason they're there, this is set in a sort of very near future. Which would now be the past, but at the time, the very near future and it's Japan in a deep recession, kids completely disenfranchised with the world and are not going to school are completely rebellious and completely out of control.
So the government has passed the battle Royale act, which is pretty full on. We get a little bit of setting the scene. One of the kids. Who is called shoe, ya none. A horror.
Sidey: He comes home from school. He's actually been in school or he certainly in his school uniform and he gets home and his father has hanged himself.
Yeah. Okay. That's, that's a, that's a rough
Sidey: And he'd written a note on some loo roll. Why was this trousers down
Dan: I don't know. Yeah. I don't know. it was a really bizarre kind of, he had a cable.
Sidey: Yeah. It was a, it was an extension cable had done it with,
Dan: and then his, his trousers around his ankles He's got toilet roll flung out in front of him, but on the toilet roll, there's all this Japanese script, which reads
Sidey: something like you can do it, go and get them some motivational, which is a bit in Congress with the.
Dan: of course Nanny is it the none of Hora He sinks to his knees can't believe it. throws up and and it kind of cuts back to, to school in a school trip. Doesn't it?
Sidey: his friend Yasha talkie, CUNY Nobu. She's in school and she stabs the tape. In the leg.
So we get a glimpse of just how bad the kids are behaving. Cause there's nothing really that kicks it off.
Dan: No, it's just like a high school corridor scene. Isn't it? there, The kids the Bell's gone. The kids are coming out. The teacher walks out and then all of a sudden this one student slashes the leg of the, the teacher who sinks to the floor, they run off. One of the other kids picks up the knife and I almost thought that she was going to come in for seconds or something. but The teacher glances over
they just kind of slink her away. And this, as you say, sets the scene these aren't great.
Sidey: No, but we faded black and then cut to one year later on a school bus.
Sidey: And the school outing is not what they're expecting their guest on the.
And I don't know if you've watched any squid game
Dan: I have not, no, but
Sidey: that happens a lot in this as well, is that there's a kind of parallels as well
Dan: well from the little that I've seen of squid game and what I've heard again another influence,
Sidey: massive, massive
Dan: from this.
So if you're into squid game and you wonder where that idea came from checkout, this battle Royale,
Sidey: but there's 42 kids on the bus. There's the whole class, there's a big class and they are being shipped out to this art. It's all part of the battle Royal acts. So they are in a room. The teacher is now back and he is surrounded by military personnel. And there's this comedic sort of video.
Present to the class to explain exactly what's going on. It's all jolly. And it's like, you've got to fight to the death of
Dan: She she's bizarre as yet. or you might die. It
Sidey: or gamified, but it's like life or death and they don't get it, but they've all woken up with
Sidey: They've got like a collar around their
Dan: running man
Sidey: Yeah. And that is well, we were given a very explicit demonstration of what that's for. They have the instructions that are given essentially is that they have three days on the island.
They've got to fight and kill each other and only one is allowed to survive. And that is the winner and they get to go leave the island. Everyone else, you have to fight. You're given a bag which contains map. Notepad and one weapon
Dan: and a weapon. I've got a list of some of the weapons. here. So there there's everything from saucepan lid, binoculars to an Uzi
submarine submachine submarine, guns, submachine gun hand guns there's like a cyber weapon a non choker taser, a knife, a hand grenade, a hand ax across bow, a sword. Cyanide poison. And then you had a megaphone an electric collar tracer a paper fan and a Bulletproof vest. I mean, it depended what you were going to get in that bag in your lucky dip, If you've got the uh
Sidey: you're feeling pretty fucking out of luck,
Dan: certainly next to the UC.
Sidey: it's now the harder it gets the saucepan
Dan: he does. Yeah.
Sidey: and his power gets the binoculars. So they're kind of, they're not doing so great, but some of the kids do team up straight away. It's interesting to see how, see how the dynamic works, because I don't know about you when you're watching it, but straight away you put yourself there, what would I do?
How would I
Dan: It forces you To, ask that question? Whatever you think of this film it leaves you with that Well, What would I do? Because you've got these totally different, characters. As you do in life, some are gonna fight. Some are gonna hide. Some are gonna just kill themselves as we see, they just can't handle this situation Others are going to try and form teams and and work out logically.
And then as mentioned, you get these absolute psychos who are born for it. And love it.
Sidey: Been there before and won the battle Royale. So that's, that's pretty unlucky, but the class has chosen at random. They say they explained that it's, they're the lucky ones who've been chosen to do this, but before we even get out of the room, two, two kids are killed one with a knife to the head
And in second year,
He's just very argumentative and not doing what he's told. And he says, you'll never learn. And he presses a remote control for his neck thing and very fucking explicit, like a very brutal explosion. This head doesn't come off, but his whole neck
Dan: his throat blows up. Yeah. And they, they don't shy away from any.
of The gore they're the teacher that took them in is also wheeled out on a, on a slab, but isn't a, yet one stage cause he had opposed to their class going into these games. But they'd done away with him as well. So even adults who opposed this law were being cut down. Everybody's in, they are all in. They have no choice.
Sidey: So there's 40 tickets within the first six hours of the kids.
That's not a literal runtime. We don't see that much footage, but there are 12 deaths and four of those are suicides. And so you see kids that have jumped off cliffs and they're like smashed on rocks at the ground. It's very
Dan: it's pretty graphic. and they give a. An announcement twice a day, one at 12 o'clock, one at six o'clock with instructions, how the island has been mapped out and divided into grids and certain grids are not safe to be basically, they're going to activate the net colors. So you can't be in those grids and they get these instructions through loudspeakers on the island. And also they're told on who's dead during these times. So they'll find.
Sidey: They're on against the clock. They've got three days or they're all going to die. So yeah, occasionally like one of the announcements, he said only three of you died since the last tonight. So it's not. Trying to, you know, give him the hurry up, but some of them, some of the girls have teamed up. They're sort of hunkered down in a house.
And they're trying to figure out a lot of them are trying to be logical about it. Whereas other than a complete psychotic, just go around just doing what they're told, trying to kill people.
Dan: Well, th th the Trust goes out the window for, for lots of these people, the way that this film kind of forces you to think in as far as putting yourself in that position.
It's uncomfortable because you don't want to be there. You don't want to, you know, I, I don't think I would know really how I would react into, into that kind of situation. It's I'd like to attack the people that were
Sidey: then your call is going up.
Dan: Yeah, this is it. It's. it's well, they did have a team of students there who started to work out how to that actually the, the colors, have mikes in them.
That's how they. know the conversations they're having and they also worked out maybe how to disengage
Sidey: Well, there's a, there's a group of hackers there they're proficient in sort of hacking the system, which is quite key later on. We can't really go through all 42 characters and how they died.
There are some. Really fantastic deaths. There's a decapitation with a grenade in the mouth that gets thrown into the mix. It's just pretty fucking
Dan: You think about it, The actors as well. They're all kids
Sidey: but they're playing kids, but they're not kids.
Dan: what are they like 17, 18.
Sidey: especially middle school students. Only four of them were of that age.
A lot of them had already graduated from school. So they're not like ancient, ancient, but older than their
Dan: And there was 800 actors auditioned for
Sidey: No 6,000 auditions, which was narrowed down to potential eight hundreds and out of the 800. So there was a lot of interest in it, cause it was a bestselling novel. It's a really well-known book, which they tried to ban when the film rights were announced, they tried to ban it.
So all that's doing is just generating more and more hype, more
Dan: Loving it, loving it. Yeah. But I mean, it's quite a conservative culture isn't it? I mean to a film like this,
Sidey: it is, but it's also.
underclass of not underclass, but that subculture that have really sort of fetishized and that is so overt
Dan: Kooser kind of
Sidey: under the surface, but it's always there, you know?
So it's that weird dichotomy,
Dan: they do, you know, as you mentioned before, there's kind of comedic elements, even in the way that they're talking about how they're going to kill each other or how they. get, you know, The The teacher who was the seventh grade teacher is now the head honcho, lead in this and giving out the instructions that
Sidey: he was a big star.
He is the big star
Dan: beat, beat taxi. Kitano I believe the guy's
Sidey: Yeah, he's an actor director. Comedian. Yeah. So he was cast to sort of, again,
Bring in some numbers, but that was already, you know, it was already a lot of hype
was already happening. he did the painting, you know, there's that bizarre painting, of all
Sidey: Googled it straight away and you can buy it
Dan: It's such a weird finding of just like how all the different kids died.
Sidey: It might've been a bit
Dan: Some of them had got like a crossbow in the eye or something.
Sidey: It might've been a bit Midsummer that with the tapestries. Remember that?
Dan: The bear.
Sidey: yeah. So. Essentially the class gets whittled down more and more. And we saw the film then starts to concentrate on a few more of the characters and the relationships and things like that.
I preferred it a lot with this fucking war masochist, to be honest with you. But there's a bit of a relationship starting to build up a bit
Dan: What'd I do there's bond there's bonds that forms and these emotional episodes is pulling people all over the, over the shop. And you start to see almost the, the true nature of, of the kids and the other. the the scene with the girls when he's injured upstairs.
and Downstairs the poison. scene. Oh, It's just, it was just a comedy of errors. Everybody's got it wrong. And they all end up just not trust in each other
Sidey: Plant sit in the food. They're all, it's almost quite domesticated blessed, you know, someone's cooked up a load of grabbing those that like, take that meal up to him. So she's right. I can, I can get rid of him. So she poisons it, but one of the girls before it's taken up. As a bite. And then you just waved that time bomb.
It's right. To kick off. And she projectiles fucking blood all over the room. It's grim. Then as the inquest of who poisoned it, it ends up with a kind of Mexican standoff, like a Western, you know, with the guns pointed everyone and it all kicks off and they all get shot. And the one that did the poisoning managed the survival,
Dan: And there's loads of great little scenes like that. how.
Different people just get picked off and how it, how it ends. How this go this gets to a conclusion it's it's crazy. So, yeah, I mean, I'd say it's been probably 20 years since I've watched this film. But I was really pleased that You brought it back into I wanted my boy. to watch it And And I thought, well, it'd be good to get by up his street.
He's watching for playing Fortnite and all the rest. of it. And to give him the, the original, well, this is where it comes from. He, didn't So he left, he left to save for another time, but yeah, certainly as if you're it stands up it stands up today. I know it's 20 years old and I know that they would have done it differently with hunger games and scraped gaming and.
Sidey: an American remake of it. I mean, initially they didn't even want to sell the rights to this version into macros. They it's just going to be so much hassle, so much legal, wrangling, and trying to get this out there. It's too much for the American, with. Then they were for years and years trying to actually get an American remake done, then hunger games came out and they just said, no, that's not do it because everyone would just think this is a rip off of hunger games, but this actually obviously predated it by the way.
So they didn't do it. Did you see the thing about the bomb making? Cause they make a bomb on the leather gas, canisters and stuff. That was out of a magazine. It's called. Hara Hara Takei, the ticking clock. It's a real bomb making magazine published by an anti jacket, Japanese government activist group called it gushy edgy.
Buso censored, the east Asia, anti Japanese armed front. So a bit of real life bomb-making looking scary. Shit. Yeah. At the end, there's a sort of ceremony for the, the one that we.
the teacher is doing some yoga or whatever you call it, Tai Chi maneuvers on his own off everyone's left the island.
And two of the kids emerge out of the forest wounded, but not dead.
Dan: Yeah, you you should watch it to see that, that last scene, but one of the um the things the news helicopter did you, did you see that that was actually an, an arrow
Uh Actual two twin star. Yeah. And I thought weeks would be particularly interested
Sidey: What I didn't love was this.
Dan: Did he know
Sidey: know he messy couldn't be here this evening, but he did send his thoughts. He thought it was only okay. He thought the direction was weak and the acting was poor. I thought the opposite. I thought the, I thought the acting was good considering it's youngsters for the most part.
Directing seemed right to me, but there's nothing there that you know, is particularly jarring for me. What I did notice and obviously going into this, knowing that guaranteed. The way people die and the effects with the blood and all that sort of stuff. It seemed to me like he's just taken that and run with it because stuff like Django hateful eight, which we're going to talk about on Friday.
The way that is so visceral with the blood and the deaths seems to me to be really directly influenced by the way it happens.
Dan: Yeah, you can, you can definitely see that. And and if you've seen those films, you'll know the the kind of scenes we're talking about. So more of the same in this,
Sidey: For me, it stands out because it's kids.
And there's so much violence and some disturbing stuff, always a lot of suicide and this which is always like, you know, trigger warnings and stuff like that. It's, it's full on, but I was very entertained by it. And if you want to see it, it's just a mere 99 Pence to rent on Amazon prime.
Dan: I can spend a, quite a lot worse than watching this
Sidey: damn right.