Battle Royale debuts on Blu-ray powered by the recent success of The Hunger Games. Battle Royale takes place in the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation’s youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left.
For a film that is twelve years old, I have to admit that it holds up well in the move to high-definition. Colors have instances of appearing washed out, but the overall transfer is well done and fairly clean with minimal artifacts in the picture.
Purists will appreciate the Japanese True HD 7.1 soundtrack which adds an extra punch to this film. Dialogue is crisp and audible amongst the various explosions and gunfire. Those that are not fans of subtitles will have to make do with an English 5.1 dubbed soundtrack.
Extras on this disc are nowhere to be found. If you are a fan of extras, commentaries and bonus footage, this version is not for you. Honestly, the extras on this film were the additional footage added to the Director’s Cut. If you want to enjoy the complete experience, I recommend you pick up the Battle Royale: Complete Collection which has tons of features and also includes Battle Royale 2.
Battle Royal is a cult classic that needs to be seen plain and simple. While America is enthralled in the violence of The Hunger Games, I will say that it pales in comparison to some of the stuff that went on in this film. The Director’s Cut does include some extra footage that honestly seemed out-of-place and added no additional value to the film, but sadly you’re stuck with it since the theatrical cut was not included. Battle Royale is a powerful, disturbing and entertaining film that fans of the both novel it is based on and also fans of The Hunger Games will want to check out. If you are a Kill Bill fan, you will enjoy the work of Chiaki Kuriyama who Kill Bill Vol. 1 fans will recognize as Gogo Yubari. Her work in this film is notable to say the least.
Fans of Asian cinema will definitely want to pick this up for their collection but I must stress that if you want the complete Battle Royale experience you are better off shelling out the extra money and getting the complete collection, which give you two versions of the film plus the sequel and the bonuses. This particular version is for those of us that could care less about the features and only want to own the film.