on March 31, 2012
Excellent picture and sound quality. The dub isn't terrible but I would always suggest you watch foreign films with the original audio track with subtitles. Subtitles were excellent and clear. The movies themselves are excellent as well. Must buy for fans of Battle Royale.
Imagine this: a country is run by a totalitarian government, which occasionally selects groups of teenagers to methodically kill each other, until only one remains.
"The Hunger Games"? No, actually it's "Battle Royale," a bloody and harrowing movie that came out several years earlier, depicting an alternate Japan where the youth are forced to kill each other. The first film one of those movies that is strangely fascinating and filled with social commentary, but the sequel falls short with its clunky message and suspenseless violence.
"Battle Royale": A class of high-schoolers are being transported on a bus, when they are gassed to unconsciousness. When they awake, they have electronic collars around their necks. A former teacher named Kitano explains that they have been chosen for the B.R. ("Battle Royale") Act, wherein teenagers are forced to fight each other to the death until only one is left standing.
If you don't play, try to escape, refuse to kill or stray into a "death zone," the collars explode. Each teenager is given food, water and a random item, and are set loose on a remote island. As the teens slowly weed each other out, Shuya Nanahara and his girlfriend Noriko try to find a way out that doesn't involve death. But if they refuse to kill, then they must escape the fascist nightmare... which no one has done before.
"Battle Royale II: Requiem" takes place a few years later -- another group of teenagers are gassed, and wake with the explosive electronic collars. But their Battle Royale is a little different: they're put in pairs and given 72 hours to storm a remote island stronghold and kill Shuya Nanahara (who has since become a terrorist). If one partner dies or runs away, the other one explodes.
Sent to attack Shuya and his little band of rebels, the teens are slowly weeded out by gunfire, explosions and their own growing panic. But when set free, they must ask themselves if Shuya is someone they really want to fight against - or someone they want to fight alongside. And they have to ask it fast, because the government is about to storm the island
"Battle Royale: The Complete Collection" is a classic example of a brilliant movie.... and its inferior sequel. Kinji Fukasaku's "Battle Royale" is a masterpiece of shocking violence and social commentary -- it's a bloody, suspenseful look at how humans react under threat of death, and how far people would go to survive. Even more striking is the look at brutal governments who just LOVE punishing innocent people.
And the acting is simply sublime. Takeshi Kitano is bonechilling as the former teacher who now sentences his students to death, and Tatsuya Fujiwara and Aki Maeda give stellar performances as ordinary kids who are forced to fight for their freedom.
Sadly, the sequel (which was directed by the original director's son, Kenta Fukasaku) doesn't manage the same level of brilliance. It tries to shock us even more by having more people die more violently, but there are only a few scenes of suspense over who will die. So there's just lots of people we don't know being gunned down in a splatter of blood and explosions. Tatsuya Fujiwara is the sole character who is really striking, playing a hardened, haunted man with a crusade.
Also, the sequel starkly contradicts the original movie's message, a timeless tale that could be set in any country across the world. Here, the hostility towards Shuya's terrorists is all blamed on the United States (yes, it's not the JAPANESE government's fault, but the US... because we fight terrorists, and all terrorists are secretly good guys), and we get a bizarre hackneyed scene all about how the people of the Middle East are all shining saints. It's doesn't fit the Battle Royale story.
"Battle Royale: The Complete Collection" contains one brilliant movie and its mediocre sequel, which is notable mainly because of Tatsuya Fujiwara's brilliant performance. So watch the first, skip the second.
on August 12, 2013
NOTE: THIS IS A REVIEW FOR THE BATTLE ROYALE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION-COLLECTOR'S SET!!
Anyway, this set contains both versions of the first film, theatrical and director's cut, along with Battle Royale II: Requiem, and a full fourth disc with a few hours of special features on it.
BATTLE ROYALE: I think the director's cut to be superior to the theatrical cut. I'm saying that right now. Both versions are great, however. We all know what its premise is by now: a class of middle school kids gets abducted by their government to compete in a tournament on a secluded island. They have three days to kill each other, and if any rules are broken, the collars around their necks will explode. They have three days to kill each other, and only one may survive.
This is a very powerful movie; the characters, most of whom are likeable, are portrayed the way they should be portrayed, and not like some cold-hearted suddenly-badass action heroes that can rampage through the island with plot armour to protect them. No, they're shown as desperate, scared, and for some of them, even a little crazy from the pressure. I don't mind badass action heroes with plot armour, but I was glad that this movie didn't go down that route. The characters are down-to-earth and the movie progresses at a steady pace, with quite a few memorable scenes along the way (the lighthouse scene, for instance, which is my favourite). Hell, you even feel something for Sakamochi (the instructor that pretty much forces them to kill each other) other than hatred and rage when you realize his own daughter hates him (and not because he's killing kids either, she isn't aware of that). We follow Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo, who've teamed up to fight their way through this madness and try to figure out a way to escape the island alive, and all of them are pretty likeable and (thankfully) don't act like total nimrods (like characters in a horror movie; just referencing that since this is pretty similar to a horror movie, really) that WALK into certain traps and stuff.
Anyway, ****1/2 out of ***** for Battle Royale: Director's Cut. **** out of ***** for the theatrical cut. I just felt the DC was handled better.
BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM: The second film in the series takes place three years after the first one, and now Shuya Nanahara (survivor from the first one, a bit of a spoiler but we all knew he'd survive the first one anyway) is the leader of the terrorist group Wild Seven (a nice nod to the book) and has waged war against all adults (good luck with that, buddy) for the BR Act. To counter this, the government has sent another 'random' class of middle school kids to fight their battle for them, and send them to the island to kill Shuya. Whoever kills Shuya wins the game. Oh, and now the students are in pairs, meaning that if one student dies, the collar for the other student explodes. So the stakes are raised.
I found it interesting that Sakamochi's own daughter, Shiora, is in the class, apparently going to the BR II program to find out the truth behind her father's last message to her (despite the fact that she hates him for no real reason, I don't know why she'd risk her life to find out). I get the whole 'honour your mother and father' thing, but I honestly don't get what Shiora's deal was. Her real reasons for hating her father were never explained, and she just came off as a spoiled brat. The same thing applies to almost everyone else in this movie: NO ONE WAS VERY LIKEABLE!! AT ALL!! It's really sad when SAKAMOCHI is the most sympathetic character in this movie (he appears in Shiora's flashbacks, and it's almost as if the movie itself is telling us "LOOK!! HE FORGOT HER BIRTHDAY AND WAS A DAY LATE WITH GIVING HER A PRESENT!! THIS MAKES HIM EVIL!! HATE HIM!! HATE HIM, AND JOIN HIS DAUGHTER IN HER JUSTIFIED HATRED OF THIS MAN!!) I couldn't help but feel sorry for the man because of the way his daughter was treating him. No wonder he hated children! If he were the instructor in THIS movie I probably would have found myself rooting for him!
And that wasn't the only problem with this movie. There were several more problems, such as the medium-quality special effects (just passable), the plot that seemed to have confused itself, and the cartoonish acting from some of the cast. I won't get into too much detail about the problems this movie has. It had an interesting premise, but it just didn't seem to achieve everything it was trying to achieve. If the original director didn't die after shooting the first scene for the sequel, then it might have been a much better movie. By now, I'm used to Japanese B-movies with cheesy effects (Tokyo Gore Police, Machine Girl), so this movie didn't bother me as much as it should have. I still enjoyed it a bit, although I do think the first movie is infinitely better.
**1/2 out of *****
If you're going to get Battle Royale, get this set. The picture and sound quality is excellent. It's a good price for three movies plus an extra disc full of a few hours' worth of special features, and the case is really nice, if a little difficult when it comes to disc storage (you slide the disc in and out of a slip cover). The cover was made to look like a middle school year book, which was a nice touch, and the cover has a protective plastic cover to slip over it. I highly recommend this set; its only flaws are the way the discs are set and the sequel film. This collection is as perfect as it's gonna get.
on August 9, 2013
What wasn't done in the Hunger Games,surely made up for in this movie,
i don't know who came first or if there're supposed to be similar in story wise,
but i love this one,the American one seem to be tone down in it's depiction of
violence which is okay but when you can't be true to the story the movie don't
make much sense,now in this,they show the raw nature of how humans can't
handle the youths of today,if you want to behave badly stick you on a island and let
them fight it out,the movie is called Battle Royale for a "bloody" reason,
and that's no bull..
here's what you have in the packaged.
Disc 1 Battle Royale Director's Cut.
Disc 2 Battle Royale Theatrical cut.
Disc 3 Battle Royale 2 Requiem.
Disc 4 Bonus dvd Special Features.there is a ton of stuff on this disc.
disc one is 7.1 true hd all the rest is 5.1 widescreen 1.78.1
Runtime for all 368 min.
Very Good Set,Of The Most Controversial Movie Ever.
on October 20, 2014
The two slightly twisted Japanese movies that engendered the "Hunger Games" movies based on a similar theme. As is frequently the case, the original remains the best. "Hunger Games" takes place in a dystopian future, while "Battle Royale" could happen today, if it has not already. Recommended.
on April 11, 2012
So if you're coming to look at this, you probably have some idea what it is... Battle Royale, the movie based on the 1999 novel about a class of teenagers selected to take part in the BR Program, put on an island, and forced to kill each other until only one person remains. Deemed "too controversial" for North American audiences until another movie and book series with a similar premise became popular (The Hunger Games), clearly the sales strategy here was to capitalize off that hype (and fair enough, Battle Royale came first, so why shouldn't it steal some of that thunder).
In this collection you get the directors cut and theatrical cut of Battle Royale (the directors cut expands a little on a few characters and scenes but not much, the only thing I felt the theatrical cut could have used was the Mitsuko flashback but the rest is somewhat unnecessary). You also get Battle Royale II, which was not quite as good as the original but the concept is pretty interesting (everyone is paired up with their collars linked unlike the original where it was every person for themselves), and a fourth disc full of extras. If you're a massive Battle Royale fan, this is the collection you want. If you're just a casual fan, or someone recommended the movie to you and you've never seen it before, I'd suggest saving your money and getting just the first movie. If you become a super-fan and want this collection after watching Battle Royale, you can always gift the movie to someone else.
The video and audio is great, the subtitles are excellent (though I do remember seeing a mistake or two, something I'd expect from a $10 eBay bootleg but not on a professionally done disc like this), I'm told the dubbing is brutal (but I wouldn't ever listen to it), my only real gripe is with the packaging. It's cool that it's a book and all, but how many times will I be able to slide the discs in and out of the sleeves without them getting scratched? I'm not sure why people think this type of packaging is a good idea (or maybe companies know it's not and just want you to have to re-buy it when you finish ruining the discs) but I would have preferred something a little more traditional.
All in all, if you're a hardcore Battle Royale fan, buy this for sure. GAME OVER.
PRO: This edition has an English language dub on the Director's Cut of the film only (it's a pretty typically bad English dub done using voice actors that don't do the film justice, but it's there for the people that want to see the film but don't want to read the subtitles).
CON: Several; the BIGGEST and STUPIDEST is the fact that Anchor Bay forgot to add a, 'Signs Only' English subtitle option, as this film has a lot of onscreen text (i.e. the opening scrawl and an ongoing update of who's died in the game as it progresses, etc.) so what you have to do is keep the English subtitles on while you listen to the English track, but the problem with this (and the one thing that Anchor Bay got right, though without the 'Signs Only' subtitle option, this can be a tad annoying) is that the English dub track and the English subtitles differ which can be a tad disconcerting when watching them together (like you have to if you're watching with the English language dub and also want to get the subtitles for the Japanese text that appears throughout the film).
PRO: The picture quality is the best I've seen this movie look, even better than the European Arrow special edition Blu-ray (which is kind of odd, as the subtitles seem to be a direct port from the Arrow edition in content and timing, but the Anchor Bay picture quality is better, nowhere is this more prevalent then in the cave sequence near the beginning of the film; in the Arrow version there's a milky haze to the darkness as the two lead characters make their way into it, where as in the Anchor Bay version, the milky haze is gone).
CON: This edition claims to be the 'Complete Edition' but is missing the superior director's cut of the second film called, Battle Royale 2: Revenge (I'm not counting the resent 3D version of the first film because it doesn't add any new content, where as the second film has 20 minutes added to it's running time in the Director's cut).
CON: This set comes housed in one of those 'Book' type packages, where the discs are slid into the ends of hard cardboard pages, and upon trying to extract the discs from their housing, fingerprints where unavoidable as were scratches on the fourth disc (which is a DVD which doesn't have the extra durability coating that the Blu-ray's have) so once the discs are out, you may want to do as I did and put them in CD cases. The dumb thing is that the set's packaging resembles a book, but for what reason I don't know as there is no book used in the film to tie this in with (a cookie tin wrapped in cellophane would have made more sense if you know the film, or even a backpack).
CON: 'THE GLITCH'. Yes, every gosh darn version of the first film (be it Theatrical or Director's cut) has this stupid 'GLITCH' near the beginning of the movie (during the first class pandemonium scene where everyone is running around the classroom, there's this pause like 'GLITCH', you'll know it when you see it) which I had hoped would be fixed in this version (as it really is nothing more than a 'GLITCH' and shouldn't be in the film). I have several different Asian versions of this film on DVD and every single one has this stupid 'GLITCH' left in (kind of resembles a really bad DVD layer change).
So there you have it, hope this helps (oh, and the 4 star rating out of 5 is because of the screw up with the subtitles where the English language dub track is concerned, as well as the bad dub itself which could have been done a lot better).
on July 15, 2013
The movie is what i expected out of a Japanese,movie very good and gory. Anchor Bay Entertainment did a great job getting English actors to match the characters voices perfectly. I highly recommend this box set to any that hasn't seen the movie or has only watched the movie in Japanese.
on December 7, 2012
Great movie. High quality. Arrived within 3 days. Happy with this purchase, would recommend it. Puts Hunger Games to shame.
on August 11, 2014
Suspending disbelief for the premise would only make sense to someone in Japan,I suspect. Otherwise pretty good.