There’s only one problem with Battle Royale. The premise doesn’t make even a lick of sense. The introductory text scroll lays it out like this: Japan is in economic turmoil, with record unemployment and an extremely bad delinquency problem among the youth, apparently because they see what they have to look forward to? So, the adults fearfully pass the BR law, which… here’s where it makes no sense. Apparently, once a year, a randomly selected ninth grade class is sent to an island, given bags full of equipment and random weaponry, and asked to kill each other over the next three days. If there is more than one survivor after 72 hours, everyone left will be killed. Pretty straightforward, right?
And the events portrayed in the final 80% of the movie are chock full of hard decisions and violence and teenage melodrama, in which anyone can die at any moment, just like you’d expect of a pack of inter-murderous ninth graders. So if you can get past the premise, there’s a great deal of that, and I approve! But still, I can’t figure out how it makes any sense. That is to say, how does the “law” help anyone? At one class per year, it’s not going to make a dent in any population concerns. And randomized with such a small incidence, it’s not like the kids have any fear-based incentives to change their ways; if anything, I’d expect them to get a lot more disaffected and violent than before. (Except this particular class didn’t seem to have any idea the annual event existed, which is its own kettle of worms, believe me.)
Still, to be clear, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the other 80%, it just drove me crazy at the start of the movie and again while considering my review. So, y’know, mixed bag.