21 August 2012


Today's weather - sunny
I watched "Battle Royale II" recently and this predecessor movie adopted from a Japanese manga novel predates "The Hunger Games". Released in the year 2,000 over the millenium, it was the most original of such films and storylines back then.

After a span of 12 years, I re-watched the "Battle Royale" again. The main character is played by Tatsuya Jujiwara, who also appeared in "Battle Royale II".

Set in a futuristic world where society lost control of its youths, a battle royale act was passed for them to regain control. Under the act, the adults rounded up groups of delinquent students to kill themselves until one survivor remains. I find myself still glued to the concept, storyline, acting and so on. To most people, this may just be a sick and violent thriller movie. But to me, it is really more than that and is a radical movie outside the norm borne out of the brilliance of the writer.

It also differs from "The Hunger Games" in certain aspects. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the students and it would be extremely terrifying to be there and then to experience this horror. 

Imagine yourself being led with your classmates on a bus trip just to awake at a deserted island where it was revealed by your teacher that you had to kill all your other classmates within 3 days in order to live. You had no choice because bound to your neck is a device that would explode if you tried to remove it. In utter disbelief, you saw your form teacher being wheeled in dead on a medical bed. Next, you saw one of your classmates head being blown off by the neck device right in front of you. Then, you saw another classmate dropped to the ground after being pierced by a thrown knife to her forehead for whispering to others. Everything appeared so surreal as you were being issued a backpack of basic necessities and a secret weapon, which ranged from a pot lid to an axe to a pistol and so on, and sent out of the classroom one at a time.

How many people can actually handle this? Some who couldn't handle this committed suicide to avoid partaking in the nonsense. Some lost it as soon as they left the classroom and went on a killing spree. Others banded together as a group just to turn on each other as suspicions on others and self-doubts grew. Yet there were those who remained tight as a team and there were those who displayed cold-blooded calm and brutality in slaying their classmates without batting an eyelid. Unlike "The Hunger Games", this was a situation where you knew everyone as a friend or classmate and spent time with each other over a period of time. In "The Hunger Games", the participants were prepped mentally and physically through a period of training to kill total strangers. But killing known people without any prior warning? I dread to think about it.

To make matters worse, danger zones were created to up the challenge and broadcasts with light-hearted music were made over the island every six hours to announce the names of those who were killed or died. The whole setting and the gravity of the situation never gelled and were in stark contrast. That is one reason why it was so good because they were messing with your minds.

I shan't give the ending away but the movie is certainly worth watching if one has not caught it a decade ago. If you are used to the gore in the movies nowadays, you will not be as perturbed and disturbed by the many violent scenes. But trust me, a movie of this genre and violence was not the norm back in those days and stood out amongst the mediocre ones. This is movie making at its finest because of the wonderful story-telling. I have only one word to describe it - excellent!