Battle Royale [original theatrical-release version]. 2000. Japan. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Screenplay by Kenta Fukasaku, based on the novel by Koushun Takami. With Takeshi Kitano, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto. DCP. In Japanese; English subtitles. 114 min.
The fantasy of pitting ordinary humans in a gladiatorial fight to the death—the irrepressible theme of The Most Dangerous Game, The War Game, The Running Man, Death Race 2000 and the Hunger Games trilogy—was never more controversial or savagely comical than in Kinji Fukasaku’s rabid cult hit Battle Royale. Long banned from US release, the film centers on a group of 42 ninth-grade students who are exiled to a remote island to pick each other off in imaginatively brutal ways, a rather rash solution to the problem of juvenile delinquency in near-future Japan.