ROYALE limited edition
DVD region 0. Arrow Video.
going to go out on a limb and assume that most of you will be
fairly familiar with Battle Royale. One of the
most acclaimed and successful Japanese movies of the last decade,
this spectacular mix of action, extreme violence and social satire
last long been a cult favourite, and rightly so. Now, Arrow has
reissued the film in a 3 disc limited edition that might be enough
to make you buy it again.
a world where Daily Mail readers have taken over,
unruly and disrespectful schoolchildren are forced to fight to
the death on a deserted island, with explosive collars around
their necks to ensure compliance. Given 'randomly' selected weapons
- that range from the deadly to the useless - the teenagers are
made to battle it out, pitting friend against friend, with only
one survivor allowed.
this framework, veteran director Kinji Fukasaku delivers an all-out
attack, with little restraint shown. The performances, the violence
and the action are all pretty full-throttle as the kids rapidly
whittle down the numbers (helpfully captioned on screen) as teacher
'Beat' Takeshi Kitano watches.
new DVD and Blu-Ray edition features both the original cut and
the later Special Edition, which expands the film with
a handful of scenes that don't really add anything to the experience
- at best, it's an interesting alternate version, at worst a distraction
from the story. Take your choice.
extras are extensive - a lengthy 'making of', which is a video
diary of events, with footage shot by the cast - rough and ready,
but pretty interesting stuff. A similar style is used for most
of the other documentary content - shooting the special edition
footage (six months after the film was released), various premieres,
press conferences and interviews. The set also features a 32 page
comic, a couple of booklets, postcards and a poster, but as none
of these came with the review discs, I can't comment on them.
looks to be the definitive version of Battle Royale
- it's hard to imagine what else could be added to an future releases
that isn't here. If you already have the DVD, this is a worthy
upgrade (and US readers take note - it's region 0, making it a
worthy import); if you don't have it - or somehow haven't seen
it - what are you waiting for?
IT NOW (UK) DVD