With the trailer for ‘The Hunger Games” hitting theaters and with everyone wrapped up in Hunger hoopla (it’s scheduled to open March, 2012), I decided it was time to check out the one film that many have said inspired the story. “Battle Royale,” is Japanese violence at it’s worst and so is the storyline. But there are a few decent action sequences here and the “idea” behind it IS a lot like the basis of “The Hunger Games.”
Starring no one I had heard of other than Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo Yubari from “Kill Bill Vol. I”), there isn’t a lot of storyline other than a bunch of kids who have been drugged and stranded on an island by their teacher. They are informed that only one may survive and they have 3 days to kill each other or else explosive gadgets strapped to their necks will detonate, killing everyone. This sets up 2 hours of nothing but kids killing each other in sometimes ridiculous ways and mass confusion. The funny thing about this film is that it starts off showing us the ending first…and then at the end of the film? It’s a totally DIFFERENT ending? It’s ridiculous!
Anyway, I can see where people would draw the comparison. It IS a story about kids killing kids in an enclosed area. However I’ve read “The Hunger Games” and I can say that there is absolutely nothing about “Battle Royale” that reminded me of the storyline of “Games.” “Games” follows one teenage girl as she is forced to fight for her life. In “Battle Royale,” there are no developed storylines. It’s just a bunch of 7th graders who are forced to kill off one another and we never really care for any of the characters. I can’t recommend “Battle Royale” because, quite frankly, it’s not a very good movie. It’s more like “Saw” than it is “Hunger Games.” But I CAN see why there have been comparisons made…but that’s all they are…comparisons. I imagine “The Hunger Games” will be a much better film and a lot more interesting than this film could ever hope to be.
Overall Rating: D
Here’s “The Hunger Games” trailer. I’m getting jazzed up already!