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Review: Battle Royale (2000)

A not-so-distant future society
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  February 21, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

On the eve of the much-anticipated release of The Hunger Games, one can't help but draw comparisons between Suzanne Collins's YA series and Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale. In a not-so-distant future society that has devolved into chaos, Japan's youth run amok, Clockwork Orange–style, and the government has passed an act decreeing that one unruly grade-school class will face off in a battle from which only one will emerge. Sound familiar? It is, and it isn't. Battle Royale is The Hunger Gamesnot diluted for young audiences. The efficiency and detachment with which the young mercenaries pick one another off is chilling. Part visceral action, part unsettling social commentary on our capacity for bloodlust and self-preservation at any cost, Battle Royale's human collateral is seen as just that. The film falters only in failing to establish an emotional connection with any of the young warriors — no Katniss or Peeta here — but I suspect that was intentional.

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