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Battle Royale Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Bloodhounds will lick their lips experiencing the re-launch of Kinji Fukasaku's trendsetting Battle Royale (2000) with 3D effects, which basically make the splatter scenes gorier and stickier.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    [Fukasaku's] genius is finding the overlap between teenage dreams and nightmares, between the intensity of first love and the terror of extinction.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    American fans of "The Hunger Games" may not embrace - or even be permitted to see - Battle Royale, which is too bad. It is in many ways a better movie and in any case a fascinating companion, drawn from a parallel cultural universe. It is a lot uglier and also, perversely, a lot more fun.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Departing from two decades' worth of domestic and personal dramas and returning to his roots as Japan's maestro of mayhem, Kinji Fukasaku has delivered a brutal punch to the collective solar plexus with one of his most outrageous and timely films.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Ultraviolent Japanese cult movie came before Hunger Games.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Battle Royale is a super-violent Japanese sci-fi film from 2000, telling roughly the same story as The Hunger Games, but with a different perspective. The fights and killings are more over-the-top and cartoonish, with a great deal more blood. Some sexual violence is implied, and teen crushes develop though nothing intimate occurs. Language, in the English subtitles, contains a few strong words such as "f--k" and "s--t," and teens are seen both drinking and smoking. Thanks to high praise from some noted directors and critics, this movie is a considered a cult classic and may be on a must-see list for cinema-savvy teens. (Note: there is a 114-minute theatrical cut and a 122-minute, unrated cut.)

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. How does the movie use it, and what is the effect? Does it make you cheer or squirm? Or both? Could the same story be told with less violence?
  • What are the differences and similarities between Battle Royale and The Hunger Games? How do the messages of each movie compare?
  • Are there any strong female role models in this movie, compared with Katniss of The Hunger Games?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: There's an anti-totalitarian message that warns against brainwashing and the failure of critical thinking. Authority must be questioned sometimes.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Almost all of the teens fall very quickly into the game, killing their friends and schoolmates without a second thought. Even the good ones who attempt to resist eventually find themselves embracing violence or illicit activities to survive. The adults, on the other hand, are almost purely evil.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: The violence in the movie is over-the-top and unrealistic, but still very intense. It includes knives and stabbing, arrows, crossbows, guns of all types, shooting, grenades, explosions, fighting, poison, severed and/or exploding heads, an ax to the head, suicide, arguing, and lots of blood and gore. A teen discovers his father's dead body (hanging after a suicide). A teacher smacks (and kills) his teen students. A mother accepts money to allow a man to sexually abuse her daughter. A teen tries (and fails) to force himself on another teen girl.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Many of the teens nurse crushes on one another, but most are very shy about admitting it. Some implied sexual violence.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is in English subtitles, and foul language doesn't really start to appear until the last third. Words include "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "Goddamn," and "asshole."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A bottle of Tanqueray gin is seen in a flashback. Signs for Coca-Cola and Tower Records are seen in the epilogue.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teens are seen smoking occasionally, and drinking from a flask. Adults also drink alcohol from time to time.