BLOOD-SOAKED Kou Shibasaki in Battle Royale
Credit: Everett Collection

Let’s say that you’ve already devoured Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and are getting twitchy waiting for the movie to open on March 23. What to do? I’m glad you asked. I have just the thing: Battle Royale (2000, Not Rated, 2 hrs., 2 mins.). Over the past decade, Kinji Fukasaku’s ultraviolent Japanese film has amassed a small but rabid cult of fans who have traded bootleg copies on the gray market. But now Battle Royale is finally available on DVD and Blu-ray in an EXTRAS-packed four-disc set. The premise will sound immediately familiar to the Hunger Games horde: In the near future, when unemployment and juvenile delinquency are on the rise, the Japanese government passes an act stipulating that a group of teens chosen by lottery be shipped off to a remote island, outfitted with explosive collars, given weapons, and pitted against one another to fight until there’s one survivor. As the blood spills (and spews and sprays) and the body count rises, some of the teens show compassion, some confess their puppy-love crushes like they’re auditioning for an episode of 90210, and some realize that they really, really enjoy killing. It’s a sick blast. Battle Royale: The Complete Collection features two versions of the original film (you’ll want to watch the longer, uncensored Director’s Cut), the not-as-great 2003 sequel Battle Royale 2: Requiem, and a bunch of making-of features that should keep you busy until Katniss comes calling at the multiplex. In the meantime, let the Battle begin! A

Battle Royale
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