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[Theatrical Title - TOP - Director's Cut Title - BOTTOM]

(aka "Batoru Rowaiairu" )

 

directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Japan 2000

 

Pop quiz: What would happen if someone, say a Japanese filmmaker named Kinji Fukasaku, threw TV’s Survivor, cinema’s The Running Man, and literature’s Lord of the Flies into a big cinematic pot and stirred? Yup, you’d have Battle Royale, a Japanese film about a class of ninth graders who, according to a newly passed law called the BR (Battle Royale), must go to an obscure island and participate in an decidedly sick and deadly game.

***

In a future where society is on the verge of collapse, the government takes drastic action against the problem of rebellious teenagers in this violent sci-fi opus from Japan. In the year 2002, Japan's economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and massive unemployment and inflation have thrown most adults into a state of chaos; the nation's youth culture responds with unprecedented violence, delinquency, and truancy. Desperate to restore order, the Japanese parliament responds by creating the Millennial Reform School Act, in which groups of junior high students are selected at random, sent to an isolated island, and forced to play a rigorous war game, in which all but one of their number are killed. Kitano (Beat Takeshi) is an embittered school instructor who guides the 44 students of the Zentsuji Middle School's Class B through the deadly game known as "Battle Royale," as they struggle to survive against the elements and each other. Battle Royale proved to be both successful and highly controversial in Japan, where it set box-office records and prompted political leaders to call for stricter controls on violence in Japanese entertainment; the film was initially rated R-15 (no one under 15 admitted), unusual for violent films in Japan, though director Kinji Fukasaku later prepared a re-edited version that earned a more lenient classification.

***

In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation's youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. Chiaki Kuriyama (KILL BILL) and screen legend Takeshi Kitano (BOILING POINT, BROTHER) star in the movie that has been argued, acclaimed and banned around the world. More than a decade later, it remains one of the most savage, shocking and emotionally powerful films of all time. Now experience the complete Director's Cut of Kinji Fukasaku's uncompromising masterpiece -- nominated for 10 Japanese Academy Awards -- available uncensored and unrated for the first time ever in America.

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 16 December 2000

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Arrow Video (3-disc LE - Theatrical Cut + Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Arrow Video (3-disc LE - Theatrical Cut + Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Screen Caps!

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Video
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Anchor Bay
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime

Theatrical: 1:49:08 (4% PAL speedup)

Director's Cut: 1:56:52 (4% PAL speedup)

Theatrical: 1:53:51.866

Director's Cut: 2:01:56.350

Director's Cut: 2:02:09.322
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate (Theatrical): 5.53 mb/s

Average Bitrate (Director's Cut): 5.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Theatrical

Disc Size: 34,921,807,037 bytes

Feature Size: 30,576,715,776 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

 

Director's Cut

Disc Size: 35,266,117,870 bytes

Feature Size: 32,246,071,296 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

Director's Cut

Disc Size: 40,768,956,247 bytes

Feature Size: 39,971,192,832 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut)

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video (Director's Cut Blu-ray)

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video (Director's Cut)

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video (Director's Cut Blu-ray)

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (Director's Cut Blu-ray)

 

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 4375 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4375 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio Japanese 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit

 

DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 3813 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3813 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio Japanese 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit

Dolby TrueHD Audio Japanese 4318 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4318 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3703 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3703 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Subtitles English, none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• The Making of BATTLE ROYALE (4:3; 50:20)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:46)
• DISC THREE:
• Premiere Press Conference (4:3; 12:01)
• Opening Day at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre (4:3; 14:25)
• The Slaughter of 42 High School Students (4:3; 10:08)
• 1 TV Ad, 1 TV Promo, 1 TV Commercial, 2 Promos
• The Correct Way to Fight in Battle Royale (4:3; 2:34)
• Royale Rehearsals (4:3; 7:10)
• Masamichi Amano Conducts BATTLE ROYALE (4:3; 9:45)
• Special Effects Composites (4:3; 10:16)
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 12:08), Filming on Set (4:3; 10:59)
• Trailers for BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY, DEADLY FIGHT IN HIROSHIMA, PROXY WAR, POLICE
• TACTICS, FINAL EPISODE, TEARS OF VIOLENCE, and GRAVEYARD OF HONOR

 

• DISC TWO:
• Special Edition Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:02)
• TV Spot: Tarentino Version (4:3; 0:31)
• Shooting the Special Edition (4:3; 8:39)
• Takeshi Kitano Interview (4:3; 11:22)
• Conducting BATTLE ROYALE with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (4:3; 7:09)
• The Correct Way to Make BATTLE ROYALE Birthday Version (4:3; 3:02)
• Tokyo International Film Festival Presentation (4:3; 4:26)
• PAPER EXTRAS: 32-page comic, 36 page booklet, 16 page booklet, 5x7 postcards, fold-out reversible poster


DVD Release Date: 13 December 2010
Collector's Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

 

Theatrical

Disc Size: 34,921,807,037 bytes

Feature Size: 30,576,715,776 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

 

Director's Cut

Disc Size: 35,266,117,870 bytes

Feature Size: 32,246,071,296 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
Blu-ray ONE (Theatrical Cut):
• The Making of BATTLE ROYALE (4:3; 52:32)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:52)

 

• Blu-ray TWO (Director's Cut):
• Special Edition Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:05)
• TV Spot: Tarentino Version (4:3; 0:32)
• Shooting the Special Edition (4:3; 9:01)
• Takeshi Kitano Interview (4:3; 11:51)
• Conducting BATTLE ROYALE with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (4:3; 7:27)
• The Correct Way to Make BATTLE ROYALE Birthday Version (4:3; 3:09)
• Tokyo International Film Festival Presentation (4:3; 4:37)
 

 DISC THREE (DVD):
• Premiere Press Conference (4:3; 12:01)
• Opening Day at the Marunouchi Toei Movie Theatre (4:3; 14:25)
• The Slaughter of 42 High School Students (4:3; 10:08)
• 1 TV Ad, 1 TV Promo, 1 TV Commercial, 2 Promos
• The Correct Way to Fight in Battle Royale (4:3; 2:34)
• Royale Rehearsals (4:3; 7:10)
• Masamichi Amano Conducts BATTLE ROYALE (4:3; 9:45)
• Special Effects Composites (4:3; 10:16)
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 12:08), Filming on Set (4:3; 10:59)
• Trailers for BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY, DEADLY FIGHT IN HIROSHIMA, PROXY WAR, POLICE
• TACTICS, FINAL EPISODE, TEARS OF VIOLENCE, and GRAVEYARD OF HONOR

 

• PAPER EXTRAS: 32-page comic, 36 page booklet, 16 page booklet, 5x7 postcards, fold-out reversible poster
 

Blu-ray Release Date: December 13th, 2010
Collector's Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

 

Director's Cut

Disc Size: 40,768,956,247 bytes

Feature Size: 39,971,192,832 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
None
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 20th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Anchor - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - (March 2012) - This is a 1.78:1 1080P transfer and this Blu-ray disc contains only the Director’s cut of the film. The simultaneously released Battle Royale Complete Collection (Blu-ray/DVD) by Anchor Bay has an extra DVD disc of supplements and features both cuts (Theatrical and Director's Cut) of the film as well as the sequel, Battle Royale II.

I'm unsure of what the film should look like - but the new Anchor Bay Blu-ray is notably brighter than the Arrow DC in HD. It has a slight technical edge and, personally, I prefer the appearance with skin tones and colors looking much truer. Contrast improves and has more layers.

The original Japanese language is in a capable 7.1 Dolby TrueHD at a dynamic 4318 kbps. It sounds fine if marginally more hollow than the Arrow DTS-HD Master. The Masamichi Amano score is very pleasing - tight and supportive of the film. There are surprising separations and a healthy bass response. Anchor Bay have included an, untried, English DUB also in lossless and optional English subtitles.

There are no extras at all.

I suspect that true fans who don't own the Arrow, or who are very discerning about the image, should nab the Battle Royale Complete Collection (Blu-ray/DVD). It seems to offer a significant value at only $12 more - at the writing of this review.  Again, it offers an extra DVD disc of supplements and features both cuts (Theatrical and Director's Cut) of the film as well as the sequel, Battle Royale II. Those who like the film or who have not yet indulged could opt for this bare-bones Anchor Bay Blu-ray. I always tend to see a little more in this film each time I watch - it never grows really stale.

***

ADDITION: Arrow Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - (December 2010) - We've compared three previous SD-DVD versions of Battle Royale (both theatrical HERE and director's cut HERE). Both Arrow DVD and Blu-ray packages are 'Limited Editions' and comprise three separate discs. Like the DVD set the Blu-ray has the 2 features (Theatrical and Director's Cut) residing on individual discs (for the BD they are obviously Blu-ray discs) and like the other boxset - the 3rd disc is a DVD, apparently duplicated in both editions, including more supplements.

Eric's comments below are valid about the theatrical and DC appeared being  separated mostly by marginal brightness. Otherwise there is not a lot between the same format transfer excepting the additional 6-minutes. Both Blu-ray transfers are dual-layered with decent bitrates and are 1080P. Unlike the DVD set these are in full running time - not influenced by PAL speed-up. The Blu-ray image looks a bit more polished, less digital artifacts and some subtle depth. It's improvement over SD will be more noticeable to those with discerning systems and who identify and are sensitive to PAL speed-up. It is not the crispest video we have seen from the format but I believe it is faithful to the best available sources. Both Blu-ray versions are clean and appeared notably more dynamic - easily identifiable as high-definition.

The audio takes a significant jump forward - both with lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master tracks, in original Japanese, at a healthy 4375 kbps for theatrical and 3813 kbps for the DC. I sampled scenes from both Blu-rays and couldn't distinguish significant differences but the aggression, bass and separation had some solid intent. This is definitely the most impacting I have ever heard Battle Royale sound. Both editions sport optional English subtitles (see samples below) and I can verify that both Blu-rays are region free with all supplements playable on a region A-locked player.

Extras are discussed below however the Blu-ray has them with no PAL speed-up and some are in HD. While Eric and I have only the screener discs - we are comfortable in publishing that included are a 32-page comic, 36 page booklet, 16 page booklet, 5x7 postcards and fold-out reversible poster - as advertised. Definitely this is the definitive package for fans of Battle Royale. Those keen should snap this extensive boxset up as I have a feeling the 10,000 limit won't last long - although may eventually be, further, expanded as the film has such a huge following.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: While none of the video extras are new, Arrow's Limited Edition appears to have combined every stray extra feature from the various DVD editions - with English subtitle translation - combined with HD mastered transfers of the Theatrical Cut and Director's Cuts (a Blu-ray Limited edition - expanded from 5000 to 10,000, the DVD edition has only 5000 copies). Several - but not all - of the extras were available on Tartan's previous Region 2 NTSC-encoded 2-disc set but that transfer was single-layer. Unlike their upcoming Blu-ray of DEEP RED, the Theatrical Cut and Director's Cut appear to be different transfers rather than reconstructions. Contrast is ever-so-slightly different between the two transfers with the theatrical cut looking a tad brighter (although black levels look better than the previous compared editions going by the screenshots). 5.1 options are immersing (both versions also feature a 2.0 stereo downmix). Disc 1 features the 50 minute making-of documentary and the film's trailer. The rest of the extras are scattered randomly between Disc 2 and 3 (the special edition trailer is on Disc 2 with the director's cut but the promos and TV spots are on Disc 3 while one featurette about the score is on Disc 2 and another on Disc 3).

The Disc 3 extras have a "Play All" option (which would have been nice for the Disc 2 extras). A Yakuza trailer gallery is also featured on Disc 3 and all of the trailers are subtitled. A 3 disc Special Edition from Arrow has been announced for February 2011. It appears that the only features limited to this set that will not be carried over to the 2011 set are some of the essays in the booklet (none of the paper extras were supplied with the check discs for review). Non-Blu-ray fans of the film who want to upgrade (or who don't have a decent version yet) might pick up either version while diehard fans will want to go for the Limited version. The Limited version retails for ₤2 more than the 2011 edition but the pre-order price for the limited is currently less than the pre-order of the February 2011 one at Amazon.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


 Menus
(
Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

(Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - LEFT vs. Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Subtitle Sample


1) Warner (France) - Region 2- PAL - TOP

2) Tartan - R0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universe - R3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Starmax (Korea) Director's Cut - Region 0 - NTSC - SIXTH

7) Tartan Director's Cut - Region 0 - PAL - SEVENTH

8) Cream (Korea) Director's Cut -  Region 0 - NTSC - EIGHTH

9) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - NINTH

10) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TENTH

11) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 



1) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Arrow Video (Theatrical Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

1) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow Video (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Director's Cut) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras: Arrow DVD + Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Video
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Anchor Bay
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 

 




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