Battle Royale

WSR Score3.5
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Anchor Bay Entertainment
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Kinji Fukasaku & Kenta Fukasaku
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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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. Battle Royale was nominated for 10 Japanese Academy Awards®, launched a global phenomenon, and banned from screens by frightened civic groups and distributors across America. Three years later, the equally disturbing sequel—featuring a new class, new rules, and a brutal terrorist plot by the first film's young survivors—triggered its own tragic firestorm around the world. Now for the first time ever, you can see it all: Experience the entire Battle Royale saga on four discs that forever blasts open one of the most potent, shocking, and savagely influential sagas in motion picture history. (Tricia Spears)

There are no supplements on Disc One, which is the Director's Cut of Battle Royale. Disc Two is the theatrical version of Battle Royale and also contains no special features. Disc Three is the film Battle Royale II: Requiem and also has no special features. Disc Four is a DVD with the following special features: The Making Of Battle Royale (SD 50:21), Battle Royale Press Conference (SD 12:02), "Instructional Video: Birthday Version" (SD 03:04), audition and rehearsal footage (SD 07:12), a Special Effects Comparison featurette (SD 04:17), "Tokyo"International Film Festival 2000" (SD 04:27), a Battle Royale documentary (SD 12:09), the basketball scene rehearsals (SD 08:40), a behind-the-scenes featurette (SD 10:09), filming on-set (SD 11:01), the original theatrical trailer, a special edition TV spot, and the Tarantino version TV spot.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture appears to be transferred from a print, as occasional speckles and pops appear. Still, the picture appears naturally rendered with an overall natural cinematic look. The color palette is nicely balanced with generally subdued hues and natural fleshtones. While there is a slight filmic grain, resolution is revealing in detail. Contrast is generally well balanced with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. These picture characteristics are applicable to both Battle Royale and Battle Royale II: Requiem. As a cult favorite, the picture quality is sure to satisfy fans. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack (an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 dub is also included) in Battle Royale sounds dynamic and exhibits an aggressive enveloping surround soundfield presence. The music score is presented with a wide and deep soundstage that envelops the side and back surround channels. Atmospherics and sound effects are nicely energized with both bold and nuanced application, at times supported by energized deep .1 LFE bass. Gunshots are particularly impressive in their sonic realism. In one scene, drenching rains saturate the soundfield. The added two channels are back surround channels, not 90-degree side channels. Still, they enhance the impression of a large soundfield experience with effective directionalized placement of sounds. This is a well-crafted presentation that is sure to please fans. Note that the theatrical version includes only a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack with no English language option.
"Battle Royale II: Requiem"'s soundtrack is limited to a Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel presentation. Still, the sonic impact is often powerful, with sonic excitement. The music score is even more prominent, with deep bass foundation and an enveloping, immersive soundfield presence. Atmospherics and sound effects sound dynamic and are presented with directional impact in the surround channels. Dialogue is crisp and intelligible, though, no English dub is available. This is a superb double feature presentation that is the definitive release.
(Gary Reber)