Battle Royale is a stunning film, based on a book by Koushun Takami, in which Japan implements the BR Act creating a deadly game where high school students are trapped on an island and forced to kill each other. The film was fantastic and dealt with fascinating themes. The film never pulls any punches and the violence throughout is brutal and extreme.
Fukasaku lived through WWII in Japan, seeing atrocious death and devastation and this had a big influence on how he approached the film. The island can also be seen as a microcosm of modern Japan and this blending of Japan’s history and modern issues helped make the film such an interesting and layered experience.
As is probably obvious, I am a huge fan of Fukasaku (check out Battles Without Honor and Humanity if you haven’t already) and really love Battle Royale, a film I rewatched at the cinema multiple times, but this re-release doesn’t particularly interest even me.
We have seen with films such as Clash of the Titans how horrible this 3D conversion process can be if done poorly. Even if this conversion is done well I cannot really see the point. Whatever your feelings are regarding 3D, surely anyone can appreciate that it should be a choice made by the director at the time and not a lazy effort after the release to cash in on a new technology. I have as much interest in seeing a 3D version of Battle Royale as I do a colourised version of Citizen Kane.
At the time of Kinji Fukasaku’s death in 2003 he had begun work on a sequel and this film was ultimately completed by his son Kenta. Although I have a soft spot for the sequel, Battle Royale II: Requiem, partly due to how much I enjoy Riki Takeuchi in the film, it really is a very flawed film and does not come close to standing up against the first film. According to Screen, Kenta is actually supervising the conversion of Battle Royale to 3D which could mean more care is taken in its conversion but he did pretty much fail with the sequel so even if this news excites you, you probably shouldn’t hold out too much hope.