Battle Royale (2000)

1h 54m / NR / Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

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Early in the series, REWIND screened what we called “the best video game movie that’s not based on a video game.” That movie was Bloodsport, and we stand by that statement. Battle Royale, though, is the best video-game movie that wasn’t a video game until almost two decades after its release. 2017 and ’18 have seen a spate of games based on the basic narrative model pioneered by Battle Royale (a bunch of high school kids are imprisoned on an island, sprinkled with weaponry, and told to kill or be killed), and the popularity of those games is unfathomable. Millions watch them being streamed every day. Teachers are reporting that they’re ruining classrooms from coast to coast. Even if you don’t know why we wrote that stuff above, you will have probably seen the memes, or spied kids doing the flossing dance, or something. But games aside, Battle Royale deserves all the attention it gets. A punchy, fun action romp, it’s got the sense of humor to stand up to all its stylish action and wild gore. Think of it as a J-pop Lord of the Flies — or Hunger Games with comic relief and a hard R rating (in fact, Battle Royale didn’t have an official theatrical release in the US for years after its premiere, out of fear that it couldn’t get past the ratings board without huge edits). A stand-out supporting role from legend Takeshi Kitano doesn’t hurt either. Join REWIND for (Fortnite) the film Quentin Tarantino called his favorite (Fortnite PUBG) movie released since he began his directing (Fortnite) career.