Battle Royale 3D: Berlin Review

Courtesy Everett Collection
3D conversion of a classic teen massacre thriller raises the gore level.

The re-launch of Kinji Fukasaku's trendsetting Battle Royale (2000) with 3D effects, which basically make the splatter scenes gorier and stickier.

BERLIN -- Bloodhounds will lick their lips experiencing the re-launch of Kinji Fukasaku's trendsetting Battle Royale (2000) with 3D effects, which basically make the splatter scenes gorier and stickier. Widespread familiarity with the work ensured early sales to most major international territories at AFM.

The digital conversion was overseen by Fukasaku's son Kenta, who wrote the screenplay and also directed Battle Royale 2. As the first undertaking of its kind in Japan, there are pros and cons. The film that pioneered the concept of the teen death game still retains its raw visceral power and its provocative take on the clash between adulthood and youth, despite or precisely because of numerous spin-offs (lead actor Tatsuya Fujiwara starred in two of them: Kaiji and The Incite Mill). The downside is that since it was not made with 3D technology in mind, only certain actions or objects were suitable for conversion. So do not expect the non-stop and super-realist effects you see in Avatar.

The plot may now sound familiar even to those who have not seen the film. While on a school trip, a 7th grade class find themselves kidnapped and dumped on an evacuated island. They discover their homeroom teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano) is the enforcer of a government a new law decreeing they have three days to kill each other till last person standing.

Since massacre is the order of the day, the majority of 3D effects are of blood being sprayed across the screen. The droplets are so graphic one starts checking one's clothes for blood stains. Basically, any kind of small fragment that flies towards the frame works well, such as water droplets in a shot of crashing waves, or the gunfire and light rays emitted from machine guns and bombs that burst out like soldering in a shower of gold.

Other 3D rendering of flora and fauna or architecture stand out less, and have less to do with enhancing the plot, especially individual bushes that stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of the shrubbery, projecting an unnatural perspective.

All in all, this may not be the most eye-opening 3D experience, but at least it does not intrude on the narrative flow.

Venue: Berlin International Film Festival
Sales: Toei Co. Ltd.
Production: Battle Royale Production Committee
Cast: Takeshi Kitano,Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Kou Shibasaki, Sosuke Takaoka, Chieaki Kuriyama
Director-producer: Kinji Fukasaku
Screenwriter-producer: Kenta Fukasaku
Based on the novel by Koushun Takami
Producers: Kimio Kataoka, Chie Kobayashi, Toshio Nabeshima, Masumi Okada
Director of photography: Katsumi Yanagijima
Production designer: Kyoko Heya
Music: Masamichi Amano
Editor: Hirohide Abe
No rating, 119 minutes