Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 film adaptation of Koushun Takami's 1999 Battle Royale novel is credited with popularising a concept that is now a pop-culture mainstay – the “every man for himself” idea behind movie hits like The Hunger Games and The Purge and staggeringly successful videogames including Fortnite, PUBG, Fall Guys and countless others. It's entirely possible that the genre wouldn't have become so popular without Fukasaku's Battle Royale, which makes it a more than fitting recipient for a fancy 5-disc collector's edition.
The first two discs are dedicated to the original Battle Royale, with new 4K transfers of both the theatrical and extended Director's Cut. The remaster does look a little grainy in places, particularly during darker scenes, but generally makes everything look incredibly sharp and clear, to the point where you can clearly (almost too clearly) see the textures and detail of fabrics, scenery and, of course, blood and gore. Battle Royale II: Requiem sadly doesn't get the same treatment, presented here on standard Blu-ray, but again in both theatrical and Director's Cut versions. BRII hasn't always been the easiest or most affordable film to get hold of on Blu-ray over the years, and neither has the original film's soundtrack (included here on disc 5), so it's a real treat to see everything brought together in one place.
Most of the extras from previous releases are included too, along with a few new features. The most interesting piece of new content is the half-hour interview with Kenta Fukasaku, the director of BRII, who speaks warmly, enthusiastically and occasionally very candidly about his efforts to create a sequel that would live up to expectations while also honouring the vision and memory of his late father, the director of Battle Royale, who passed away just as work on BRII was beginning. Elsewhere, the audio commentary from film critics Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp is as informative as you could possibly want it to be, but some may find that the new 42-minute talking heads feature runs its course after 5 minutes or so... There's also a 120-page book, reversible poster, booklet of essays and archival articles and a set of trump cards – unfortunately none of these were provided for review, but you're generally in very good hands with the folks at Arrow so it's pretty safe to assume that everything's up to their usual standard. Overall, while it would have been fantastic to see both films remastered instead of just the original, this set is still a very easy recommendation for Battle Royale fans.
Release date: 26th April