Few films have captured the hearts and minds of more new Japanese cinema fans in the past decade than Kinji Fukasaku‘s Battle Royale. Grossing $26 million at the Japanese box office and eventually being sold to 35 territories, it’s considered one of the most successful Japanese films ever made. Now comes word that Toei is planning to repeat that success and capitalize on a successful trend by re-releasing the 2000 film in 3D.
Based on a best-selling 1999 novel by Koushun Takami, the film is set in an alternate timeline in which Japan is on the verge of collapse with a 15% unemployment rate and a generation of delinquent youth threatening to make the problem worse in the near future. In order to combat this, adults pass the Millennium Educational Reform Act, also known as the “BR act”. One class of unruly 9th-grade students learn of this new law the hard way when they’re brought to a remote island and are informed by their teacher, Mr. Kitano (Takeshi Kitano), that their class has been selected through a national lottery to kill each other off. They’re all fitted with explosive collars and are given the rules of the game; the most important being that if more than 1 student remained alive at the end of three days, they’d all be killed.
The film launched the careers of several stars such as Tatsuya Fujiwara, Chiaki Kuriyama, and Kou Shibasaki, among many others. Quentin Tarantino recently listed it as the best movie made in the past 18 years (since his own career began), which probably explains why he memorably cast Kuriyama in his 2003 film Kill Bill.
Fukasaku died in January of 2003. His son, Kenta Fukasaku, is currently supervising the 2D to 3D conversion with a Japanese theatrical release planned for November 20, 2010.