This overrated splatter-schlocker fluffs a solid-enough satire on political and personal morality by burying it beneath layers of modish ultraviolence.
Faced with a youth immune to writing lines and detention, the Japanese government passes the 'Battle Royale' act, which kicks off the annual spectacle of a randomly selected high-school class being dumped on a remote island and forced to fight to the death until only one student is left standing. The geeks buy it first, followed by the ones you least expect, with the charismatic kids and dark horses being left to slug it out with a couple of sadistic stooges.
What's needed is someone likable to really root for. The extra footage offers a much-needed pre-battle focus on a couple of the friendships, but World War Two veteran director Kinji Fukasaku has a bit too much fun wallowing in the brutality and his occasional touches of humanity feel mawkish and tacked-on.