Battel Royale schill
Thu Jan 11 05:49:46 EST 2001

Aaron says I am taking "an unconsidered shot" at Fukasaku for implying that
he wanted to "make as much money by just catering to the desire to view
blood and gore." I rather doubt that Fukasaku ordered more prop blood just
cash in at the box office -- his fee would be the same whether he expended
ten liters or a hundred. He did, however, sign on for this project of his
own volition, which makes him as responsible for the outcome as the Toei
executives who gave the greenlight. Also, whatever he did thirty years ago,
however great or ground-breaking, has no bearing on the goodness, awfulness
or anything-else-ness of this particular film. Critically, it should stand
or fall on its own merits, no?

I'm well aware that Fukasaku had reasons for making this film other than
venting on teenagers, but the results on the screen are what count, are they
not? And what I saw I on the screen was the offing of forty or so
fifteen-year-olds with a certain bloody-minded glee and, in most cases, with
about as much motivation and character development as you would find in the
average stomp-'em-till-they-vaporize arcade game. That, I'm afraid, rubbed
me the wrong way -- all apologies to Fukasaku sensei and his fans. I also
apologize for not being filled with delight that teenagers are lining up to
see this film. The Japanese film industry certainly needs a boost -- but I
can think of better ones.

Mark Schilling

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