The Battle Royale is a game where 42 Japanese middle school students are sent to an island and forced to kill each other, with the only survivor being allowed to live. After dispatching the psychotic Kiriyama (Masanobu Ando), former winner Kawada (Taro Yamamoto) then "kills" the other two survivors, Noriko (Aki Maeda) and Shuya (Tatsuya Fujiwara), whom he has been protecting over the course of the game. The couple's "death" is, in reality, a clever ruse to trick Kitano (Beat Takeshi), overseer of the Battle Royale. They kill Kitano and leave the island on a boat. Mortally wounded, Kawada dies en route to the mainland. Back home, the now-fugitive Noriko and Shuya urge all youths who wish to defy authority to "run!"
Thanks, John A! (and master.r, Brian S, James T and Alaisdair D, who all waited patiently as I stalled on uploading this one. It really looks like it'll never get released in the US.)
EXTRA LONG VERSION:
In the future, the youth of Japan revolted against the social hierarchy. As a result of the unsuccessful uprising, the government has imposed the Battle Royale act. Each year, a high school class is randomly selected to be flown to an island and fight to the last survivor. The winner of the tournament becomes a national celebrity.
We flash forward to a desolate school. Noriko Nakagawa (Aki Maeda), an innocent girl, walks into her classroom to find her teacher Kitano (Takeshi Kitano) alone. Her entire class has decided to play hookey, not at all respectful of the school system. Nakagawa, embarrassed by her classmates, apologizes to Kitano. As Kitano leaves the room, he is attacked by a schoolboy named Nobu, who slashes Kitano's leg before fleeing the school. We also learn that student Shuya Nanahara (Tatsuya Fujiwara) has discovered that his mentally unstable father has committed suicide, leaving a note that he believes in Nanahara's future.
We flash forward a year to discover that the class is embarking on a field trip with their new teacher. It is clear that both Nanahara and Nobu love Nakagawa. Soon, the entire class collapses, and Nanahara is conscious long enough to see officials in gas masks board the bus.
The class awakens on an abandoned island, along with two mysterious "transfer" students, Kawada (Tarô Yamamoto) and Kiriyama (Masanobu Andô). Kitano appears, stating he has had their teacher killed for resisting the program and that they have been selected for Battle Royale. Kitano also kills two students, one being Nobu, before explaining the rules of the game. Each student will get a random weapon (ranging from pot lids to a GPS to machine guns) and supplies. Each student also has a collar attached to them that will explode if they wander into a "danger zone" and will automatically detonate in several days if the game hasn't ended. The students must fight until there is only one left. Before the students are released on the island, Nanahara vows to protect Nakagawa (both out of love for her and in memory of Nobu).
The students have wildly varying reactions to their predicament. Some immediately turn hostile, especially a young female student named Mitsuko (Ko Shibasaki). Others seek to find away off the island; commit suicide rather than participate; hide from all other students, or; attempt to settle personal vendettas from school days. It is also revealed that the transfer student Kiriyama voluntarily signed up for the tournament and is a vicious and sadistic killer. Several computer nerds Mimura, Ijima and Yutaka manage to discover how the collars work and devise a plan to take out the game headquarters by hacking into the computer system, disabling the collars, and building a bomb to blow up the command center.
Nakagawa and Nanahara are attacked by a couple of students, with at least one potentially dying by Nanahara's hand (although Nanahara says it was an accident). The pair are about to be overcome when they are saved by Kawada, who also appears to be a skilled killer. The three eventually form a bond. It is revealed that transfer student Kawada had been the victor of a past tournament and had been forced to return to participate in this one. He tells how he and his girlfriend were the last two left, and he intended to be blown up by his collar rather than kill her. His girlfriend attacks him and he instinctively kills her. His girlfriend died in his arms while thanking him. Kawada says he wants to learn why his girlfriend forced his hand, and also claims to have a way off the island. They are then attacked by Kiriyama, and Nanahara draws his attention away from Nakagawa and Kawada, though barely escaping with his life.
Nanahara is nursed back to health by a band of female classmates who he invites to escape with them. One of the girls, however, tries to poison Nanahara, believing he purposefully killed their fellow classmate earlier. One of the other girls unknowingly eats the poisoned food, and when she dies, paranoia reigns and all the girls end up killing each other, with the culprit committing suicide. Nanahara is crushed by this turn of events, and leaves to find Kawada and Nakagawa. Meanwhile, almost every other student is killed by either Kiriyama or Mitsuko. The two sadists finally face each other, with Kiriyama emerging victorious thanks to a bulletproof vest he acquired from another victim. Before she dies, Mitsuko confesses that she only killed because she had been a loser prior to the tournament and didn't want to be a loser anymore. We also learn that Kitano has a strange obsession with Nakagawa, as she was the only student who was nice to him before the tournament.
Meanwhile, the hackers have built the bomb and successfully hacked into the government system. They drive the bomb to headquarters, but are intercepted by Kiriyama. They attempt to kill him, but are unsuccessful. Before he dies, Mitsuko detonates the bomb, which blinds Kiriyama. Kawada, Nanahara and Nakagawa arrive too late to help the hackers. Kawada, realizing that Kiriyama is weakened, confronts and kills him, though suffering major injuries in the process. He then turns to Nanahara and Nakagawa, saying he intends to kill them as his means of escape (they are the only three left). We then hear two gunshots and the pair's vital signs no longer register on their collars. Kitano dismisses the government agents and waits for Kawada's arrival at headquarters.
Once Kawada arrives, Kitano attempts to detonate his collar, properly deducing that Kawada had devised a way to nullify them. Nanahara and Nakagawa then walk up, showing they are alive and well. Kitano explains that his life is without purpose and even his daughter hates him. The only person he believes to be pure is Nakagawa and he draws a gun on her, saying he wants to die by her hand (thus destroying her purity). Nanahara, remembering his father's note saying he would succeed, ends up shooting Kitano. Kitano had even painted a picture with all the teens dead and Nakagawa the winner. It turns out Kitano's gun was a squirtgun, and he simply wanted to commit suicide. Before Kitano dies, he calls his daughter and essentially blames her for his sadness. The three then board a ship and begin sailing for the main land. Kawada's injuries are too severe and he ends up dying out in the ocean. Before he dies, he realizes his girlfriend thanked him because the tournament revealed he was a true friend to her, just as Nanahara and Nakagawa were true friends to him.
Once back on the mainland, Nanahara and Nakagawa are branded as fugitives. Nakagawa recovers the knife that Nobu had used to stab Kitano years ago (now, the knife is a symbol of rebellion). The two then hold hands, and begin to run.
Order of Deaths:
Thanks Evan B!