As I’ve recently found myself with plenty of free time, I finally decided to start working through my backlog of movies I’ve been meaning to watch. Kinji Fukasku’s 2000 sci-fi/thriller Battle Royale was first on my list. My only knowledge prior to watching the film was vague references to it when talking about The Hunger Games. However, Battle Royale stands on its own. The movie is set in a future in which children have become such delinquents that the government has decided to randomly select one class each year to fight on a deserted island until only one student is left alive. The movie follows Shuya Nananahara and Noriko Nakagawa as they struggle to survive against their classmates. Overall, this film is great. It has compelling characters and some really stand out performances, specifically Ko Shaibasaki, who plays the disturbing and deadly Mitsuko Souma. Another standout was Chiaki Kuriyama, who Tarantino fans may recognize as Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill Vol. 1. The only issue I really had with the film is that some of the deaths played out in a corny way, where the actor would say something and then immediately fall dead, tongue hanging out and all. Battle Royale is perfect for anyone who likes something similar to a Quentin Tanrintino movie. You can rent it on Amazon or on Itunes, or wherever you choose to access it from 😉
The Fast and The Furious
The Fast and The Furious franchise is, without a doubt, one everyone has experienced at one point or another. Whether you’re a fan that goes opening night, or someone who got bored and changed the channel to FX, you’ve probably seen a Fast and Furious movie. While F&F now consists of super soldiers and people driving cars off planes, it started as a humble movie about racing custom cars and stealing 18-wheelers— two of California’s favorite pastimes. I decided to take this quarantine as a chance to rewatch every Fast and Furious movie, starting of course with the first — The Fast and The Furious. This movie can only be described as the most aggressively early-2000s movie to ever grace the silver screen. At a time when men’s fashion was baggy, these characters (except for Dom) were all wearing the baggiest white tees, and the baggiest long shorts. All the cars are that weird curvy shape that was distinct to both the early 2000s and Covenant vehicles from Halo. The Asian characters were either aggressively AZN or softcore Yakuza. Every scene includes either a DMX song or a nu-metal song. Paul Walker says stuff like “cuh”. Japanese cars were viewed as exotic race cars as opposed to safe family cars. Bad CGI. Michelle Rodriguez plays herself. All these point aggressively and squarely to the early aughts. You can take that as fond nostalgia, or outdated stereotyping, but, in my humble opinion, it’s a masterpiece of a time capsule. In fact, my only beef with this movie is the fact that none of the characters in this movie are the same as they are in literally any of the other movies, the biggest culprit being Dominic “I got family” Toretto, who in this movie says he lives to drive, and doesn’t care about his team. Could we chalk that up to character development? Sure, but it just feels wrong. You can find The Fast and the Furious for rent online on Amazon Prime and ITunes.