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Set in a future where economic crisis and overpopulation threaten the prospects of the nation of Japan, the government passes a shady new law called the Millennium Educational Reform Act, better known as the Battle Royale Act. This dystopian-born edict demands that each year a class of students be abducted, affixed with tracking devices, and pitched onto an unfamiliar terrain where they will be forced to slaughter their peers to survive. 42 students enter, but only 1 will leave breathing. (If you've been following The Hunger Games fervor, this premise should sound awfully familiar.) This is the plotline of the 2000 Japanese thriller Battle Royale, a movie so gruesome and gleeful in its violence that it attracted public outcry from frantic parents and conservative politicians alike.
Despite the controversy—or more likely because of it--Battle Royale became a massive hit all across Asia. However, the gritty flick never garnered a U.S. release largely due to the fact America was still reeling from the real-life horrors of the Columbine school shooting. However, now that The Hunger Games is soon to bring government mandated teen v. teen slaughter into Stateside theaters, Anchor Bay had decided its about time this gory allegory got its shot with American audiences, and so have spearheaded a Blu-ray and DVD release. It seems a smart move. A similar release in the U.K. in 2010 proved wildly successful for Arrow Video, who doubled the production of its Limited Edition Blu-ray to keep pace with pre-sale demand. And The Hunger Games is sure to lure new fans to this twisted tale.
Preparing for the Blu-ray's fast-approaching spring release, Anchor Bay has unveiled on Yahoo a tantalizing trailer, with title cards that boast the film's exclusivity ("Never before available in North America") and its crazy cool street cred ("My favorite movie of all time," Quentin Tarantino). But perhaps the most mesmerizing aspect of this pulse-pounding trailer is the sharp shift from sweet school children to manically smiling murderers.
Battle Royale will be available on DVD and Blu-ray March 20, 2012, but you can pre-order your copy now on Amazon.