Battle Royale parents guide: This Japanese dystopian thriller is not kid-friendly

The 2001 Japanese thriller is free to stream on Prime Video -- and is not for the kids.
In this photo illustration a Prime Video logo seen displayed...
In this photo illustration a Prime Video logo seen displayed... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Easter Sunday is a time to spend with family and veg out after a delicious dinner. That means you’re looking for a movie to watch, and Battle Royale is available on Prime Video today, free to stream.

If you love The Hunger Games, you may want to watch another dystopian thriller that follows a similar format. In fact, when The Hunger Games came out, it was described as a modern-day retelling of Battle Royale.

The setup is similar. In Battle Royale, each year, the Japanese government chooses a high school class to go to an abandoned island. All students in the class are given weapons and some tools for survival. They have one task: to be the last survivor.

To make it a little harder, there are two prison inmates also on the island. If one of them survives, they get to go free. Who will win?

Battle Royale is not for younger Hunger Games fans

While The Hunger Games movies are PG-13, that’s not the case for Battle Royale. Technically, there isn’t a rating for the United States. There was once a TV rating that set it as TV-14, but most of the world puts this movie at 18+, so it should be an R-rated movie. It certainly warrants that rating.

Sex & nudity: There are implications of a few intimate moments, but none are specifically shown on screen. There is one moment where there are two dead teenage boys and one of the teenage girls is putting her clothes back on to imply what happened before their deaths.

Violence & gore: This is where Battle Royale earns its R rating. The movie does not shy away from violence, gore, and destruction. For example, there are scenes where two teenage girls are killed with automatic guns, there are moments where the collar students wear around their neck explodes, causing the heads to explode off, and there is a visual shown of a teenage girl’s throat being slashed open. Think of the type of gore you’re used to seeing on Saw, not your run-of-the-mill J Law movie.

Language: The movie itself is mostly subtitled, but there may be an English dubbing of it available. It does not shy away from swear words. Think of the setting and the reality that these teenagers are in. The last thing they’re worried about is swearing.

Alcohol & drugs: Some of the characters are seen drinking and smoking. This is on the mild side. After all, the focus is on survival.

Overall verdict: Who is Battle Royale appropriate for?

This is not a movie to let young kids watch. I wouldn’t even say it’s suitable for older teenagers, but that is going to depend on their level of tolerance when it comes to violence. This is graphic and a step up from The Hunger Games. Use caution.

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Battle Royale is on Prime Video today.