The Hunger Games is by far the most popular film in which characters fight to the death, but it's far from the only one (or the best). While Katniss Everdeen and co. helped to popularize this typically brutal subgenre of film, there are last-man-standing films going back for decades.
Last-man-standing movies typically involve a government (or other entity) forcing a group of people to fight to the bitter end. Only one person can win, and they're promised a life of riches and fame should they make it out. Normally these films are set in a dystopian future in which the state uses these games to alleviate the aggression of the bloodthirsty masses. And as those very masses, it is your job to vote on which of these movies make for the most diabolically enjoyable entertainment.
- Photo: Toei Company
Apparently, juvenile delinquency is the main problem the government of Japan is working to solve in the cult favorite Battle Royale. After passing the BR ACT, one class of Japanese middle schoolers is randomly selected every year to compete against each other in a battle royale. The selected children then have three days to off each other; if they refuse to participate, an explosive collar attached to their neck blows up.
Battle Royale is often compared to the later-released Hunger Games, and for good reason. It's a story about the government forcing children to fight to the end, and just like The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is based on a best-selling novel. Fans of The Hunger Games looking for something a bit heavier are sure to like this classic film. The Guardian said the director "composed an extraordinary futuristic nightmare, in which his long-standing expertise in yakuza-style violence is colored by sadness and a sort of crazed tenderness."Worth a look?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome once again follows Max Rockatansky in his ongoing exploits across a post-apocalyptic Australia. This time around, the concept of the Thunderdome is introduced into the already violent world. Max finds himself in Bartertown; in this town, disputes are settled through fights to the death in the titular gladiatorial arena.
The Thunderdome fights are awesome, to say the least. The combatants are placed inside a dome and attached to the ceiling with bungee cords. This allows them to use the entirety of the space, top to bottom, for their showdowns. They bounce off the walls while trying to attack each other with their weapons of choice, which in one particularly memorable scene is a mace and a chainsaw.Worth a look?
- Photo: Lionsgate
In the near future, the invention of nanites allows users to control other humans in a sort of real-life video game. One of these games lets the players control death row prisoners in battle royales where they fight each other to the death. Any prisoner who lives through three rounds wins their freedom (even though they're being fully controlled by the gamers and have no control over winning or losing).
Gamer - directed by Crank helmers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, toplined by Gerard Butler early in his action movie career, and featuring none other than Dexter himself, Michael C. Hall, as an eccentric villain - didn't exactly get the best reviews, but it's a fun thrill ride with a unique premise. Anyone nostalgic for the type of film Spike TV might have played at 2 am should check this one out.Worth a look?
- Photo: Palm Pictures
13 Tzameti follows a poor immigrant living in France named Sebastien who gets caught up in a dangerous underground gambling ring. As part of the event he finds himself in, he must participate in multiple rounds of a group variant of Russian roulette. If he wins, he'll have enough money to never have to worry about cash again.
13 Tzameti isn't the best-known film, but it was a festival hit and earned a very high Rotten Tomatoes score with high marks in both the audience and critics' category. It even got an American remake - simply titled 13 - starring none other than Jason Statham. The remake was not quite as well-received.Worth a look?