By Scoot Allan
Fans have picked a few of their favorite death match movies, with popular entries like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale captivating fans on IMDb.
Fans of popular games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds owe a lot to cinematic movies that kickstarted the “battle royale” subgenre. There have been quite a few films that have explored the subgenre in new ways, though not every movie has been well-received by fans.
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The IMDb Ratings are usually a good indicator of the quality of films. This is due to the fact that the ratings are tabulated by fan votes, as opposed to Rotten Tomatoes’ selection of film critics. There are a number of battle royale films like The Hunger Games that were able to capture the attention of fans and earn a higher IMDb rating than other movies in the subgenre.
Updated on March 6, 2023 by Xandalee Joseph: Battle royale films continue to be extremely popular because of the high stakes showcased through life and death tournaments. As fans continue to enjoy these suspenseful death matches, we've revamped this list with even more info about battle royale films.
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10 The Tournament
IMDb Rating: 6
2009’s The Tournament put a new spin on the battle royale movie. A group of wealthy businessmen and politicians with immense power placed bets on a secret competition held almost every decade. The world’s deadliest assassins volunteered for the chance to take out their rivals for a hefty cash sum.
An alcoholic priest accidentally swallowed one of the assassins’ removed trackers. He fought to survive the vicious battle between assassins and a returning champion who was out for revenge. The Tournament starred Ving Rhames, Kelly Hu and Robert Carlysle and was a non-stop action flick that some fans missed out on when it was released
9 The Condemned
IMDb Rating: 6
One of the best movies starring pro wrestlers is 2007’s The Condemned. Stone Cold Steve Austin starred as a death row prisoner named Jack Conrad. A wealthy benefactor purchased him from prison and took him to an island with nine other prisoners. They were all offered their freedom along with payment if they agreed to fight each other to the death for their sponsors’ entertainment.
The matches were broadcast illegally to the public and the prisoners were forced to fight under the threat of a timed bomb attached to their ankles. While the film was derivative and didn’t add anything new to the battle royale subgenre, it was still action-packed and entertaining which appealed to enough fans to warrant a sequel.
8 The Belko Experiment
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Greg McClean directed 2016’s The Belko Experiment from a script by James Gunn. The Belko Experiment takes the typical battle royale experience and sets it inside the all-too-relatable dynamic of an office environment. Workers at a remote locked down facility had to kill half of their coworkers before a timer ran out or they would die themselves.
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Bombs implanted within their necks inspired the coworkers to take action, igniting a violent battle between employees that comes to a climactic and shocking end. The Belko Experiment is a hidden gem that definitely deserves a higher IMDb rating. It’s a smart and funny entry in the battle royale subgenre that features amazing gore, fantastic actors, and a solid, well-paced story.
7 Death Race 2000
IMDb Rating: 6.2
Roger Corman directed 1975’s Death Race 2000, which kicked off a franchise of films set in the futuristic dystopian society. Following a world war that led to an economic crisis, the corrupt government instituted the violent Transcontinental Road Race to distract the world’s citizens from their evil rule.
The best drivers and racers developed their own persona which influenced the design of their themed cars. Each car was also equipped with weaponry and issued points for killing other racers or even gorily taking out pedestrians. Frankenstein was a recurring champion who planned to win the race in order to take out the corrupt Mr. President and end the death race.
6 Guns Akimbo
IMDb Rating: 6.3
A criminal organization known as Skizm organized an underground fight club that streamed online in 2020’s Guns Akimbo. Daniel Radcliffe starred as an online troll named Miles who criticized Skizm after viewing their online battle royales. He became Skizm’s newest target due to his volatile comments. He was quickly located, beaten and recruited for the battle royale.
He had a handgun forcibly bolted to each hand with his fingers locked on the triggers. Skizm also sent their best contender after Miles, thorough they ultimately began working together to take out the other fighters and bring down Skizm. Guns Akimbo was frenetic and fast-paced which appealed to fans of similar battle royale video games.
5 Series 7: The Contenders
IMDb Rating: 6.5
2001’s Series 7: The Contenders explored the battle royale premise through the lens of a twisted reality show in the near future. Writer/director Daniel Minahan’s unique entry in the subgenre began with a look at the previous season of the vicious reality series to set up the upcoming mayhem. The contenders quickly dived into the game and began violently taking each other out.
A random lottery orchestrated by the mysterious Department of Control selected each contestant from the poorer sections of the country. They received a single pistol loaded with radioactive ammunition in order to battle for the world’s entertainment. Minahan filmed Series 7: The Contenders like a reality show and it became a unique hidden gem for fans of battle royale movies.
4 The Hunt
IMDb Rating: 6.5
Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank starred as political opposites on either end of a deadly massacre in 2020’s The Hunt. Elite progressives lost their jobs and their lives due to a leaked group chat that went viral. They then targeted the online conservatives who they held responsible for their fall. They drugged and kidnapped twelve people and dropped them in a rural field.
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The wealthy organizers hunted down and killed the online conservatives. However, they weren’t expecting to deal with a military vet who was mistakenly taken. The Hunt debuted at a controversial time and touched on some real-world issues that served to divide the country. The satirical film is a unique entry in the subgenre that surprised fans when it was finally released.
3 The Running Man
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Paul Michael Glaser directed 1987’s The Running Man which adapted the Stephen King/Richard Bachman novel. One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's strongest characters was The Running Man's Ben Richards. He was a former cop who was framed and imprisoned in a dystopic future. A corrupt broadcaster blackmailed him to compete in a televised game show after his escape from prison.
The Running Man gameshow threw prisoners into an underground arena and forced them to fight for the death against dangerous themed champions. Schwarzenegger’s framed cop fights back from the inside against increasingly deadly enemies. He also inadvertently became a hero to the resistance that formed to bring down the totalitarian government.
2 Dystopian Champions Fought Each Other To The Death For The Elite’s Entertainment In The Hunger Games
IMDb Rating: 7.2
Jennifer Lawrence starred as Katniss Everdeen, a contender in an annual televised death match carried out for the entertainment of the wealthy elite. 2012’s The Hunger Games kicked off the hit franchise that adapted the equally successful series of young adult novels. The Hunger Games featured a high-tech arena death match fought by residents of each district in the dystopian future.
Everdeen used her skills with a bow to survive the death match and earn sponsors to give her an advantage. She soon became the figurehead for the growing resistance to the fascist rulers behind the Hunger Games. There are a few harsh realities to rewatching The Hunger Games films, but it's still one of the most successful franchises in the battle royale subgenre.
1 Battle Royale
IMDb Rating: 7.6
The similarities between The Hunger Games and 2000’s Battle Royale adaptations are hard to ignore. Battle Royale adapted Koushun Takami’s manga series of the same name. The manga and movie took place in a dark future. The government passed a bill to deal with juvenile delinquency and a bloodthirsty public audience at the same time.
The military gassed a junior high school class on a field trip and transported them to a secured island. Their class had been chosen to compete in a televised battle royale. They wore explosive collars and received weapons before being sent out into the constantly shrinking battle zone. Battle Royale continues to stand out to fans for the shocking violence among children.
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