Dead Or Alive (Japan 1999)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/11/01
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Riki Takeuchi, Shou Aikawa

Director Takashi Miike has a very warped view of the world, as many of his films would suggest. "Dead Or Alive" is your typical Japanese cops 'n' gangsters flick, with a slant that favors the utterly bizarre. A super cool street punk named Ryuichi (played with flair by heart-throb Riki Takeuchi and his amazing hair) is planning to put the local Yakuza out of business by dealing drugs with Taiwan and building a mountain of corpses in the process. A hot tempered bad-ass cop named Jojima (sharp dressed Shou Aikawa) is determined to bust him, and their personal conflict escalates to apocalyptic proportions.

I really enjoyed Takashi Miike's earlier "Fudoh: The New Generation" (1997), and was hoping for something similarly striking. Unfortunately, the movie is slow and boring as hell, and where it tries to be shocking, it only succeeds in being disgusting (bestiality, gay sex, semen, feces, etc.). One of the ads I read for the film stated "Sex and violence. Sexy violence. Violent sex." Sadly, it doesn't deliver on any of those. The action is exceedingly sparse, but the two or three action scenes in the film do feature some brief moments of very cinematically beautiful violence. Only in the final two minutes do things start to get interesting, when Jojima and Ryuichi face off in the most inexplicable, over-the-top cinematic climax I've ever seen. It makes you wonder how (and where) "Dead Or Alive 2" and "Dead Or Alive 3" take place.