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Dead Or Alive trilogy boxset

 
 
July 2007 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Dead Or Alive: Final
cast: Riki Takeuchi, Sho Aikawa, Maria Chen, and Richard Chen

director: Takashi Miike

89 minutes (18) 2002
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Tartan Asia Extreme DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Gary McMahon
The films of Takeshi Miike are an acquired taste. Not everyone can get behind his eccentric disregard for the rules of moviemaking and the doses of heavy violence and sexual material that are liberally applied throughout his body of work. Genre-blending films like Audition, Gozu, and Visitor Q divide audiences, and not many who see them are left unmoved.

Dead Or Alive: Final is the third in the director's acclaimed D.O.A. trilogy. The first film (Dead Or Alive) began with one of the most kinetic sequences ever committed to celluloid and then ended with a finale that both deconstructed the modern cop film and polarised audience opinion with its sheer audacity. Subverting audience expectations, Miike then gave us a sequel (Dead Or Alive 2: Birds) that came on like a metaphysical gangster film, and was all the better for its lack of extreme bloodshed and the addition of a gentle, almost thoughtful aspect. Now we have the last instalment, and once again Miike does the opposite of what we might expect.

The basic story seems to borrow heavily from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, with a bit of The Matrix thrown in for good measure. Sho Aikawa is Ryo, a rogue android that teams up with a rebel group who are fighting the unjust fascist Dictator Woo (Richard Chen). The group have kidnapped an official's son, and Riki Takeuchi dons his familiar Elvis quiff to play officer Takeshi Honda, a renegade cop who is hot on their heels to get the kid back and destroy the band of freedom fighters. Along the way, we are treated to outrageous fight scenes, slow motion gunshots, and countless weird and wonderful scenes and characters.

The slight plot is meandering and meaningless, the performances range from decent, to unhinged, and many scenes pay homage to other, better films... but somehow, it all adds up to a rather enjoyable romp. Don't be mistaken: this is not major Miike, but even minor Miike is enough to satisfy anyone who follows his career with interest.

The ending, as expected, is wild, referencing the previous films in the series and taking events into the realm of the surreal in the form of a metaphor to which everyone can give their own meaning. If you like Miike's films then you won't be disappointed, but Dead Or Alive: Final won't exactly win him any new fans.
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