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Dead or Alive (Unrated Director's Cut)
Dead or Alive
Unrated Director's Cut
Actors: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Renji Ishibashi, Hitoshi Ozawa, Shingo Tsurumi
Director: Takashi Miike
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2003     1hr 45min

A yakuza of chinese descent and a japanese cop each wage their own war against the japanese mafia. But they are destined to meet. Their encounter will change the world. Studio: Kino International Release Date: 10/05/2004...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Renji Ishibashi, Hitoshi Ozawa, Shingo Tsurumi
Director: Takashi Miike
Creators: Katsumi Ono, Makoto Okada, Masashi Minami, Mitsuru Kurosawa, Toshiki Kimura, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa, Ichiro Ryu
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/27/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1999
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Subtitles: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

D.O.A.: Hallucinative and essential Asian gangster masterpie
TANTRUM!!!! | CHILE | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Takashi Mike's audacity and versatility are incredible: he explores paths that no one dares to step on, he goes far beyond the permited limits in surrealism and crude mind-blowing violence, he examines social and psychological aspects about honor, friendship, family and brotherhood with such an artistic emotional aproach, while describing the horror and torments implied in the suburban yakuza world with the most gruesome display of excess and graphic cruel liberty ever portrayed on films of the genre. The atmosphere can be described as an astonishing and often melancholic urban fever.

"Dead or Alive" in its 2000 uncut release stays among the most depraved visions and solid achievements in the contemporary Asian ganster film genre, with its rapid-fire cerebral style and surrealist ambient. Some of the very atrocities described in this unique and stylized paralel dimension of a crime film, includes sexual deviations that can't even be mentioned, extense drug abuse, shattered moral values, dysfunctional psychopaths, mayhem, ravaging aesthetics in bullet-ballet non-stop action, visceral drama, inhumanity and indiference. The list goes on, but the very first 5 minutes of the film is a video-clip of the most violent and painful assasinations, a crude introduction to this shocking reality. Anything can happen in this totally unpredictable film packed with the most visceral and tense action sequences of the last decade.

Between the declared and bloody war of the japanese yakuza and a gang of violent chinese inmigrants lead by stone cold killer and charismatic ganster Ryuichi (Ricky Takeushi with a hairstyle and attitude that surprises), comes the narcotics cop Jojima (Sho Aikawa), overwhelmed with financial and family problems and desperatly looking for the criminals involved in the constant massacres and bloody-ballistic showdowns. In is path he meets Ryuichi, and so begin a relentless confrontation that ends in a cataclysmic encounter of unexpected proportions.

The precious familiar moments and reunions of the chinese gang are beautifully portrayed, never leaving the tone and aesthetic of Takashi Mike's sharp and intelligent disection of emotional and cultural aspects. This is without a trace of doubt, the best and most complete work of his controversial filmography (audition/ ichi the killer/ visitor Q) and one of the most crude visions and perversions of the crime underworld.

Highly recomended for fans of asian style and action cinema, this is a ganster film you won't expected at all. Shocking and entertaining experience
Definitely not Steve McQueen, but probably "wanted"
Victor Schwartzman | Winnipeg, Canada | 11/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Director Takashi Miike not only pushes the envelope open in Dead or Alive...he not only rips the envelope apart...he stomps on the envelope, burns it, spills acid on it, and then shoots it into space.
More than other films of Miike's I've seen, this film goes out of its way to get into your face.
I will try to avoid SPOILERS, but be warned...warned that spoilers won't make any difference. The plot does not make any real difference. It's all in the scene by scene.
Dead or Alive is essentially the story of a police officer and the yakuza he hunts. The yakuza, if I am using the term right, is a Chinese gangster involved in importing drugs into Japan. The Japanese police officer is trying to stop him.
The film begins with a riotous collection of short scenes where pretty much everyone gets it. Hard to think who's left for the rest of the film, but there are survivors. Imagine a film that is mostly the last crazy scene of The Bunch, multiply it by Team America (uncut)'s "times one thousand", and you may start to get an idea of what this film is like.
The film is set in modern Japan that is a Sodom and Gomorrah lookalike. I mean that in the strongest terms possible. This is a direct to video film where anything goes. There is violence aplenty. There is also ample nude flesh (of course it is female flesh, often rubbed directly into the camera's eye). It is more exploitive than, say, Ichi The Killer in its use of women, and at times is offensive if you're not a fanboy who needs a date. The women are more 'victims' than in some other Miike films. Yet, as is the case with this brilliant, prolific director, it ain't quite that simple, either.
Nor is the relationship between the two lead characters, the Japanese police officer and the Chinese gangster, all that simple either. It is not clear what the relationship of the police officer is to the gangsters. He is emotionally separate from his wife (who may be having an affair) and his daughter--he sleeps on the couch and barely talks to either one of them. In fact, they both seem a drain on him.
On the flip side, the gangster is a ruthless fellow, ready to take a chance at commiting suicide in a Russian roulette game, but yet he supports his kid brother in college. He is loyal to his friends, and is most deeply offended when one of his friends betrays him--he shows pretty much the most emotion in the film when he discovers this betrayal.
Both the cop and gangster have their own code of ethics, their own flaws. Although it takes quite a bit to get beyond the violence, once you do there are layers here that are not obvious on the first viewing.
Unfortunately, Miike often seems interested in simply shocking the viewer at times, or at the very least seeing just how far he can go. This fits with the Soddom and Gomorrah theme, but be warned it ain't pretty.
There are also some pacing lapses, and a lot of the violence feels repetitious. The ending, without giving it away too much, is a showdown between the two main characters. It gets, shall we say, very ridiculous, with a humour that was absent from the rest of the film. Whether it works or not depends on you, of course. For me, it worked only in the sense that, like the film, it kept getting more and more extreme.
The reptition, the violence just for the violence's sake, and the pretty nasty exploitation of women are why this film gets three stars instead of more."
Not One Of Miike's Better Yakuza Films
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 10/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"My review of "Dead Or Alive," refers to the region 4 import. I have been viewing a wide range of films the last 3 weeks. Running the gamut from horror, comedy, thriller, drama, and action films. I only own a few of Miike's yakuza films, and while this one is interesting, I did not find it that great a film as so many other viewers did. I'll save those higher ratings for "Yakuza Demon," and "Rainy Dog." When I first saw this film I sort of had the feeling that this was not going to be my type of yakuza film. While the film starts off interesting enough, especially with the hits against the other gangsters, there were too many strange elements in the films opening scenes that I just knew were going to lead this film toward a strange direction. And this was further strengthened by the hit in the mens restroom. Those who have seen this film will know what I am writing about. I expect anything and everything from a Miike film. So it did not surprise me as much as it should have.

Still, this film is a far cry from some of his more serious yakuza films that I have enjoyed. The films narrative begins quite impressive actually. With the excellent soundtrack of rock blasting away as the film opens up, the viewer is witness to a cluster of mob hits. For the first ten minutes or so of the film, I actually liked it. [Not to mention the strange hit on the guy eating noodles]. However, things began to go downhill from there for me. Maybe I'm just a bit too picky about my yakuza films. Anyway, Ryuichi (Riki Takeuchi) is the main culprit behind these attacks. He is Japanese, however, he was born in China. And in Japanese society this means he is lower down the hierarchy than other Japanese and is in a sense, is a second-class citizen [As a sidenote: The legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune was born and raised in China, and did not step foot in Japan until he was nearly 21 years old---after being drafted into the Japanese Air Force in WWII]. Since Ryuichi has nothing to lose [other than his life] he wages war against anyone: Chinese or Japanese. With the drug war waging in Yokohama between the Chinese triads and the Japanese yakuza, he feels he can offset both sides when he discovers they are in the process of forging a partnership together, and thus excluding everyone from their turf.

However, this is not going to be as easy as he thinks. Hot on his trail is the Japanese detective Jojima (Sho Aikawa). And if any of you viewers have not seen the film "RAINY DOG" by Miike, and starring Sho Aikawa, I highly recommend the film. The part of this film which was really weird for me [and there are plenty] deals with actor Renji Ishibashi who is a regular of Miikes' films. The part dealing with a woman and excrement, well that was downright weird. But I digress, after all, this is a Miike film, and in this film world of his anything goes. However, I still think that was just a very weird scene. Anyway, the film never captured me after the beginning of the film. The interaction between Detective Jojima and the gangster Ryuichi seesaws into a struggle of who will vanquish the other first. Moreover, when these two finally clash in the grand finale the viewer is in for one strange and surreal send off. I actually still laugh from the films ending no matter how times I see it. It is just too bizarre to describe. Furthermore, I do not wish to ruin it for those who have not seen it. I recommend the film with caution. This is not a particular favorite of mine, but it may appeal to others."
Buy it.
Jeffery Brookshire | Los Angeles | 09/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you like Yakuza movies, Asian gangster film or simply the Tarantinoesque edgy genre, then buy it. Along with ICHI THE KILLER, this one is a must have Takashi Miike film. While the DEAD OR ALIVE sequels are interesting, this is by far the best of the series. The last 30 seconds of the film are a little outlandish but the rest of the film more than makes up for it. See why Riki Takeuchi is revered as a Yakuza thug and a Japanese icon. The opening sequence is creative, kinetic and undeniably cool.

Miike unapologetically makes films he would like to see without regard for social convention or concern for popularity. As such, he is a filmmaker all students and fans of films should see.

Is it Academy Award caliber? Come on. Not every film has to be CITZEN KANE. Some films can just be fun, especially if you have a twisted and dark sense of humor. If so, don't pass this one up."