Following the death of his boss, Kunisada embarks upon a journey of revenge against the rival gang who ordered the hit. However, all is not how it seems as Kunisada uncovers the truth behind the shady deals that exist with... more »in his own clan. Pursued by two hit men Kunisada finds himself both hunter and the hunted as cross and double cross leads to murder, mayhem and a bazooka!« less
"Takashi Miike is known for making a plethora of Yakuza movies, and DEADLY OUTLAW REKKA proves this is a subject he has finely tuned and honed. It's not as balls-out surreal as some of his other movies, favoring a slightly more accessible approach to the gangster genre. But DEADLY OUTLAW does contain some of the dirty grittiness, violence, story exposition, fascinating characters, and cynical humor he's famous for--just not in large doses.
One of the things DEADLY OUTLAW establishes from the beginning, like in most of Miike's films, is suspension of disbelief--a hard thing to accomplish under any circumstances. But that's one of the things that makes this movie so fun since he's so darn good at it. You know after the first 10 minutes you're in for a wild ride, one that'll defy logic, but unpredictable and entertaining nonetheless--something most Hollywood directors/producers could use a lesson in.
The only unaccessible things in this movie are scenes that might seem a bit superfluous at times, but really they're just Miike's sense of humor barely shining through--it's much more cynical and less in your face this time around, and really requires someone accustomed to his brand of film making to catch. But when you do, it's brilliant and totally worth the price of admission.
The structure is similar to DEAD OR ALIVE for those of you familiar with his other Yakuza cult hit: a high-adrenaline opener, followed by a toned-down middle for character exposition, and finished with an unflinchingly insane finale that'll confuse as much as pump you up.
Overall, I'd recommend this to both fans of Miike and those who just like a good, interesting, fun action film."
One of Miike's best
M. Sutton | Dallas, USA | 09/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Deadly Outlaw: Rekka may be the most accessible entry into the "traditional" form of cult Japanese director Takashi Miike. He certainly has a handful of other brilliant, not totally off-the-wall films (Sabu, Rainy Dog, Bird People in China, Audition), but none of them really fit into the more traditionally crazy Miike mold.
Deadly Outlaw: Rekka, while by no means the director's best film, is certainly one of his most complex, rewarding, and entertaining (for those who don't get a kick purely out of inaccessible characters or lots of random violence and strange sexual elements) of his vast series of work.
Rikki Takeuchi, who as an actor is as much a cult god in Japan is Miike is to Japanese film fans in the west, gives an uncharacteristically complex and often subtle performance as the vengeful, half-Korean Kunisada. Unlike a similar recent film from Miike, New Graveyard of Honor (a remake of a really great old Kinji Fukasaku film), Rekka boasts a main character that really finds a connection with the audience. He is violent and crazy, but at his core he is real and vulnerable and irresistibly human.
Kenichi Endo also turns in a surprisingly good performance. If you follow Japanese film, you will have seen him before, but never with as nuanced a performance. The great Sonny Chiba and Tetsuro Tanba also have small roles as Yakuza higher-ups, and their very presence lends the film a bit of weight.
The story is fairly simple, but the actors and Miike's distinctive style really make it stand out from normal yakuza films. Some of the violence here is among Miike's most stylish. One aspect that I would never have expected to really enjoy is Miike's use of blood as a visual tool. Blood often splashes on the lens, at one point covering it completely. Carnage is not as extreme here is in some other Miike pictures, but it achieves great balance between fun gore and bloodshed appropriate to the story.
Still, like just about every Miike film I've seen, Miike's strength is also his weakness. His trademark quirkiness lifts the film above the dozens of other films just like it, but that quirkiness goes too far sometimes, drawing us out of the reality he has set up and reducing the impact. The ending is fifty-percent brilliant and fifty-percent absurdly irritating; an artist as intelligent and imaginative as Miike could no doubt have come up with something equally as "weird" but without betraying everything that comes before it. There are other small things too that straddle the line between funny and distractingly absurd (they go too far towards the latter, in my opinion), and all of it together keeps this film from being five stars.
Still, it's a rewarding experience with some real style, interesting characters, great music, and fantastic violence.
The DVD from Media Blasters, which may be the only legitimate version currently available, is pretty nice. Despite some print damage, nothing too distracting but there are some small speckles present throughout the film, the transfer is sharp and has very nice colors. The audio is great (important for a film with as GREAT music as Rekka does!) as well. Extras include the original trailer for Rekka, four other Media Blasters trailers, and a very interesting and informative interview with Miike. It's one of the best Miike interviews I've seen.
If you're a Miike fan, don't hesitate to pick this one up. If you've seen some Miike but didn't like it, Rekka is really worth giving a shot: it has a good chance of hooking you to Miike, and once he's got you, he won't let go. For someone who's never seen a Miike Film, Rekka is a very good place to start. It's a really good film on its own, but it's also a great way to introduce yourself to one of today's most talked about Japanese directors."
"He walks the savage path alone..."
Dymon Enlow | 08/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Kunisada's mob boss/father figure is murdered Kunisada wants revenge but his gang wants to call a truce to prevent an all out war. Kunisada is angered by their cowardly actions and back stabbings so he just goes ballistic and kills the hell out of everybody.
Very cool movie and one of Takashi Miike's best overall efforts especially the action scenes...absolute perfection. The garage fight scene alone is worth watching the movie, but fortunately you get more action scenes including the last 15 minutes of the movie.
And don't forget the performances, Riki Takeuchi is cool, but my favorite is Renji Ishibashi! I love that guy he always steals the show. Check out his facial expressions, especially when he sees Rekka in the hospital! Man I laughed so hard I had to rewind the movie.
Thank you Mr. Miike for making such entertaining movies. "
Hardcore action and lots of it
Steward Willons | Illinois | 02/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all the films the Takashi Miike puts outs, it's sometimes difficult to figure which ones to check out first. As you know, Miike makes all sorts of films from hardcore Yakuza crime films to Lynchian nightmares to family musicals. "Deadly Outlaw Rekka" fits in with Miike's "Dead or Alive" style with over-the-top action, crazy montages, and a general disregard of "good taste."
Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, it's almost wall-to-wall action. Some of Miike's yakuza films tend to run a bit longer (closer to two hours) with slower character development, but this is not the case. This is totally about the action. That is not to say that "Deadly Outlaw" doesn't have strong characters - just that their motives are quickly set up leaving the film to go about its business of graphic violence and gore.
Tokyo Shock turns out another mediocre DVD on this one. The extras include a brief interview with Miike, a trailer, and a photo gallery. The box lists additional special features including "Widescreen Presentation" and "5.1 Digital Surround sound." Wow - those ARE special features! The picture is passable, but nothing great. Miike's colorful visuals should leap out of the screen, but instead everything is muted and grainy. To be fair, some of this is due to Miike's filming style, but I'm sure the films look better than this on the DVDs. I suppose I should be thankful for Tokyo Shock because, despite their sloppy production, they're releasing a lot of films I wouldn't otherwise get to see.
I can easily recommend Deadly Outlaw to any fans of the Dead or Alive series, and probably to any Miike fan in general. This may not be at the top of everyone's list, but it's definitely in my top ten Miike films of all time. It's not as strange as Gozu, or as perverse as Visitor Q, or as painful as Audition, but it offers hardcore action and lots of it. Check it out."
"They Sent A Cat To Fight A Tiger"
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 10/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Deadly Outlaw: Rekka," is a fun and at times hilarious Takashi Miike film. And the film succeeds not only due to Miike behind the lens, but also because of the performance in the film by actor Riki Takeuchi. In his portrayal of the half-crazed and totally loyal yakuza underling Kunisada, (Riki Takeuchi), he is about to teach the double-dealing, back-stabbing, disloyal, conniving and immoral yakuza bosses that they are in for one hell of a payback. The film starts right off the bat with the murder of Kunisada's father figure and mentor. [And a hilarious scene with the killer sitting on the couch after the killing of this boss] Seeking revenge on those who murdered his boss, Kunisada and his loyal friend and yakuza brother Shimitani find that they are being played for patsies by the very clan they belong to. When Kunisada finds out that the new head of his own clan, and the second in command, Iguchi, has betrayed them, the former members of his clan discover they have themselves a 'Tiger by the Tail.'
Moreover, when Kunisada is told to obey the newly established truce, he finds to his disgust that his own brothers in the yakuza have stabbed him in the back--as they are in for a power grab, no matter what this entails, and who they have to sell out. So, what's a half-crazed yakuza to do? Well, for starters, how about going after each of the clans involved? This is definitely going to take quite a few men. Or is it? How about an RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenade] launcher for starters? Takashi Miike returned to his roots somewhat in this Yakuza film. It is more straight forward than many of his films since the "Black Society Trilogy." Furthermore, with Riki Takeuchi as the films main protagonist, the viewer is given a bit of humor, as only the snarling and over the top character of Riki Takeuchi can deliver.
There are some serious scenes in the film. However, what I liked about the film was how Kunisada (Riki Takeuchi) also delivers an air of sardonic wit in the film as well. And especially when he and his yakuza brother Shimitani go up against the better armed and larger outfit of yakuza. There are some funny scenes with the RPG's being fired into the buildings. But one of the funny interactions deal with the sellers of the RPG to these two yakuza hell-bent on vengeance: Such as when the seller of the RPG tells them, "Be careful, you can hurt a lot of people with one of those." This is typical Miike humor. Yes, the film is not a masterpiece, but it is still an entertaining film. Also, the ending is a very strange one, which viewers of Miike's film are becoming all too familiar with. And listen carefully, it is also in the ending that tells you what has happened to Kunisada and his yakuza brother Shimitani. A strange ending indeed. The film is recommended. However, I do suggest that you rent it first."