The 1999 Dead or Alive was made at a golden point in
time, from the height of the Golden Japanese Era of New Wave filmmaking.
Approx. 1997-2003 when wild untamed genius Takashi Miike made the films
of his that i like best. He just exploded with unhinged
creativity and made 6-7 films a year and in the year of 1999 he became
a Cult Film favourite among filmlovers around the world,
with this one "DOA" and with his 1999 "Audition".
I'm also much enamoured by his beautiful and surpringly serene "The
People in China" 1988, but almost every film he made during this
burst of unparallelled creativity was great, or at least interesting.
DOA is most famous for it's start and end. With the 5-6 minutes long intro
scene with a fireworks of short cuts of bad people in
the Shinjuku District of Tokyo doing bad things to each other as strippers,
drugs, killings and rape, and with the even more famous
ending scene with that outrageous final fight between the cop and the
gangster. Only from the genius mind of Takashi Miike.
This trilogy of films has two big parts, Show Aikawa and
Riki Takeuchi, both known for their mass of lowbudgeted direct to video
gangster movies, and in DOA 1-3 they are deadly enemies in the 1st film,
old school buddy killers in the 2nd and enemies at first
but then replicant buddy-killers in the 3rd.
There's a language and ethnical problem for people in DOA, something Miike
sometimes touched in his films, where japanese have
a hard time understanding what chinese migrants says, and vice versa.
Also, the kids of the migrants don't feel wholly japanese or
chinese, but something in between. Just like Shunji Iwai's Yentown migrants
in the 1996 "Swallowtail Butterfly" where some western
guys were born in Japan and only talk japanese and no english and they
are not considered to be japanese and nor westerners,
but something in between. Miike's underrated 2000 "The City of Lost
Souls" could be his "Swallowtail Butterfly" (i love both).
In the futuristic DOA 3 people talk any language
with each other, and everyone seem to get it anyway.
Dead or Alive 1999 Direction: Takashi
There's a violent drug war between Yakuzas, Chinese drug
lords and loose cannon gangsters.
A small, but extremely violent, gang of ethnic chinese japanese led by
the brutal and evil Ryu (Riki Takeuchi) wants to take
over the drug trade throne and starts to massacre yakuzas as well as chinese
triads, and the only crime cops in Tokyo that
are not corrupted or afraid are inspector Jojima (Show Aikawa) and his
colleague Inoue (Susumi Terajima).
Everything is leading up to the surprising final between the cop and the
killer. A great and uniquely bizarre crime action.
The film presented in widescreen 1.85:1 with japanese
audio LPCM stereo and english subtitles, region B.
Dead or Alive: Birds 2000 Direction:
In the sequel Show Aikawa plays killer Mizuki Okamoto
who's just about to hit some gangsters when another hitman is
doing it first, and he's Shuichi Sawada (Riki Takeuchi). Both hitmen then
travel to Dago Island and they know each other from
childhood when they were buddies. On the island they meet their third
buddy, fisherman Kohei (Kenichi Endo).
Mizuki and Shuichi joins up and start to kill people en masse to earn
money to give to charity and vaccinations in Africa.
A comet is heading towards Earth, they grow angel wings, the wife hugs
her dead husbands cut-off meter long dick at his
funeral and Mizuki is dressed like a Kappa monster when performing in
front of children. A very unusual gangster film it is.
Shinya Tsukamoto plays the unfortunate Magician.
Dead or Alive: Final 2002 Direction:
The 3rd film in the series takes place in a dystopian
future, in Yokohama AD 2346, but the film is shot in Hong Kong with
mostly chinese actors and film crew. A dictator called Mayor Wu/Woo (Richard
Chen) forces people to take a mind control
drug and has turned people into replicants using old battle cyborgs from
the time before the war, from the Old world.
Police inspector Honda (Riki Takeuchi) leads a task force (with i.a. Maria
Chen in it) hunting the replicant Ryo (Show Aikawa)
and Ryo hides with a group of rebels led by June (Josie Ho) and Fong (Terence
A lowbudget Sci-Fi mix on Blade Runner, Terminator, Robocop
and at the end Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo.
The film presented in widescreen 1.85:1 with japanese audio LPCM stereo
and english subtitles, region B, with Great Extras,
Extras on Disc 1:
DOA 2 : Original Making Of Featurette (10 minutes), DOA
US trailer, DOA japanese theatrical trailer, DOA 2 theatrical
trailer and an audio commentary by Tom Mes made in 2016
Extras on Disc 2:
Toshiki Kimura: Drifting with Miike (2016 interview with
producer Kimura; 43 minutes in japanese with english subtitles)
Riki Takeuchi: Deadly Outlaw Riki (2016 interview with actor Riki Takeuchi;
30 minutes in japanese with english subtitles)
Show Aikawa: Cop Killer, Replicant (2016 interview (22 minutes in japanese
with english subtitles)
DOA Final: Original Making Of Featurette (11 minutes of Miike at work
in Hong Kong), DOA Final: Promotion interviews
(11 minutes), DOA Final: Mystery trailer (animated) and DOA Final theatrical