69 user 59 critic

Dead or Alive (1999)

Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (original title)
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.



2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Noriko Aota
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The ace cop of a totalitarian police force and a drifting android play their parts in a post-apocalyptic society. They are destined to fight. Their encounter will change them forever.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Maria Chen, Richard Chen
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In order to settle a business dispute, a mob leader murders one of his own teenage sons. The surviving son vows to avenge his brother's death, and organizes his own gang of teenage killers to destroy his father's organization.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shôsuke Tanihara, Miho Nomoto, Tamaki Kenmochi
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Amidst a Chinese and Japanese mafia war, a lawyer for the Chinese mob finds a rift forming between him and his corrupt police office brother.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Kippei Shîna, Tomorowo Taguchi, Takeshi Caesar
Rainy Dog (1997)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Japanese assassin stranded in Taiwan must take work from a local crime boss to make ends meet when suddenly a woman from his past delivers a son to him.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Li Wei Chang, Shih Chang
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Violent gangster movie with a Brazilian protagonist.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Teah, Michelle Reis, Kôji Kikkawa
Gozu (2003)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A yakuza enforcer is ordered to secretly drive his beloved colleague to be assassinated. But when the colleague unceremoniously disappears en route, the trip that follows is a twisted, surreal and horrifying experience.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Yûta Sone, Shô Aikawa, Kimika Yoshino
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When his beloved boss is killed, a dangerous young gangster cuts a path of vengeance through the Japanese mafia.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Riki Takeuchi, Ryôsuke Miki, Ken'ichi Endô
Ley Lines (1999)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A group of Chinese youths living in Japan struggle to make their way in life and eventually find trouble with the local crime syndicate.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Kazuki Kitamura, Tomorowo Taguchi, Dan Li
Zebraman (2004)
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A down-and-out school teacher receives the calling to become the real life personification of an old television superhero, Zebraman.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Kyôka Suzuki, Atsuro Watabe
Izo (2004)
Action | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An executed samurai takes an existential journey throughout time, space and eternity in search of bloody vengeance.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryûhei Matsuda
Visitor Q (Video 2001)
Comedy | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A troubled and perverted family find their lives intruded by a mysterious stranger who seems to help find a balance in their disturbing natures.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Ken'ichi Endô, Shungiku Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe


Credited cast:
Riki Takeuchi ...
Shô Aikawa ...
Det. Jojima
Renji Ishibashi ...
Hitoshi Ozawa ...
Shingo Tsurumi ...
Kaoru Sugita ...
Mrs. Jojima
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Duncan ...
Tanaka (as Dankan)
Hirotarô Honda
Michisuke Kashiwaya ...
Mizuho Koga
Ryûshi Mizukami
Ren Ohsugi ...
Yan (as Ren Ôsugi)
Manzô Shinra ...
Tokitoshi Shiota ...
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Man running along rails


Without a home and feeling no obligation to Japanese society or Yakuza, Ryuichi (Takeuchi Riki) and his small group decide to make their own place by trying to take over the Shinjuku underworld and the drug trade from Taiwan. As they plan an all-out-assault on the remaining Chinese and Japanese mafia kings, only Detective Jojima (Aikawa Sho) stands between them and complete domination. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WARNING: This motion picture contains explicit portrayals of violence; sex; violent sex; sexual violence; clowns and violent scenes of violent excess, which are definitely not suitable for all audiences.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 November 1999 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Dead or Alive  »

Box Office


JPY 500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,783 (USA) (8 June 2001)


$1,841 (USA) (27 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Psychotic Beggar: I choose you, Pikachu!
[the beggar proceeds to beat the crap out of the policemen]
See more »


Spoofed in The Magical Time Traveling Thugtastic Jug (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Miike formula in full swing.
18 March 2004 | by (Annapolis, MD) – See all my reviews

After seeing "Oodishon" and "Koroshiya-1," I became an instant fan of Miike Takashi's filmmaking style. His ability to present what would be in the hands of another director a hacknyed and familiar story is nothing short of brilliant. He takes old formulas and infuses them with new life, sometimes through shock value, confusion, humor, and actually brilliant filmmaking. His visuals are always incredible, where even the most mundane shot looks like a great photograph, proving that Miike has a great eye. So here we have "Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha," the first in what would become one of the most controversial and bizarre trilogies in film history. It has relatively good acting, and a great ensemble cast, including two of my favorite Japanese actors (besides Takeuchi and Aikawa, there's Terajima Susumu and Osugi Ren, both alumni of Kitano "Beat" Takeshi's films). Make no mistake, this is not your run-of-the-mill action/drama movie.

The overall story has been done, basically the cop vs. criminal motif. Ryuichi (Takeuchi Riki) heads a small group of misfits who were once Chinese war orphans. Having no place either in the Chinese Triads or the Japanese Yakuza, they wage their own little streetwar against both sides. Detective Jojima (Aikawa Sho) is hot on their trail, but he has problems of his own. He knows his wife is cheating on him and their daughter is dying and he can not afford the operation needed to save her life. It sounds like something out of a John Woo movie, right? Something akin to "Hard Boiled" or "The Killer," but whereas John Woo presents violence in an operatic sense, Miike shows us something more hip and gritty.

The beginning sequence of the film is a montage of everything from gay sex in a bathroom, to snorting 18-foot lines of cocaine, to strippers, to arterial spray, to gluttony, to...pretty much every deadly sin out there. Is it shocking, not particularly (at least not to me), but the MTV-style editing full of fast cuts, sexual imagery, and bright colors gives it a burst of adrenaline that is just a counterbalance to what becomes a very slow and quiet film for the most part. The main plot of the movie is presented in a style similar to Kitano "Beat" Takeshi, with long shots and conversations between characters, with only the most shocking acts of depravity made unshocking by the characters' reactions. There is a scene where Aikawa talks to an informant who is setting up to film a bestiality scene, and his reaction is...almost nonexistent. Or the Yakuza's reaction to their boss drowning a girl in a kiddie pool full of her own feces. It should be shocking and disgusting (and it is), but the shock is diminished by the banality of it. It's as if Miike is playing with the audience, testing our limits and asking us to question what we find acceptable. If another director presented these acts, he or she might show it as if to glamorize it, to overemphasize its putridity. Miike...just shows it as if it's normal, and while some will be offended by this, he has often made the claim that he just wants to get a reaction. And one way or the other, he does. This is the point of the ending, which for awhile matches the ultrahip attitude of the beginning before delving into territory best left to fantasy films. But again, Miike has given us a surprise that is both shocking...and somehow expected because it's unexpected.

The best way to explain this is that line from the movie "Se7en," when Morgan Freeman says to Brad Pitt, "If John Doe's head opens and a UFO flies out, I want you to have expected it." This perfectly describes "Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha" and Miike's style. If it's a Miike film, you're going to see things that are unexpected and even offensive, but because it's Miike, you almost DO expect it, and it almost DOES make a strange sense. Again, he's playing with the audience. Do we really know what we want? Do we really know what to expect? No...and that is Miike's strength. So what if it breaks all the rules of good plot and storytelling, so what if it breaks all the rules of good filmmaking? It's Miike, and it's his formula in full swing. "Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha" is pretty much the epitome of Miike's brand of filmmaking.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Who is a better director? piperonthemoon
most polarizing movie I've ever seen the_wainman
Oh…so very DISAPPOINTING!!! eraceheadd
saw this in film class IrishJenni
Theme song travnic
Everybody who wants the theme song look! antiheroripper
Discuss Dead or Alive (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: