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
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.
'Dead Or Alive' can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be so it ultimately fails to satisfy on any level. The much discussed sensory overload opening sequence is sensational, and for me, if the whole movie had continued at this level the movie would have been something special. Too quickly the movie slows down to a conventional pace with a rather mundane story of police life vs gang warfare, a story we have seen countless times before but done with more depth and interest. Miike's characters are shallow and impossible to care about. There are a few infamous scenes of violence or degradation which are shocking and memorable, but there aren't enough of these to stop the movie from sinking into seen-it-all-before territory. Some people have likened this to Beat Takeshi's yakuza movies but I fail to see much resemblance. 'Dead Or Alive' has a lot more in common with flashy but empty Japanese thrillers like 'Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl' albeit with a much darker tone, than a complex and meaningful work like 'Hana-bi', which is in a completely different league to this. Added to that a completely bizarre and incongruous ending that belongs in 'Tetsuo 2', and you've got yourself one unclassifiable but unsatisfying movie. Miike has an original and uncompromising approach that's beyond argument, but this time round it just didn't do it for me I'm afraid. 'Dead Or Alive' tries too hard to be different, and doesn't try hard enough to be GOOD.
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