Dead Or Alive 1999

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(15) IMDb 6.9/10
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Fast-paced, high-octane Yakuza thriller from director Miike Takashi. Ryuichi and Toji are two brothers eager to make a name for themselves in the Tokyo criminal underworld. Their nemesis is Detective Jojima, a cop who has become involved in various crooked deals in order to pay for his ailing daughter's life-saving operation. As Ryuichi tries to take a slice of a large Taiwanese drug haul, Jojima draws in closer, and the pair get set for their final apocalyptic confrontation.

Starring:
Sho Aikawa, Susumu Terajima
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 45 minutes
Starring Sho Aikawa, Susumu Terajima, Renji Ishibashi, Riki Takeuchi
Director Takashi Miike
Genres Thriller
Studio SONY DADC
Rental release 24 June 2002
Main languages Japanese
Subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 11 Sep 2007
Format: DVD
In the interview for the region 2, Tartan DVD of Dead or Alive, filmmaker Takashi Miike relates the details of the film's haphazard conception; proudly stating that the film was made in reaction to the money hungry producers who approached the gonzo filmmaker with the two male leads and the basic outline of a plot - and then told him to base whatever he wanted around them - safe in the knowledge that the star power alone would be enough to make it a hit. Thus, Miike's idea of for the film was to purposely go against this notion and to fill the film with enough jaw-dropping scenes and situations as to make it incredibly difficult for the film to play to any kind of mainstream audience. In doing so, he managed to create a lucrative three-film franchise that seems to parody the kind of Yakuza-based crime stories that the director was initially known for; whilst simultaneously deconstructing the entire language of the film in a way that is both satirical and highly subversive.

Of course, this kind of cinematic excess is easy to appreciate on paper, but perhaps not so exciting for those of us looking for a "proper film"... and, if the second half of this statement relates to you, then most probably Dead or Alive is something you might want to miss (if you do want to see Miike handle a more routine crime story, then I suggest his Triad Society trilogy, including the films Shinjuku Triad Society, Lay Lines and Rainy Dog).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E Parry on 7 July 2002
Format: DVD
The beggining and the end of this film are extreme stuff, it's crazy, punk-rock, way-over-the-top action, it's quite insane. However, the rest of it is completely different in tone, being a more serious story about gangs and a cop trying to pay for his daughters operation. Maybe it's just me, but I found the plot quite hard to follow, and there are some cultural references that we westerners don't generally know about. It's easier if you read the film notes that are on the DVD, but they kind of give away the ending.
This film wasn't as extreme as had been made out, but it's still pretty hardcore. The two or three scenes people have made most reference to were not at all how I expected, but may be more surprising if you don't know they're there. However, the bit where the man fries his own hand was quite silly and not believable enough to be either funny or shocking.
After the trailer, and the beggining of the film (the two are actually quite similar), I was hoping and expecting the rest of the film to be at least somewhat similar, but it's almost like a different film, and after the ultra-violent black humour of the opening sequence, you're not really prepared to take the characters seriously, so any attempt to care for them doesn't really work. The director seems to like playing with peoples expectations, but in this case so what if it doesn't really work?
This film is worth a watch, and may improve with repeat viewings, although it does rely on shock tactics.
The DVD is fine, no problems with picture or sound, and there's some fairly interesting extras.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas VINE VOICE on 8 Nov 2006
Format: DVD
Fine stuff from Japanese director Takashi. Dead or alive is a gangster style flick that revolves around a turf tussle between the chinese triads and the japanese yakuza. At the front of the film is a tough cop intent on putting and end to the reign of terror...yeah sounds boringly familiar doesn't it. In truth this film has a fairly thin story but the set pieces and shock value it incorperates make it an enjoyable view.

The paddling pool scene is particularly memorable as is the much hyped but still excellent opening scene. My favourite section from the film must be the crazy party shootout though which has seen many isolated viewings in my player. Definitely one for the boys.
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Format: DVD
In the interview for the region 2, Tartan DVD of Dead or Alive, filmmaker Takashi Miike relates the details of the film's haphazard conception; proudly stating that the film was made in reaction to the money hungry producers who approached the gonzo filmmaker with the two male leads and the basic outline of a plot - and then told him to base whatever he wanted around them - safe in the knowledge that the star power alone would be enough to make it a hit. Thus, Miike's idea of for the film was to purposely go against this notion and to fill the film with enough jaw-dropping scenes and situations as to make it incredibly difficult for the film to play to any kind of mainstream audience. In doing so, he managed to create a lucrative three-film franchise that seems to parody the kind of Yakuza-based crime stories that the director was initially known for; whilst simultaneously deconstructing the entire language of the film in a way that is both satirical and highly subversive.

Of course, this kind of cinematic excess is easy to appreciate on paper, but perhaps not so exciting for those of us looking for a "proper film"... and, if the second half of this statement relates to you, then most probably Dead or Alive is something you might want to miss (if you do want to see Miike handle a more routine crime story, then I suggest his Triad Society trilogy, including the films Shinjuku Triad Society, Lay Lines and Rainy Dog).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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