Also a film by Miike Takashi
, which is gaining a cult following in the west. Currently the only officially available english subtitled
version is on the Tartan Video
label in the UK, but there are sure to be bootlegs
knocking around the place too. There are two sequels, also to be released in the UK; Dead or Alive 2 and Dead or Alive: Final. Their plots are completely unrelated to the first film.
The opening five minutes of the film is a montage of way over-the-top action and killing. The very begining shows the film's two main characters, played by Riki Takeuchi and Show Aikawa, who are big stars in v-cinema, perched on a pier and counting in the films soundtrack (as in 1, 2, 1-2-3-4). This seems to be the directors way of showing that the film is a work of pure pulp fiction. What follows is a collection of very extreme and short shots including a man snorting a twenty-foot line of cocaine, lots of strippers, and lots of assasinations, culminating in a mans' stomach contents being blasted out over the camera in slow motion. Surprisingly, the rest of the film is a tad more subtle, until the completely way-out ending.
The story is fairly difficult to follow, especially for westerners, but is in many ways quite typical of the Japanese organised crime genre. In a nutshell, it's about a cop who makes deals with crime gangs in order to pay for his daughters operation. Meanwhile, the Japanese and Chinese crime syndicates are planning to join forces, but there's a third party, a gang descended from Japanese war orphans, who also have something planned.
Takashi litters the film with bizzare touches. One scene takes place in someone's apartment where he makes bestiality porn films, and one character is drowned in her own excrement. Despite these touches, I felt the film drags in the middle, but it's worth sticking around for the truly bewildering ending. In a similar way to Odishon, I think Takashi is probably just having a bit of a laugh. He was given the film to make as another straight-to-video film and without Takashi it would probably have been just another forgetable v-cinema outing, but he obviously decided he'd like to have some fun with it, and he has an imagination, so it turned out how it did.
Interesting fact about the ending which illustrates this point (*Spoiler ahead*):
The script simply had the two characters pointing guns at each other, it faded to black and gunfire was heard. Since both stars were heroes in the v-cinema circuit, neither could be killed, so it was left with the audience not knowing which one was the victor. However Takashi decided to make this a bit more interesting (after all, it's been done in other films), and so he took it to the extreme and had the world blow up. Nice.