Dead or Alive

DEAD OR ALIVE - Trilogy

Directed by Takeshi Miike

Starring: Riki Takeuchi, Show Aikawa

Arrow Blu-ray release: March 27th 2017.

Riki Takeuchi

Beginning with an explosive, six-minute montage of sex, drugs and violence, and ending with a phallus-headed battle robot taking flight, Takashi Miike's unforgettable DEAD OR ALIVE Trilogy features many of the director's most outrageous moments set alongside some of his most dramatically moving scenes. Made between 1999 and 2002, the DEAD OR ALIVE films cemented Miike's reputation overseas as one of the most provocative enfants terrible of Japanese cinema, yet also one of its most talented and innovative filmmakers.

Show Ikawa

In DEAD OR ALIVE, tough gangster Ryuichi (Riki Takeuchi) and his ethnically Chinese gang make a play to take over the drug trade in Tokyo's Shinjuku district by massacring the competition. But he meets his match in detective Jojima (Show Aikawa), who will do everything to stop them. Tom Mes compares the casting of Riki Takeuchi and Show Aikawa, two of Japan's biggest V-cinema stars, to that of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Michael Mann's HEAT. These names would have provided the main selling point for the film's backers. They would return in the two sequels, in fact they would be the only real link between these three very different films. DEAD OR ALIVE - from it's frenetic montage opening to it's metaphor-laden, surreal finale is a violent, often comical and totally unforgettable yakuza movie.

Silent Assassins

DEAD OR ALIVE 2: Birds casts Aikawa and Takeuchi together again, but as new characters, a pair of rival yakuza assassins who turn out to be childhood friends; after a botched hit, they flee together to the island where they grew up in an orphanage, and decide to devote their deadly skills to a more humanitarian cause. Whilst still violent, and full of inventive visuals this sequel is quite different from the first film. At times interchanging child actors for the adults, Miike explores themes of childhood, friendship, family and nostalgia - which, strangely enough, are common themes across his extremely varied oeuvre.

DOA - Final

In DEAD OR ALIVE: FINAL, Takeuchi and Aikawa are catapulted into a future Yokohama ruled by multilingual gangs and cyborg soldiers, where they once again butt heads in the action-packed and cyberpunk-tinged finale to the trilogy. In yet another shift the final part of the DOA trilogy owes more to BLADE RUNNER than the yakuxa genre. The setting is a dystopian future where straight sex is outlawed to control the population, and the scientist/government, revolutionaries and replicants are engaged in a violent struggle.

Silent Assassins

Each of them unique in theme and tone, the DEAD OR ALIVE films showcase Miike at the peak of his strengths, creating three very distinct movies connected only by their two popular main actors, each film a separate yet superb example of crime drama, character study, and action filmmaking.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

Blu-ray Special Features

  • High Definition digital transfers of all three films
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio
  • Optional English subtitles for all three films
  • New interview with actor Riki Takeuchi
  • New interview with actor Sho Aikawa
  • New interview with producer and screenwriter Toshiki Kimura
  • New audio commentary for DEAD OR ALIVE by Miike biographer Tom Mes
  • Archive interviews with cast and crew
  • Archive making-of featurettes for DEAD OR ALIVE 2: Birds and DEAD OR ALIVE: FINAL
  • Original theatrical trailers for all three films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Orlando Arocena

DVD Special Features

  • High Definition digital transfers of all three films
  • Original stereo audio
  • Optional English subtitles for all three films
  • New interview with actor Riki Takeuchi
  • New interview with actor Sho Aikawa
  • New interview with producer and screenwriter Toshiki Kimura
  • New audio commentary for DEAD OR ALIVE by Miike biographer Tom Mes
  • Archive interviews with cast and crew
  • Archive making-of featurettes for DEAD OR ALIVE 2: Birds and DEAD OR ALIVE: FINAL
  • Original theatrical trailers for all three films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Orlando Arocena
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger
  • Details

    Blu-ray RRP: £29.99
    DVD RRP: £24.99
    Region: B/2
    Rating: 18
    Duration: 105 / 97 / 89 mins
    Subtitles: English
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    Audio: Stereo
    Colour
    Discs: 2 (Blu-ray) 3 (DVD)