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Dead Or Alive: Final Review


OK
Takashi Miike, at last, completes the Dead or Alive series with this ultra-bizarre installment of man vs. man violence. Now set in the midrange future, it's the typical slow-mo violence we've come to expect from Miike (and some of the gun battles are extremely impressive and archly funny), but Miike's obsession with perverted sex and urination may turn off more viewers than he normally does. The ending, which features a robot/alien/monster with a giant penis for a head, will certainly get you talking. Maybe not in a good way, though...

Ley Lines Review


Good
Ley Lines is billed as the third and final film in Japanese director Takashi Miike's "Black Society Trilogy," but that doesn't mean you have to see the first two films, Shinjuku Triad Society and Rainy Dog, to follow along. All three films are loosely connected by themes and overarching philosophies, but they're three different stories with three different sets of characters (though some actors appear in multiple films).

Like the first two films, Ley Lines concerns itself with outsiders trying to navigate both an insular Japan and the even more insular -- and violent -- world of organized crime in Tokyo. But this story begins out in the sticks. Black sheep Ryuchi (Kazuki Kitamura) can't wait to break the bounds of his boring country life by moving to the big city to look for trouble. His younger brother Shunrei (Michisuke Kashiwaya) disapproves, but after all of Ryuchi's friends, with the exception of the excitable Chan (Tomorowo Taguchi), chicken out on joining the adventure, Shun decides to tag along.

Continue reading: Ley Lines Review

Dead Or Alive Review


Good
Here's the tagline for the first installment of Miike's highly regarded (and deeply disturbing) Dead or Alive trilogy: "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." Never mind the clowns. This warning doesn't even get close to the truth. I'm talking about beastiality, scatalogical horrors, countless prostitutes, and geysers of blood. I'm not sure Dead or Alive is suitable for any audience. Miike, for what it's worth, does have a good yarn to spin here, about rival Chinese vs. Japanese gangs, a renegade cop who needs money for daughter's operation, and the intertwining of all of these. Miike's direction is a virtuoso performance of long shots and extreme close ups combined with swirling in-your-face action. And either he coaxed excellent drug-addled performances from his actors or he seriously doped them in real life -- either way, bravo.

Note: There's probably no point in seeing the R-rated version of this. Get the director's cut, which is unrated.

Continue reading: Dead Or Alive Review

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