Kaoru Sugita

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Dead Or Alive Review


Very 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.

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