Dead or Alive

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Dead or Alive (Deddo oa araibu: Hanzaisha) is a full-length Japanese movie that was released in 1999. It is also known as DOA. It was directed by Takashi Miike, a well-known Japanese director who has become known for his highly-controversial movies. Miike’s movies tend to have a cult-based following due to their high amounts of violence, gore and sex. Dead or Alive follows in Miike’s tradition. It is actually a three part series. In 2000 Dead or Alive 2: Birds was released, and in 2002, Dead or Alive: Final was released. It is considered to be a yakuza action film, which is an action film based around the mob.


The opening of the movie has been said to be like a rock video. It is ten minutes worth of quick scenes, jumping rapidly from one to the next. After the beginning, the movie slows down a bit so that Miike can tell the story of two men on different sides of the law. Ryuchi leads a band of men. These men have no home in either the Chinese Triads or the Japanese Yakuza and are misfits. They were all originally Chinese war orphans and their leader, Ryuchi, has decided to declare war on both the Triads and the Yakuza.

Detective Jojima is the man assigned to track them down. Unfortunately, Jojima is not having a good year. Jojima has discovered that his wife is cheating on him, and his daughter is deathly ill. She is in need of an operation to save her life, but Jojima can not afford it. In this first movie of the trilogy, Ryuichi and Jojima meet. They are two sides of the same coin.

Part II

Dead of Alive 2: Birds is much different from Dead or Alive. It features the men as rival hit men. They end up being contracted to do the same job and, when they see each other, realize that they are old friends. They decide to take a vacation with each other and head to the island that they grew up on. It is there that the men decide to stop killing for money and start killing for right. This puts them on the bad side of the mafia and they end up having to fight to stay alive.

Part III

Dead or Alive: Final is much different than either of the two previous movies. Again, the two main actors are starring, but this time as androids, one on each side of the law, similarly to the first movie. Aikawa, a drifter, ends up ganging up with a group of rebels that are up to no good. They kidnap Riki’s son. Riki is a tough cop that does not take “no” for an answer. Riki and Takeuchi eventually end up in a showdown, with the two fusing together at the end of the fight, signaling that they were both the same person in two separate bodies. The ending was designed in order to keep the fans happy, as both Riki and Takeuchi have a very strong fan base. This way both men ended up the winner.

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