Dead or Alive (1999) film thoughts… Here is one that I have been avoiding forever since it’s by a director who I like but don’t totally love. Takashi Miike is a solid film maker, I just get turned off by the severe wackiness he tend to throw in most of his films. I have read quite a bit on this film and expected the worst, but it is a good candidate for this month’s theme. Dead or Alive is a much deeper film than you might think, I was surprised.
There are a few groups of people here to follow. The Yakuza and Chinese mafia, a collection of misfit thugs who want to take over, a police force which is wishy washy on the violence happening and a lone hardcore cop, who is having problems with his wife and daughter (who happens to need life saving surgery). For the most part, Dead or Alive is a seriously gangster picture. All of the people in the above groups are fully realized and contribute to the overall story. The leader of the Chinese misfit gang has no qualms about taking out one of his own when he is “betrayed”, even though that means they will be handicapped in the end. The police are mostly on the pad and just want everything to be steady. The loner cop is having catastrophic issues with his family and puts his job above all others (He himself though is not above “taking a deal”…).
It’s a nasty film too, loads of gunplay and horrible knife violence throughout. It being a Miike film though, there is of course the weird zaniness put into the film at the most bizarre times. I mean, why is there a guy in a bird suit at one of the Yakuza/Chinese gang meetings?! The ending is just entirely off the rails and ridiculous. (There are 2 sequels and I just want to know “how”?)
I did love it, a high rating from the Fiend. The scenes with the family are just bleak, no happiness to be found. (and that makes me happy…)