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Dead Or Alive 2 (2000)

DVD Cover (Kino Video)
Movie Connections:
Dead Or Alive
> Dead Or Alive (1999)
> Dead Or Alive 2 (2000)
> Dead Or Alive: Final (2002)
Genres:
Action, Action Thriller, Crime, Crime Drama, Gangster Film
Director:
Takashi Miike Takashi Miike
Starring:
Shô Aikawa Shô Aikawa
Riki Takeuchi Riki Takeuchi
Noriko Aota Noriko Aota
Edison Chen Edison Chen
Genta Dairaku Genta Dairaku

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends. Together they take a break from killing and visit the small island they once called home. After reflecting on their past lives they decided to team up and use their talents in killing for good... much to the upset of the crime syndicates. --TMDb
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Review by Ginose
Added: February 18, 2010
After I clearly stated, or so I feel, my confusion of the West's wide-acceptance of the first "Dead or Alive" as one of Takashi Miike's finer films I went on to recall that the films in the series are so drastically fucking different in tone, story and pacing from one another that there is no clear way to draw comparisons between the whole of them.

Where as "Dead or Alive" takes a traditional parody route, its sequels appear as a comedic rehashing of childhood memories as seen through the long-jaded eyes of its protagonists and a hard-as-fuck, fast-paced sci-fi action flick respectively. None of them have any connecting features aside from the two lead actors (Riki Takeuchi and Show Aikawa) and the focus on fast-paced ultra-violence. None are terribly deep or compelling, none are terribly complex or multi-layered, but all three are a terrible lot of fun.

That said, this film revolves around two assassins, one having been paid to knock off a power-player for a Triad syndicate by a striving Yakuza family, hoping to force the Triads against another Yakuza syndicate, thinning their numbers and upping their chances to overthrow both groups. While Mizuki readies himself for the hit, a strange thing happens and the Triad bosses are, instead, killed by an unknown assassin, seemingly in it for some similar reason. After collecting his money, Mizuki boards a ferry to a local island where he comes across the assailant, discovering it to be a long-lost childhood friend of his, Shu, together, they return to their hometown, re-experiencing their childhood days and discussing their work, eventually coming up with a remarkable idea, one that both seem enthusiastic about.

Much like the first film in the series, this is, without a doubt, everything it tries to be: Fun, fast-paced, violent to ridiculous extremes, strange and, most of all, unique. Perfecting itself from every available stand-point in the action genre, with blaringly fast-paced gun-fights, over-the-top violence as well as well-set dialogue and plot-pieces, and even goes so far as to take a uniquely surreal approach to symbolism, allowing the characters to mold and transform with their changes in personality and practices. Eh… an odd choice, by any school of thought, but it makes for a work as visually busy as it is action-wise.

The huge blow against it comes in the simple break in pacing; where as the first 15 minutes or so are exciting, violent and interesting, it moves to a lulling, dream-like ambiance and pace as the men return to their boyhoods, taking everything in from their days past, complete with flashbacks and the like. Although somewhat necessary to aid the characterization of everyone, it really makes you forget you're watching an action movie at points, and then, BAM! There's a huge explosion of violent gunplay between the two, now warring, Triad and Yakuza gangs. This makes for a bumpy, unsettling pace for the movie to keep up with and, although not damaging, it almost makes the characters' realizations seem silly.

Flow breaking, though it may be, I can only assume this was a case of style over decent filmmaking, which is an error most directors hit with a bit of sloppiness, here it felt as appropriate as ever I've seen it, and at least keeps everyone (people enjoying the movie and people enjoying the ACTION movie) satisfied while the carnage unfolds.

In all of its over-saturation of style, "Dead or Alive 2" never really forgets that, much like its predecessor, is just a fun-filled, gory romp into the world of ultra-violent, over-the-top mobster films and, unlike its predecessor, doesn't try to flesh anything out too dramatically at any given time.

Some would call it uneven, but some also seem to forget how jagged a pace the first films in the "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon" series had; a good action movie should STILL be judged against any other film to be considered a "good film". Otherwise it's just another "good action film".

"Dead or Alive 2" is a good, entertaining, action film.

8.9/10.
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