Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha (2000) - One of Takashi Miike's most realistic, nostalgic and appeasing movies - 7/10 (18/06/17)
Just like Rainy Dog, the second instalment in Takashi Miike's Black Society trilogy, the second part of Dead or Alive is the most introspective part of the trilogy. It's essentially a drama carried by two superb lead actors with Sho Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi who develop great chemistry on screen, elaborates on the characters' identities in a harmonious and nostalgic vibe and features exotic natural landscapes on a remote island that contrast the big city life and define the smooth atmosphere of this movie. The movie is surprisingly relaxing for a Takashi Miike film without getting completely rid of the filmmaker's quirky trademark scenes. The brief moments of violence and sexual innuendo are probably even more efficient because they are quite short and concise this time.
Dead or Alive 2: Birds opens and closes with Takashi Miike's excessive action sequences but the main part of this film focuses on the character development of two contract killers who realize they have grown up together and been childhood friends and who decide to work as a team for a good cause in order to rid the world of pitiless criminals and donate their money to buy vaccines for children in developing countries. Aside of the facts that both movies focus on Japanese crime syndicates and its associates and that both movies feature the same main actors, this film is completely different from the first movie in terms of atmosphere, characters and story. Aside of a few experiments with flashbacks and some minor religious symbolism, this is also one of Takashi Miike's most realistic movies.
It's possible to dismiss the quirky first part and adore the more mature second part but it wouldn't be surprising to dislike the first movie for its exaggeration and the second one for its realism. Personally, I appreciate both movies for what they are but have a preference for the first part because I thought it was addicting from start to finish while the second instalment had a few minor length in the middle section. Takashi Miike fans should watch and purchase all three parts of the excellent Dead or Alive trilogy anyway.« Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999) - Another unique gangster movie from Takashi Miike's V-cinema years - 8/10 (18/06/17)Dead or Alive: Final (2002) - Takashi Miike's science-fiction opera - 8/10 (18/06/17) »
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