"...if you were to bottle Sho Aikawa's sweat and sell it as a cologne the only name fitting for it would be 'Charisma'"
Dead or Alive: Final (2002)
AKA: Dead or Alive 3
Writer: Hitoshi Ishikawa, Yoshinobu Kamo, Ichiro Ryu
Producer: Toshiki Kimura, Mitsuru Kurosawa
Cast: Sho Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Richard Chen, Terence Yin, Josie Ho, Maria Chen, Hiroyoshi Komuro
Running Time: 86 Min.
Plot: See slaXor's review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
LOONIEWEED'S REVIEW: Boy, I wasn't expecting THAT! I mean, after watching the incredible DOA: Birds, I couldn't wait to get into Final. But instead of badass sci-fi kung-fu goodness, I get bad sci-fi kung fu crap with a huge mech for a penis as a head. IMO, I thought the film was somewhat tame than some of Miike's other films such as Audition and Birds (well, nothing touches the death of the midget from the Text Message Killers.) you still get some of the nastiness with a guy getting it up the ass... after seeing that I was horrified for the rest of the day. And to think that was the last scene in the film, it just leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. But this is to be expected from a Miike film. The film was solid, but after watching the greatness that is Birds, I felt a little down from Final. I have to admit, I never thought Sho Aikawa could have a cigarette in less than 5 seconds. That was a neat little touch Miike added for Sho's android character.
Check it out, it's enjoyable, but I find it's 'prequel' if you can call it that, much more satisfying and a better movie than this.
LOONIEWEED'S RATING: 6/10
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: Instead of reviewing each of the three Dead or Alive movies individually, I'll just go for it and try to kill 3 birds with one stone. The only thing the three movies actually have in common (on screen) is that they all star Sho Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi. Though Aikawa seems to play 3 different roles in the movies, Takeuchi only seems to play variations on the same character (but, don't think this is a bad thing). I'll start with a brief run down of the plots of the 3 films.
Detective Jojima (Aikawa) is on the trail of Ryuichi (Takeuchi) and his gang after they pull off a bank heist. Unfortunately, because of his demanding job, Jojima doesn't get to spend a lot of time with his family, but takes it upon himself to come up with $200,000 for an operation for his sick daughter. Ryuichi is as cold-blooded as they come and doesn't let anyone stand in his way, including Jojima. Lots of shoot outs, lots of blood and lots of the usual sick Miike stuff. It had, by far, the funniest and strangest ending EVER.
Not nearly as bloody as the first (or any other Miike movie I've ever seen), but definitely more dramatic and more of a character driven piece. Mizuki Otamoko (Aikawa), a sniper assassin, is about to pull the trigger on his latest kill when he's interrupted by his target being shot in the back of the head at point blank range by one of his own men, Shuichi Sawada (Takeuchi). When Otamoko realizes who the killer is, his childhood friend, he goes back to the orphanage where they were raised together knowing that Sawada will go there, too. After spending some time together (and with some of their other friends from the orphanage), they team up to kill· but for a very good cause.
In the year 2346, Yokohama's residents are ruled by an evil, homosexual, overlord, Mayor Woo, bent on keeping people from ever breeding again. Ryu (Aikawa), a super-human replicant, protects a young boy from Officer Honda (Takeuchi) and his troop, and joins the boy's family/underground resistance movement as they try to kidnap Woo. Their goal is to trade the Mayor for the release of their compatriots. Things go wrong and they end up accidentally kidnapping Honda's son. Unfortunately, there weren't as many cool special effects as I was hoping for in such a futuristic sci-fi movie. But the few times they were used, it was very entertaining.
Sho Aikawa was terrific in all three movies. He played his character of Jojima in DOA1 cold and dark. He played Otamoko as a slightly aloof assassin, but with a purpose as noble and as touching as any. Finally, he played Ryu as a playful, but deadly, protector of the people who became his friends. The acting of the two leads was definitely what made the trilogy so memorable.
I would highly recommend them. The action is plentiful, but the drama is there as well. They certainly aren't the best in their genres, but they're definitely above average and extremely well done.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 9/10 (Overall Trilogy rating: 8/10)
SLAXOR'S REVIEW: Well, the first thing I'd like to get out of the way is that people may wonder why someone would start with a review for the third and final installment in this excellent trilogy. The reason is that parts one and two of the Dead or Alive series have already been reviewed and praised to the heavens several times over.
In the final installment we are set
in the year 2346 in a post-apocalyptic Yokohama, Japan (really, present
day Hong Kong). Mayor Wu is the homosexual ruler of the rest of civilization,
hell-bent on ending it via a birth control drug he has created in order
to stop the furthering of the human race and prevent it from repeating
the same mistakes which lead us to the apocalyptic times we are in now.
Honda, played by the always brooding DOA lead Riki Takeuchi, is a total
badass cop who is Mayor Wu's right hand man and the owner of the coolest
interchangeable jacket you will ever see. He is assigned to eliminate a
group of misfit delinquents who refuse to take the birth control drug and
long to escape Yokohama to create a new world. His assignment seems to
be no trouble until the group of misfits are lucky enough to get a surviving
battle replicant (Yes, I
First thing that really makes this movie for me is Sho Aikawa. Don't get me wrong in that Riki Takeuchi is one of the most badass actors walking the planet and if you bottled his sweat and sold it as cologne the obvious name would be "Badass". But, if you were to bottle Sho Aikawa's sweat and sell it as a cologne the only name fitting for it would be "Charisma". The guy is like a walking sponge of it waiting for a camera to be pointed in his direction and squeeze it out of him. Every time he smiles in the movie, I smile too. The non-lead HK actors do a good job as well. If Riki is the badass and Sho is the charisma sponge then Terence Yin is the mack daddy. Josie Ho in this movie is just yummy to say the least. Her character starts out a little annoying but by the end of the movie you will have all but fallen in love with her.
Second thing is Takashi Miike's expert use of color filters in this movie. Those being mainly yellow and the occasional green. They really help to give you that futuristic apocalyptic feeling and add a bit of style to the movie without over doing it. The homages/references are also their and always a delight to me. The first and most obvious are replicants which are, of course, from Blade Runner. Another is bullet time from The Matrix, but not used completely like The Matrix and with Miike's own special touch. He also pays homage to his own films with one of the misfit delinquents wearing a vest with a yellow number one on the back, which is no doubt a nod to Ichi the Killer; I'm sure with the knowledge I could write an entire review on the homages.
So does Miike close up the trilogy in a satisfying way? Absolutely, yes. As long as you don't expect an over-the-top ending like part one or an ending with a very deep meaning like part two you will be pleased and probably thank me for warning you ahead of time. Although I love parts one and two I find myself in the minority of people who think Miike's final and closing chapter is the best and most underrated of the trilogy.
SLAXOR'S RATING: slaXor's fanboy rating: 10/10, slaXor's casual viewer rating: 6/10