Dead Or Alive Review

Image for Dead Or Alive

A Yakuza of Chinese descent and a Japanese cop both start wars against the Japanese mafia, with bloody and surreal consequences.


Despite initially appearing to be a standard cop movie, Takashi Miike's Dead Or Alive is actually an oblique and frankly surreal tale, bolstered with regular helpings of blood, guts and other even less attractive body parts.

A troubled policeman tracks a drug dealer through Japan's neon crime world, encountering bestiality, dismemberment and a woman drowning in her own diarrhoea. Lovely.

The narrative is confusing and the characters are decidedly sketchy. As you'd expect from the director of Audition, it's stylishly shot and the frenetic opening minutes are especially impressive. But by the final insane scene, it's in grave danger of disappearing up its own backside.

As you'd expect from Takashi Miike, the violence is extreme and many of the traditional elements of a film (plot, character, moral) missing. But it is undeniably stylish.