Those familiar with Takashi Miike's controversial reputation for extreme violence will feel at home here, as will those familiar with his highly esteemed track record. NOT based on the popular video games, Dead Or Alive is a crime drama set in the underground world of the Yakuza, a crime syndicate which feature prominently in the film. Those who enjoy deftly-crafted violence will love it, right down to the ending.
The first eight minutes is an intense, balls-to-the-wall firehose of visual chaos. If you make it through that, then you've got a mostly-conventional cops and yakuza caper, with scattered moments of shock and disgust. Then in the last ten minutes, the movie goes completely over the top. Don't analyze it. Just sit back and accept it. Rules don't apply in a Takashi Miike film.
First ten minutes = insanity. Utter insanity. Middle = Pretty mundane with flashes of Lynchian bizarre moments. Last ten minutes = cool as hell. Ridiculousness. Ending = What the hell. Basic Yakuza crime story littered throughout with Miike moments of shocking scenes and images. Not sure they amount to more than just taboo shockers. Miike don't care. He just don't care. He be crazy. Straight up crazy.
Nobody else blends perversity and pathos quite like Miike (see the Black Society Trilogy, Audition) and this movie hits both notes shrilly and often superbly, tho the second movie in the trilogy is much, much better, IMO, and for the end, a simple but effective visual metaphor for the characters' emotional apocalypse....
Extravagant gangster stravaganza blending lavish displays with gritty action challenging the formulaic conventions of the the genre. Miike exudes talent to break barriers borders and protocols. Here the plot is somehow secondary and conventional, always carried away by the colourful insanity of his maverick creator.