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Review: Dead or Alive Trilogy (Arrow Video)

Dead or Alive Trilogy


Starring: Riki Takeuchi, Sho Aikawa
Directed: Takashi Miike
Studio: Arrow Video
Format:  Blu-Ray
Disc Release Date: April 11, 2017



Beginning with an explosive, six-minute montage of sex, drugs and violence, and ending with a phallus-headed battle robot taking flight, Takashi Miike’s unforgettable Dead or Alive Trilogy features many of the director’s most outrageous moments set alongside some of his most dramatically moving scenes. Made between 1999 and 2002, the Dead or Alive films cemented Miike’s reputation overseas as one of the most provocative enfants terrible of Japanese cinema, yet also one of its most talented and innovative filmmakers.

In Dead or Alive, tough gangster Ryuichi (Riki Takeuchi) and his ethnically Chinese gang make a play to take over the drug trade in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district by massacring the competition. But he meets his match in detective Jojima (Show Aikawa), who will do everything to stop them. Dead or Alive 2: Birds casts Aikawa and Takeuchi together again, but as new characters, a pair of rival yakuza assassins who turn out to be childhood friends; after a botched hit, they flee together to the island where they grew up, and decide to devote their deadly skills to a more humanitarian cause. And in Dead or Alive: Final, Takeuchi and Aikawa are catapulted into a future Yokohama ruled by multilingual gangs and cyborg soldiers, where they once again butt heads in the action-packed and cyberpunk-tinged finale to the trilogy.

Each of them unique in theme and tone, the Dead or Alive films showcase Miike at the peak of his strengths, creating three very distinct movies connected only by their two popular main actors, each film a separate yet superb example of crime drama, character study, and action filmmaking.


My Review:

Dead or alive Trilogy is a boxset of Three films created by Takashi Miike. Featuring action, Shock, Gore, Weirdness, Nudity and to a point an artistic visual. These films are not made for every film viewer. Miike fans will enjoy, or those looking for something in a film that can flip from realistic to WTF just happened will also find themselves following Miike’s film including these three.

All three films do not connect with each other until the third movie which try’s to pull in a connection with a super weird ending including flashback of the last two films. The other connection is the two main lead male actors and of Course Miike Directing.


Dead or Alive stars Kiki Takeuchi who is like the main boss a villain but a mixture of cobra and terminator when talking about his style. Sho Aikawa are second lead plays a Detective hunting down Kiki and his group a Yakuza of Chinese Decent. The Newly formed Yakuza is looking to take over the under ground wold but the law stands in the way. This film is more gritty and posses more shock value then the other two films. Like A Lady swimming in her own shit or Guy on guy action where one gets his throat cut while the other enjoys it. This film is more about pushing the limits with an ending that just completely changes the film in it self. The film goes out-of-bounds from gritty shocking cop vs thug filled with nice gun action to comedy and weird. One guy blows him self up while jumping in the detective’s car while it explodes the car goes flying off-screen another guy throws a knife…Like why but it was funny.. The detective makes it w, gets out of the car….with a knife in his chest haha. At one point he pulls a rocket launcher out of his back while the Yakuza leader goes overboard and creates and energy spirit bomb from his chest….World ends.

The film was fun, shocking and it had its WTF moments a bit of comedy. Not Miike’s best but still fun.

3.5 out of 5 Ill give this one


Dead or Alive 2: Birds is the second film starring both leads form the last film but this time they are not playing against each other but both are playing assassins who find out later that they are close friends and grew up together in the same orphanage. Sho Aikawa whom played the detective last film plays a Sniper assassin payed to shoot a guy in his head. This time he looks cooler with blond spiked hair. Kiki Takeuchi also playing an assassin but is more close action guy. While are sniper is looking to put a bullet in a guys head at the start of the film a random guy out of nowhere kills the that guy and all his cronies leaving are sniper saying what the fuck just happened. Thinking he got away with not killing any one he is later hunted down buy the guys who payed him to shoot a guy in his head. Now on the run he boards a boat headed back to the place where he grew up but look who on board the other assassin.

This film has a better story line less shock but more comedy and this film had me laughing good bit. The film has its great gun action but most of the movie focuses on the two leads reliving their lives on the run at the place they grew up in, meeting two other best friends. The weirdness portion of the film is that out of nowhere near the end after killing some guys are two leads pops out wings….Also during some of the killing scenes it will show them as kids while they are killing. The ending the world doesn’t end but its a long death scene.

For me this is favorite of the three films. The action is even better, some shock and gore but what helps is the story and comedy we get. The one death scene of a young guy on the floor near the end was pretty realistic. Some say these will be less in the star rating due to them looking for more of a bang of shock and weird but this brings more heart and the action was even more gritty. 4 out of 5 for me.


Dead or Alive: Final is the third and last film in this set and once again star are two main leads but this time Riki Takeuchi in his cobra terminator style plays the good guy a detective and Sho Aikawa plays are bad guy still rocking the blond spiky hair. This films contains no shock well maybe a fraction but this one focuses on the weird. The time line is the Future a post apocalyptic era science fiction robotic androids which the plot line goes west world at the end when are Good lead finds out it’s not all real including him self. The Bad guy whom is not really a bad guy just a rebel who’ve joined up with others to stop this crazy mayor who is trying to kill off pro creation. Also he is gay.

Are rebel Sho Aikawa’s character knows he is a robot and in fact has super powers, he is super fast and can catch bullets. The plot is way out their including the very end when are two leads join after fighting each other…they really join by forming a bigger robot with a penis head while both of their faces are the nipples…yea its out their. The very end of the film ends with a shock and the mayor and gay lover banging each other.
The film was my least favorite of the three as it was out their type of movie but did have good actions but with fast cuts and I did get a few laughs. Also with this film the original copy had subtitles burned in so we have English subs on top of other subtitles. Also it was the least good-looking film of the three making distant shots more smooth and blurred like but didn’t hold that to it. Over all I give this film a 3 out of 5

Over all the boxset was a fun time filled with WTF moments and some great looking action at times. All three films switches up the main leads roles. Want shock Check the first one, Want Comedy and heart check the second film want an all out weird one check the 3rd film. I

I give this boxset a 4 out of 5 and its must have for Miike fans and those looking for some shock, cool action, and weird moments.




  • High Definition digital transfers of all three films
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio
  • Optional English subtitles for all three films
  • New interview with actor Riki Takeuchi
  • New interview with actor Sho Aikawa
  • New interview with producer and screenwriter Toshiki Kimura
  • New audio commentary for Dead or Alive by Miike biographer Tom Mes
  • Archive interviews with cast and crew
  • Archive making-of featurettes for DOA2: Birds and DOA: Final
  • Original theatrical trailers for all three films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Orlando Arocena


FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger


About Masked Avenger

CEO/Webmaster of The Name Is James and I love Film ranging from Silent 20's to highly CGI Blockbusters of today. Westerns, Horror, world film, basically anything that peaks my interest I own it But Asian Films are what I Prize the most and Half of My collection Consists of Asian Films. Thanks to the Film 5 Deadly Venoms

I Hail From The US, Maryland Is where The Ninja Studies and views the Scrolls of Film That Shine on his 46" Screen. I own a sword, I can do a thousand upside down situps, and I randomly disappear in smoke when I'm not writing movie news and or reviews.

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