Gangsters set out to take over the drugs trade in Japan in DOA part 1. They have the leaders of the current trade killed off and set out to fund the purchase of a bigger stash with bank robbing. The only person who can stop them is a detective by the name of Jojima! He knows that something is up and has to find a way of stopping it before it stops him. DOA 2: The Birds sees two assassins coming to terms with a few odd home truths. The main one is that after failing to complete a hit, they realise they know each other from school. They then return to their home to use the killing touch in better ways. DOA: Final is a time travelling set up. Yokohama is a new world of violence and electronic devices with the two assassins going into this poisoned future with weapons raised. They have to take on robot gangsters and cyborg gang leaders…Well kind of all of this… They have to finish what they started before it is too late.
Takashi Miike is a tough sell to some in the film fan base. He loves exploitation cinematics and often uses visual and thematic devices that are hard to swallow. In this series for instances he has a beastility porn shoot that is interrupted by a cop. That for some is uncomfortable viewing. He also loves to talk about regional coding, like Chinese or Korean dialect and its independence from Japanese language. All in all he is the face of cinema that some run too and other flee like a volcano erupting. He might not make you engaged but he often makes you enraged. Others things are the fast paced cutting and use of techniques like slow motion or over cranking and close up zooms of absurd violent acts. Take his Iichi the killer or Deadly Outlaw Rekka as examples of violent ballets. Both films are a barrage of image and violence but also are loaded with thematic devices and plays on convention. One also fell foul of the UK censor and is still unreleasable uncut in the UK. This said I quite like his films and find that they often challenge the viewer to get in on the act and enjoy the arterial spray and transgressive attitude of genders and social classes.
DOA (BR 3.5/5 EX 4/5)
Is the weakest film of the set but has elements of sheer abstract humour, violence and sex to make up for it. It lead performances are good enough to serve the film maker and the overall film is a worth while time passing device. Its principal story is well served with fast cutting, great musical cues and a lovely tonal visual play between the guys who kill and the guys who steal.Watch it, if you are going to challenge that and then come back to me.
The Blu is good and highlights are the commentary, which serves up a delightful slice of trivia and unpacking of a film that could have been a throw away. Of also check out the interviews.
DOA 2: The Birds(BR 4/5 EX 3/5)
The Birds has the body and soul of much more than a straight gangster flick. It has pathos, which it does really well. Funny as it is, you can still take it as a clever story of the changing face of prospect in Japan. Both men have seen the stable expected role they have morph into the realisation they are just contracted buffons. Then they use each other to escape and this is told really well. Some time the film blends the emotion and the spectacular into a mind mash but mostly the film is very good, very engaging and well worth a visit.
The making of is the only thing of note. It is not great mind.
DOA: Final (BR 3.5/5 EX 2/5)
Sadly this is the weaker building made on the foundations of a very good film. Its more for the gun ballets (which it does very well) and less for the longer view analysis of the previous film. That made it stand up and ask questions. This film stands up and then punches you.
Blu is under loved in my opinion.
- 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