Dead or Alive 2 (Widescreen Sub) [Import]
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From the ashes of Dead or Alive's apocalyptic ending comes Dead or Alive 2, both a continuation of the series and a stand-alone film on par with its predecessor. Serving up shockingly graphic violence, sincere character nuance, engaging humor and transcendent magical realism with equal mastery, Dead or Alive 2 offers definitive evidence of why the New York Post hailed director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) as "one of the most exciting, versatile directors working today." After Yakuza hitman Mizuki (Sho Aikawa) watches a high-priced target gunned down by another assassin, he combs the underworld in search of clues that will reveal his rival's identity. But when the two executioners meet, they discover they are long-lost childhood friends. Now reunited, Mizuki and his amigo Shuichi (Riki Takeuchi) team up to pay off their spiritual debts while staying one trigger-pull ahead of the Yakuza mobsters and drug triad killers who want them dead. Somehow simultaneously reprising and reversing their roles from the first DOA installment, Japanese "V Film" cult actors Aikawa and Takeuchi are joined by Tetsuo: Iron Man creator Shinyu Ysukamoto in a rare onscreen appearance. Director Miike loads DOA 2 with equally rich portions of mayhem and sentiment, creating both a bloodthirsty Asian action film and a lyrical journey of cinematic finesse.
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Sho Aikawa is a hired sniper who is employed by a small mob to cause a war between 2 powerful yakuza groups.
When he positions for his prey, suddenly a member of the group(Riki Takeuchi) that protects his target kills every single gang member without a reason. Soon Aikawa is on the run with the money and he finds out that the yakuza who killed his group is a childhood friend with whom he grew up in the same orphanage. After ,they are teamed to kill bad guys for money which is sent to Africa for the injections needed for ill children.
Like the story points, movie is rather different from the first one. Characters are actually on the same side this time and althought there are loads of killing and violence, movie is more concerned with past and issues like friendship, childhood memories and little humanity which is still left in the hearts of Yakuza members. Also Movie has a very positive message, and unlike the first film, you will witness loads of nice landscapes.
When old friends visit their orphanage, they find their childhood innocence which is still hiding somewhere. But ofcourse that is a miike film and you will witness loads of violence especially in the scenes of dark metallic corridors where yakuza attack each other with pistols and katanas.
Dark irony, absurd moments, strange people (miikes trademarks) are of course all over the movie so have no fear.
Instead of repeating what he has done, miike chooses the hard way and makes a movie from the different point of view without loosing the plot or the control of the film. He also proves that he can shoot any type of movie he wants without falling flat on floor (proved in katakuris and bird people of china)
Although series of dead or alive will always be remembered for the first film (and especially the over the top cult ending), Dead or alive 2 is definitely a film not to be missed. One of miike's memorable films.
The movie starts off with an assassination that is supposed to ignite a war between the triads. But, before we know it, this movie takes a 180 degree turn as the two main characters of the film (Sho Aikawa and Riki Takeuchi) return to their boyhood, island home in search of their lost innocence. They were both raised on an orphanage before they became professional killers, so the idea of returning to the island is a return to their childhood when they were innocent. Once they arrive on the island, they meet up with their other boyhood friend, Kohei, who has become a modest fisherman as opposed to a hit man. For a while, Sho and Riki return to their childhood. They play like children, act like children, and live under an illusion of innocence and well-being while all hell breaks lose back in Tokyo because of their prior actions. The best example of this is the juxtaposition of the children's play scene and the ultra violent Yakuza shoot out scene. During this nostalgic visit it is fully realized that these two characters were meant to meet up again, that it was fate for them to join forces and work together as a team. They join forces and return to Tokyo. Once they are there, they start killing off gang members and donating the money to charities for children in third world countries. Therefore, they become angels of life and death by dictating who lives and who dies. They are saving children, yet killing off people in order to do it.
This is basically what Dead Or Alive 2 is all about. Its storyline is not a continuation of Dead Or Alive 1 in the traditional sense, which in many ways makes this film an entity of its own. With this movie, Takashi Miik proves that he is more than a traditional film maker. He keeps things interesting by not outdoing himself, but rather by doing things different; looking at things from different angles and throwing characters into alternate situations. There is no good guy vs. bad guy showdown here, it's just a good-old fashioned nostalgic story of life and death.
The atmosphere of the movie is also very different from the first DEAD OR ALIVE. A lot less hysterical editings and non-stop action sequences in this film clearly divided in three parts. Between the first and the last part where action movies fans will find back the Takashi Miike they know, the two heroes spend a few days in their native island, remembering their childhood in an orphanage. These sequences are masterfully directed by Miike who confirms here that he's a more than interesting director. Recommended.
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