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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Gangsters > Hong Kong > Dead or Alive Trilogy (1999 - 2002/Arrow 2-Disc Blu-ray Set)

Dead or Alive Trilogy (1999 - 2002/Arrow 2-Disc Blu-ray Set)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: B Films: C+/B-/B-

Director Takashi Miike is defiantly an acquired taste as all of his films are loaded with bizarre imagery and more violence and sex than many can handle. Some of his most subversive work to date is his Dead or Alive Trilogy (1999, 2000, 2002), which has been brought together in a triple feature Blu-ray release from Arrow Films and features Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 2: Birds, and Dead or Alive: Final.

In Dead or Alive, Ryuichi (Takeuchi Riki) and his small group decide to make their own place by trying to take over the Shinjuku underworld and the drug trade from Taiwan, having no loyalty to anyone but themselves. Targeting the Chinese and Japanese mafia kings, only Detective Jojima (Aikawa Sho) stands between their malicious rise to power.

In Dead or Alive 2: Birds, two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are long lost childhood friends. They soon decide to take a break from their violent lives and visit the small island where they spent their childhood together. Soon, they form an alliance and become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with against the twisted crime syndicates and cybernetic foes that oppose them.

And finally in Dead or Alive: Final, my favorite of the three installments, the setting is in a post apocalyptic Yokohama where the population is kept under rigid control by a half crazed mayor, Riki Takeuchi is a hard boiled cop and Show Aikawa is a mellowed out drifter that hooks up with a gang of rebels. When the gang kidnap Takeuchi's son, the wheels are set in motion that leads to an explosive finale that has to be seen to be believed.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and uncompressed Japanese 2.0 stereo tracks that are a fine improvement over the DVD set version we reviewed a few years ago on this site, with little to complain about in terms of presentation. English subtitles are also available for each film. The cinematography here is definitely interesting, as is the editing, that cinephiles will certainly want to take note of while watching.

Special Features include...

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.

Fans of the films will want to check out this limited edition release that shines on Blu-ray disc thanks to Arrow Video.

- James Lockhart



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