Dead or Alive: Final

Starring: Sho Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Maria Chen, Richard Chen and Jason Chu
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3745
Certificate: 15
Available 28 May 2007

In a post-apocalyptic world, society has become a totalitarian state, under the control of Dictator Woo, who strictly regulates birth control. A renegade cyborg named Ryo, drifts from place to place and eventually hooks up with a rebel gang. With his super-powered reflexes and strength, he rescues one of the gang's sons from the cops and then proceeds to kidnap the son of officer Honda, a hard boiled cop trying in vain to enforce the law. Battle commences between the two, destroying everyone in their paths. Dead or alive, one of them will win...

Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive: Final completes his explosive trilogy with this deliriously mad, gritty sci-fi romp filled with gun-toting cops, giant robots, maniacal dictators, and a hot torrent of bullets.

Now, the synopsis and opening paragraph above I copied from the back of the DVD case. I have a few issues with the synopsis. Firstly "Dead or alive, one of them will win" is inaccurate; they don't "destroy everyone in their path"; there isn't a "hot torrent of bullets"; and finally there is a giant robot, but not "robots" - it makes it sound like there's a big showdown with hordes of towering metal monsters to battle. The PR blurb seems to have been written by someone who hasn't watched the movie - or who was trying to seriously sex up the movie's plot. And that's a shame, because this movie is quite capable of standing on its own two feet. The following words are also splattered across the front of the DVD case: "Ultra-violent" - no it's not! "Delirious" - hmm, not really! "Insane" - nope, sorry.

The movie is set in 2346 AD, in a post apocalyptic Yokohama where the population is kept under rigid control by a half crazed mayor who, among other terrible rules, forbids procreation. A loose resistance forms among the city's criminal element and a group of rebels, but when they take the son of Honda, a tough cop whose job it is to enforce the law, they must deal with his vengeance. The only force holding back Honda is Ryo, a replicant who has his own plans.

Any members of this society who fail to take the mandatory drug, that keeps everyone in check, is outcast into a rundown area of the city. But this is the price that those must pay who want total freedom. As Honda starts to see the error of his bosses ways, he starts to pick away at the veneer of his life. What he discovers is something that will shake the foundations of his world.

Extras are a little thin on the ground. All we get are a collection of trailers for other Miike movies. The sound comes in stereo, 5.1 surround, or DTS - all with optional English subtitles.

Don't take it too seriously (or at all for that matter) and you'll enjoy this movie the way Miike intended - with tongue firmly in cheek.

Pete Boomer

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