Dead or Alive (2 stars)

(18) 105min (Tartan DVD rental/retail)


In 1999, Takashi Miike released two films. The powerful and disturbing Audition was joined by this ramshackle futuristic affair which featured similar stunts to that year’s Matrix while bowing heavily to the influence of Sergio Leone and comic books. The story itself focuses on a brave new world in which couples are being ordered not to breed and underground replicant forces are rising up to take on their Herod-like leader.

This camp affair has little or no tension and moments that just seem odd for their own sake: one character talks sporadically in English and while everyone understands, they answer him in Japanese; while the dictator’s frolics with a semi-nude saxophone player are just embarrassing. The extras on this money raking rerelease are minimal but the trailer reel of Miike’s other movies is a welcome distraction from the pitiful feature presentation.

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