Friday, 5 January 2018

Dead Or Alive: Final (2002)

Although Dead Or Alive: Final isn't a terrible movie, it's a disappointing end to what could have been a wonderful trilogy from Takashi Miike. Having said that, it at least feels like it belongs here. As flawed as it is, it's almost an inevitable destination for such a strange journey.

Riki Takeuchi and Sho Aikawa return, this time playing a cop and a wandering android, respectively. The setting is a post-apocalyptic future, the two main characters find themselves struggling with their very natures and roles (Takeuchi's cop is working on the orders of someone who may not be all he seems), and that's really all there is to it.

Seriously, that's about it. You get a few fight scenes, there's one twist that doesn't feel that impressive, and none of the characters make much of an impression. Notice that I didn't specify the supporting characters. I mean NONE of the characters. Takeuchi and Aikawa are completely wasted here, only able to shine through in a limited selection of moments in which the material doesn't keep them suffocated.

I didn't even mention the writers in my reviews of the previous Dead Or Alive instalments because, despite the occasional strength of the scripts (particularly in the second film), each film felt very much like a Miike film. This doesn't, which means fewer enjoyable elements to distract from the rather weak script.

Perhaps he was just desperate to finish the trilogy, perhaps he really thought there was a good story hidden away at the centre of this thing, or perhaps he created something that just didn't manage to appeal to my sensibilities in the way that the other films did. Whatever his reasons, Miike takes the potential playground of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film and continues to keep the focus on the relationship between the two leads. In some ways, it's a typically impressive and bravura Miike move, but in other ways it leaves this film feeling like an inferior rehash of themes and ideas explored in the preceding instalments.


Buy the trilogy here.

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