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Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha
IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from 2,741 votes
Release: 2 December 2000 (Japan) /

Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Takashi Miike,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends. Together they take a break from killing and visit the small island they once called home. After reflecting on their past lives they decided to team up and use their talents in killing for good... much to the upset of the crime syndicates. Written by Danny Leary

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Critic Reviews

The problem it seems for so many Miike viewers is that their expectations build up from viewing earlier films. And then they expect all of his films to meet those expectations. And then whine and bitch when he confounds them. Why can not you all accept each of his films on it's own terms? Why would you expect DOA 2 to be like DOA 1? If you do, you don't know Miike and his approach to movie making.

The DOA TRILOGY is, it seems to me, Miike's meditation on the relationship between seemingly opposing energetic masculine 'forces'. In the films these forces are characterized in various ways: 'good'/'bad', 'light'/'dark', 'white'/'black', 'social'/'antisocial', police/gangs, Yakuza/triad, bla bla bla. And in this respect the trilogy is a meditation on man-to-man relations in general in our world today. In the first film, like positive and negative electrons, the personifications of these forces eventually annihilate one another in a cataclysmic explosion that destroys the planet that really messes with the audience's mind.

In the second film the embodiment of these forces are brought back together to explore the possibility of their working together as a positive conjunction for a 'greater good'. They are also shown here to have originated from more or less the same source. Their relationship here is glossed with 'gay' overtones. (A theme in more than a few of Miike's films.) But it would seem that the 'world' is unable to accept such a relationship, such a 'love' if you will, and the world eventually hunts them down and destroys them. This inevitability suffuses the whole film with a melancholic dread. Even in the lightest (and yes) Funny moments, you are aware that fate is stalking this Appollo/Dionysius pair relentlessly to bring them down. And of course the 'Furies' do descend on them (in a bizarre contemporary incarnation only Miike would have been able to think of!) and do destroy them. Though this time with a whisper and not a BANG. In musical terms DOA 2 can be seen as a kind of 'apache adagio', a dance of death.

So many people commenting on Miike's films here talk about his 'slow' moods as if 'slow' is a bad word. (If you are a speed freak then I guess 'slow' is a bad word in your vocabulary.) But it is to Miike's credit that he so obviously understands that some of the more profound of human experiences are lived in 'slow-motion' and can only be expressed and appreciated artistically in that mode. One has only to see some of his filmed interviews to know just how much he appreciates the 'slow' and 'still' in human experience. He is, after all, the product of a Zen culture. The two protagonists, Takeuchi & Aikawa, obviously know they are doomed. So they are doing their utmost to genuinely savior their remaining days. Much of this time is spent in a lush verdant countryside rather than in the city. And we are given the opportunity to savior their experience with them at their own pace. If one will but go on the trip with them it is a delicious beautiful bittersweet painful sad trip you feel lucky to have been allowed to trail along on.

I would characterize DOA 1 as being a trip for the groin and guts. DOA 2 as a trip for the heart. And DOA 3 as a trip for the mind/intellect. It was a stroke of genius on Miike's part to realize that he could introduce 2 characters in one film. Kill them off at the end of it. And then reanimate them in a second and then a third film with more or less totally different stories. And still have all 3 films truly be about those 2 same characters. And do it in such a way that they only reach full development at the end of the third film. Undoubtedly DOA 1 is the best of the 3 films. And all 3 films can and do stand well on their own. But it is equally true that the WHOLE STORY only gets 'told' by the trilogy.

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