From the ashes of Dead or Alive’s apocalyptic ending comes Dead or Alive 2, both a continuation of the series and a stand-alone film on par with its predecessor. Serving up shockingly graphic violence, sincere character nuance, engaging humor and transcendent magical realism with equal mastery, Dead or Alive 2 offers definitive evidence of why the New York Post hailed director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) as “one of the most exciting, versatile directors working today.”
After Yakuza hitman Mizuki (Sho Aikawa) watches a high-priced target gunned down by another assassin, he combs the underworld in search of clues that will reveal his rival’s identity. But when the two executioners meet, they discover they are long-lost childhood friends. Now reunited, Mizuki and his amigo Shuichi (Riki Takeuchi) team up to pay off their spiritual debts while staying one trigger-pull ahead of the Yakuza mobsters and drug triad killers who want them dead.
Somehow simultaneously reprising and reversing their roles from the first DOA installment, Japanese “V Film” cult actors Aikawa and Takeuchi are joined by Tetsuo: Iron Man creator Shinyu Tsukamoto in a rare onscreen appearance. Director Miike loads DOA 2 with equally rich portions of mayhem and sentiment, creating both a bloodthirsty Asian action film and a lyrical journey of cinematic finesse.