Takashi Miike – Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999)

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Handed a tedious script about a turf war in Shinjuku’s Kabuki-cho entertainment district (a maverick Chinese gang pulls a robbery which upsets organised crime; a care-worn cop lumbers towards a showdown with the troublemakers), Miike threw away half of it and used the rest as a springboard to amazing inventions. The exposition scenes are boiled down to an entire reel of ‘abstract’ action – a cataclysmic restaurant ambush, a gay man killed while sodomising a kid, the world’s longest line of coke, a homo-erotic knife-throwing act in a girlie bar – while the unrevealable ending is turned into the ultimate blast. In between, Miike offers a series of electrifyingly sad vignettes of death, failure and loss, including what must be the most disturbing stoned murder scene the genre has ever known. A future classic. (Time Out Film Guide) Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha AKA Dead or Alive 2: Birds (2000)

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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.” Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Kaze ni tatsu raion AKA The Lion Standing in the Wind (2015)

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Jack-of-all-trades director Miike Takashi takes on more serious material in the human drama The Lion Standing in the Wind about the experiences of a Japanese doctor in Africa. Featuring location shooting in Kenya, the film is based on Sada Masashi’s novel and song Kaze ni Tatsu Lion, which were inspired by the true story of a Japanese doctor who operated a mobile clinic in the African nation. Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Gokudô kuroshakai AKA Rainy Dog (1997)

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“The quietest and, in some ways, most impressive film of the trilogy tells the story of Yuji, an exiled Yakuza, now living in Taiwan. In one of the film’s many similarities to Luc Besson’s Leon, Yuji is left with a young boy, supposedly his son, when an ex-girlfriend dumps the child on him without explanation. Yuji does not let the child’s presence disrupt his violent lifestyle and he continues killing rival gang members for a local crime lord. When a hit leaves Yuji with a suitcase full of Triad money, he tries to escape Tiawan. However, when you are a stranger in a strange land and cannot trust anybody, escape and survival is almost impossible. Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Kaze ni tatsu raion AKA The Lion Standing in the Wind (2015)

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(from Japanese Film Festival)
Lion Standing in the Wind is based on a real story and chronicles the inspirational life of Dr Koichiro Shimada who sets off to Kenya to serve as a medical doctor. In a turn of events, he finds himself stationed in a hospital in Lokichogio in the heart of the Kenyan conflict. Witnessing death and the grim reality of child soldiers rocks him to the core and propels him on a path that he did not expect. He abandons his life in Japan and devotes himself to saving lives in Kenya.

Released in March this year, this candid drama is the latest instalment from the prolific director Takashi Miike, usually known for his ultra-violent and outrageous works (As the Gods Will, Ichi the Killer). Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Ôdishon AKA Audition (1999)

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from allmovie:

Controversial Japanese director Takashi Miike creates this unnerving horror film about a widowed TV producer auditioning prospective wives. In his search, one candidate particularly stands out, a lovely ex-ballerina dressed in white. The widower cannot believe his good fortune, until he starts looking more closely at his potential bride-to-be: her autobiographical details don’t quite check out, she has a number of ugly scars on her legs, and he learns that people in her life have a habit of disappearing. When he discovers a man trussed up in her living room with his tongue and feet lopped off, he concludes that she is perhaps not the woman of his dreams. Audition was screened at the 1999 Vancouver Film Festival. — Jonathan Crow
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