The Curator of Schlock #356 by Jeff Shuster

Dead or Alive: Finale

This one don’t make no sense.

I met a swarthy gentleman at a bar called The Grizzled Grizzly near the Canadian border. His name is Jacque Baptiste and he says he’ll get me across the Canadian border if I’ll have Edwige, my kangaroo companion, compete in a street fight. Now I’m sure there’s an ethical dilemma here, but I also have those poor people in Saskatchewan to think about. Sometimes you have to make the hard choices.

Tonight’s Arrow Home Video release is 2002’s Dead or Alive: Final from director Takashi Miike. I don’t know if I can call it a film as it was shot on digital video. Arrow Video issued a statement that they cleaned it up as best they could, but this movie was shot in standard definition and standard definition ain’t high definition.

This movie takes place in the city of Yokohama in the year 2346. That’s the far future! There’s even this weird blimp flying over the city that looks like a flying fish or dragon. We never see it again, but it’s one of those wow effects that’s supposed to suspend my disbelief that this is Yokohama in the year 2346.

This is a bad future. The mayor of Yokohama forces all of the citizens to take birth control pills in an effort to not repeat the mistakes of the past. You see, there was a cataclysmic war that nearly destroyed civilization. I guess by preventing people from having children, you can prevent future wars from happening as there will no longer be anyone to actually carry them out. Still, some pesky citizens still insist on procreating.

A resistance has formed for those that still want to have babies. And it is up to the police to stop this resistance. Leading the charge against them is Officer Takeshi Honda (Riki Takeuchi). Helping the resistance is a rogue replicant named Ryō (Show Aikawa). What is a replicant you may ask? It’s a robot created before the great cataclysm. They are very sophisticated and can pass for regular people except they have super powers. For instance, Ryō can catch a speeding bullet in his hands and send it flying back to his opponent.

Later, we learn that Officer Honda is also a replicant. So are his beautiful wife and young son. His whole life has been a lie. We get a huge showdown between Honda and Ryō and get treated to some flashbacks of the first two Dead or Alive movies. And then the two replicants morph into a huge robot that resembles a part of the male anatomy that I won’t mention here. I think the idea is that they will confront the mayor, but the movie just kind of ends.

I can’t figure out if I’m suffering from an extreme form of culture shock or if Takashi Miike is just that weird a dude. I hear he’s currently in charge of a TV show about magical school girls so I guess he’s gone the family-friendly route. The Arrow Blu-rays are chock full of special features including commentary tracks by critic Tom Men. He’s from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Okay. That’s all I’ve got. Time to dunk my head in a bathtub full of ice water and scream.


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.