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Deadly Outlaw: Rekka (Arrow Video) 
Written by: on November 24th, 2010

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, September 21st, 2002
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Takechi Shigenori
Cast: Riki Takeuchi, Ryôsuke Miki, Sonny Chiba

DVD released: November 22nd, 2010
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99

Synopsis: After the death of his father figure Kunisada (Riki Takeuchi) with the help of his best friend (Kenichi Endo) embark on a surreal road trip in search of those who are responsible for killing their fallen leader. Kunisada’s temper often gets him into trouble with his Yakuza brothers and when he refuses to lay low they are forced to eliminate him. Will Kunisada complete his quest for vengeance before he is silenced forever?

Takashi Miike for Deadly Outlaw: Rekka took an early 1970’s progressive rock album “Satori” by the Flower Traveling Band and he used the music from this album as the structure of the film. Two actors in Deadly Outlaw: Rekka Joe Yamanaka and Yuya Ichida were founding members of the Flower Traveling Band. Japanese film icon Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter), has a brief cameo in the film and like a lot of his more recent films he is under used.

Deadly Outlaw: Rekka is an exercise in rage that uses the Flower Traveling Band progressive rock album “Satori” as the catalyst that binds the whole piece together. The opening moments of the film unfold in ritualistic Miike in which he quickly cuts between the incarcerated Kunisada and the death of his master. After this early explosion of rage Miike spends the next thirty minutes focusing more on dialog and less on visual style. This section of film drags and the films really never finds it direction. Two of this film’s best moments visually are when Kunisada is walking and driving in the rain with his best friend and two girls they have just meet. It is in this scene that the Flower Traveling Band’s music is used most effectively. The other standout moment is when Kunisada loses his temper while walking by a parking garage and he talks a tire iron which he uses as he beats the shit out of a rival gang. The films two constants in the film are present throughout the films arc is Kunisada violent outbursts and the films expert use of the progressive rock album “Satori”. When all is said and done, all of the standard Yakuza backdrops of Betrayal and revenge are perfectly laid in place in Deadly Outlaw: Rekka. A film that even the most diehard fans of Takashi Miike cinema and those unfamiliar with his cinematic style should thoroughly enjoy.

The DVD:

Arrow Video presents Deadly Outlaw: Rekka in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Even though a new transfer was created for this release. It looks very similar to the transfer used for Tokyo Shock’s region 1 DVD release. Arrow Video’s transfer appears to a NTSC to PAL standards conversion. The running time for Arrow Video’s release clocks in at 95 minutes 50 seconds, while the running time for the Tokyo Shock release clocks in at 95 minutes 45 seconds. Also both releases are dual layer. So how does Arrow Video’s transfer look? Colors generally fare well, flesh tones look accurate and black levels range from average to good. Even though the image generally looks crisp. There are a handful of instances where things look soft. Print debris is minimal, there are no major issues with combing and edge enhancement never gets to excessive.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been provided. The audio sounds clear, consistent and robust when it needs too. For this release Arrow Video created a brand new subtitle translation and while there are many instances where it matches the aforementioned Tokyo Shock’s translation. There several instances where the Arrow Video’s translation differs from the aforementioned Tokyo Shock’s translation.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 20 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese – no English subtitles), a interview with director Takashi Miike titled ‘Deadly Outlaw: Miike’ (30 minutes 26 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) that covers the following topics the music, Ando Noboru a real life Yakuza boss who later became an actor, screenwriter Takechi Shigenori, the cast, Sonny Chiba and the films ending. Also included with this release is a interview with Takashi Miike that originally appeared on Tokyo Shock’s region 1 DVD for Deadly Outlaw: Rekka (18 minutes 12 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles). Some topics covered in this interview include the cast and the use of the Flower Traveling Band progressive rock album “Satori” as the films main center piece. Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a collectible booklet with stills and an essay on the film by Tom Mes, author of ‘Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike’, notes on progressive rockers Flower Travellin’ Band, stars and providers of the soundtrack to the film. Overall Deadly Outlaw: Rekka gets a good DVD release from Arrow Video.

Tokyo Shock DVD

Arrow Video DVD

Tokyo Shock DVD

Arrow Video DVD

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