Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 8th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, September 21st, 2002
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Shigenori Takechi
Cast: Riki Takeuchi, Ryôsuke Miki, Sonny Chiba
DVD released: September 14th, 2004
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese. Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
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 Miikefor 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.
Deadly Outlaw: Rekka is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Despite the fact that the film is only a couple years old I found the overall image to be lacking. The image looks a tad soft with flesh tones and colors that leave room for improvement. There is some minor print damage and artifacts with excessive grain present through out.
There are two audio options Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo both presented in the films original Japanese language. The audio fares better then the picture as the Dolby Digital 5.1 makes full use of all the speakers. The action explosive and the dialog are crisp and clear. The soundtrack an integral part of the film benefits the most in the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.
English subtitles that are easy to follow have been included.
Extras include a photo stills gallery, the films original trailer and trailers for Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, Alive and Samurai Reincarnation. Rounding out the extras is a eighteen minute interview where the always infectious Miike discusses making the films and the use of the Flower Traveling Band progressive rock album “Satori” as the films main center piece. Overall Deadly Outlaw: Rekka gets a well rounded DVD release from Tokyo Shock.