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DOA: Dead or Alive
(2006 Film)


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Cast:

Jaime Pressly as Tina Armstrong (the pro-wrestler)
Holly Vallance as Christie Allen (the thief)
Devon Aoki as Princess Kasumi (the ninja princess)
Sarah Carter as Helena Douglas
Kane Kosugi as Ryu Hayabusa (Kasumi's bodyguard)
Matthew Marsden as Max (Christie's boyfriend, thief)
Natassia Malthe as Ayane (Kasumi's former servant, now stalker)
Steve Howey as Weatherby (the computer nerd)
Eric Roberts as Donovan (evil leader of the island)
Kevin Nash as Bass Armstrong (Tina's wrestler father)
Brian J. White as Zack (black, smart-aleck fighter)
Collin Chou as Prince Hayate (Kasumi's brother)
Derek Boyer as Bayman (beret-wearing henchman of Donovan)

Silvio Simac as Leon (musclebound, blond fighter) [awesome, if brief part as evil behometh rival of Kasumi and Hayate]
Fang Liu as Gen Fu (old guy fighter) [doesn't have much of a part besides fighting scenes, mostly for visual]
Robin Shou as Pirate Leader [recurring part as minor enemy, funny stuff and neat for Robin, as this character can't fight worth a darn; usually, Robin's characters are almost unkillable]

Director- Cory Yuen
Writers- J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross.

DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
:  There are some video game-to-movie adaptations that just smack of superhero-ishness; this is one of them.  I like the movie, it's certainly entertaining, but it doesn't have the most coherent plot.  Where the strengths lie are in the cast, the filming, and the action, in that order.  The cast is made up of good actors or, at the very least, likable actors.  There is some degree of hokeyness, but I won't name names.  On the whole, this is a great, watchable movie.  I do think it was a wise decision to give this movie a lot of humor.  There are too many "unfunny" action movies from this decade, so this is a nice departure.  Kevin Nash had a very cool part as Bass Armstrong.  He played the kind of guy that I think everyone wants to hang out with, plus he was a tough dude.  All the female leads were excellent, enjoyable heroines.  Even the "dipstick" guys played good parts.

    The filming is bright and fun.  The action is fast enough to be exciting, but not too fast that you can't see what's going on.  Director Cory Yuen did a fine job.  I enjoy the colorful locales and the pace of the action.  The action sequences were all top-notch.  Nothing really new or cutting edge here, but it was all very well-done.

    Where the movie falls short is on the writing and the story itself.  The idea of fighters from all around the world coming to a remote place to enter a tournament has been done over and over.  It's a pretty easy premise to develop.  I don't have any problem with that, but is a 10 million dollar prize enough to excite anyone in 2006?  I mean, this is a top-secret tournament where one runs the risk of death.  Actors in feature films at this time could make 20-25 million dollars for one movie.  What fighter would want to enter this kind of tournament for just 10 million dollars?

    Also, the title of this movie is a little misleading as the fight matches are not "death matches".  A fighter wins by knocking out their opponent.  Losers do not get killed, they just get sent home.  I really do like the fact that the movie went this route instead of the typical "fight-to-the-death" cliche, but the title is a misnomer.  I've never felt "Dead or Alive" was an attractive name for a video game or film, anyway.

    Bigger problems with this movie's script is that there are too many plotholes; too many things left unexplained.  First of all, WHO is the main character?  I know Jaime Pressly got the top-billing, but her character did not seem to be the most important.  As a matter of fact, no one's character is the most important.  There are a whole lot of subplots, but nothing really ties all these subplots together.  You have Princess Kasumi who left her clan to find her missing brother.  Her former servant Ayane is out to kill her because she left the clan.  How the heck did Ayane get on this island that you can only reach by parachuting out of a plane?  Why was Hayabusa, Kasumi's other servant, also invited to the DOA event?  If the evil host of the tournament wants to set up Kasumi, why bring along her bodyguard?

    It seems that Helena, daughter of the deceased founder of the tournament, is clueless about the 100 million dollars hidden on the island, yet she has two tattoos that give the clue to the money's location.  If you had hidden money, would you want to be tipping people off about it?  Who gave her these tattoos, anyway?  Didn't she think those odd designs were a little peculiar?  When she finally finds out that someone is stealing her 100 million dollars, she's totally cool about it.  Huh?  And then when all of her money gets destroyed in the explosion, there's no resolution.  She has no place to stay and she's penniless.  What is she going to do?  Where is she going to go?

    So when Helena's father died, how come she didn't take over command of the island and tournament?  How come her father's assistant is the new shot-caller?  Why would she stand for it?

    Weatherby, the nerdy computer tech in the lab, has a crush on Helena.  He's a pretty important guy on the island, but Helena knows nothing about him until sometime during the tournament?  Weatherby was there for at least a few years.  Where the heck was Helena that she wouldn't know about him?  There weren't that many people living on the island.

    Tina Armstrong, the ex-wrestler, is already a multi-millionaire as we can see from her yacht and assistant.  Why would 10 million dollars appeal to her?  And if she wants to prove herself to the world that she's a real fighter and not just a fake wrestler, why would she do it at a top secret tournament that no one is going to know anything about?

    I also thought it was funny that the three female leads, Tina, Christie, and Kasumi, became instant best buddies.  They knew that they might have to compete against each other; would there be an instant camaraderie?  And why didn't they ever fight each other?  Isn't that convenient?

    How did Max get invited to the tournament when he can't fight?  That was never explained.

    The ending sequence of the movie was dumb.  One week later after surviving the island, the women characters (men nowhere to be seen), are squaring off against an army of ninjas at Kasumi's palace.  This time all the women have swords.  Why are they all there at Kasumi's?  Why are the ninjas attacking all of them?  I thought if Kasumi begged forgiveness she'd be allowed back into the clan?  Allegedly, our women win.  This sequence would have been much more appropriate for a sequel, as it tells a different story.  The ending leaves us unsatisfied.

    This movie IS worth watching, but there is some dumbness to it at times.  It's best not to take it too seriously.  With just a bit of editing, this movie might have been a hit, but there was too much for critics to tear apart.  The movie flopped big.  I think that was rather unfair.  It should have at least made the production company some kind of profit.  It's still very enjoyable.

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