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
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.
For This Film:
DOA [US; short title]
During the tournament's early fight scenes, the
screen layout and announcer's voice are taken directly from the video
The volleyball scene referenced the spinoff game,
"Dead or Alive XTreme Beach Volleyball". Even the ball in the
movie is replicated from the one in the game.
In the film, Natassia Malthe's hair is
purple. On the back of the DVD cover, it is blonde.
Brian J. White's character has a very distinctive
little bit of black hair on his mostly-bald head. On the front of
the DVD cover, he is pictured entirely bald.
In the movie, Christie is said to be a thief and
assassin. In the games, Christie was ONLY an assassin.
In the movie, Christie's last name is
Allen. This was never revealed in the previous games.
In the movie, Christie's hair is blonde. In
the games, Christie's hair is white.
In the games, Helena was an opera singer and of
French nationality. Neither one of these is addressed in the
Bayman is a loyal bodyguard to Donovan in this
movie. In the games, Bayman wants to kill Donovan for trying to
kill him first.
This movie was made to be the first in a trilogy,
but it's rather poor box office and DVD sales performance forced the
producers to abort the sequels.
This movie was made on a budget of 21 million
dollars (USD) and made a total of only 7 million dollars (USD).
Production of this movie took only a little over
two months (May-July, 2005). That's pretty speedy, considering
how elaborate this film was made.