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DOA: Dead or Alive

Published June 15, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Dimension Films.
DOA: Dead or Alive Poster DOA: Dead or Alive
DOA: Dead or Alive is like Mortal Kombat with more exposition. Mortal Kombat had some fun being a superficial video game with cool characters and backgrounds. DOA wants to be outrageous, and at times it is, but it’s got so much to set up it often backfires on itself.

DOA: Dead or Alive Review


Princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki), pro wrestler Tina (Jamie Pressly) and thief Christie (Holly Valance) take part in a secret island fighting competition. On the island, they inject nanobots into everyone’s blood so they can monitor the vitals video game style, and pair up the most interesting fighters. The princess is looking for her supposedly dead brother, Tina wants to prove herself in real fights and Christie is looking for money. They meet up with Helena (Sarah Carter), the daughter of the tournament’s dead founder and a lab technician (Steve Howey). Oh, and Eric Roberts is in it.

See, this is all way too much. They’ve already got the tight, muscular bodies glistening with sweat, rain and various forms of mist, kicking ass in their underwear. That alone acknowledges that they don’t care what the story is. So why so much story? Clearly nobody cares about another dead/missing brother who must be found or avenged. Clearly nobody cares about a pro wrestler’s daddy issues or a thief’s redemption. Not when they’re this hot.

Oh lord, these are some hot boddies. Just watching Jamie Pressley made me want to stop eating chocolate and work on my abs. When she starts kicking, those leg muscles made me weep. Inside, of course. I can’t show my emotion to my fellow journalists. I don’t even generally like blondes, but those muscles are way better than dark hair.

All the teasing sexuality works for me. Christie Fighting with a towel strategically covering her and slipping into her bra mid-fight is honest. It lets you know right away that you’re not going to see anything, so it’s not like they’re building you up for something. How can you not appreciate a flip kick with camel toe? The only outright lie is when one character claims she sleeps in the nude, then falls out of bed clearly wearing nighties.



The fights are fun in a generic Hong Kong action kind of way. All the staple moves of the Hong Kong arsenal are there: propping the foot against the wall, ducking under a roundhouse kick or a sword swipe, the three way sword clash, balancing between two walls. The only one missing is the triple kick. Slow motion shots let you admire the individually flexing muscles that go by too quickly in real time. Towards the end we get some sliding kicks and twisting bodies colliding which are cool.

The environments are cool, even though you only get to see them for about 30 seconds each. The pillars, the chains, it does look like video game scenarios come to life. Ladders feel a bit rehashed at this point, but oh well.

There’s some wretched CGI. Deon Aoki throwing her cloth and jumping over the wall, they might as well have just cut in some of the video game.

Sound effects are lame also. Gun cocking clicks don’t suggest anything the awesome muscular bodies don’t already.

The dialogue sounds like what would fit on a video game screen. This is why we are fighting here. You are the one who did this in the past. Basic stuff. Could have used less of it.

There’s no denying DOA is a bad movie, but it’s not unwatchably bad. For another round of the same old choreography dressed up in a pretty suit, it’s a guilty enough pass. Not a pleasure, but a pass.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Dimension Films.
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