DOA: Dead or Alive


Year of release: 2006

Genre: action

Director: Corey Yuen

Action directors: Corey Yuen, Guo Jian Yong

Producers: Mark Altman, Paul Anderson, Jeremy Bolt

Writers: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross

Cinematography: Chan Chi Ying, Keung Kwok-Man

Editors: Cheung Ka-Fai, Eddie Hamilton, Angie Lam

Music: Junkie XL

Stars: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Eric Roberts, Kevin Nash, Robin Shou, Ngai Sing (aka Collin Chou)

Rated PG-13 for violence and language

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You would think that the formula for DOA would be a simple way to make a fun brainless action picture: take a bunch of babes and have them kick some ass. Unfortunately, even under the direction of Hong Kong veteran Corey Yuen, this film can't live up to the lowest of expectations.

DOA is based on the long-running fighting game series Dead or Alive, which has always seemed to be a second banana to the big hitters in the genre like Street Fighter and Tekken. Perhaps knowing that the fisticuffs couldn't compare, Dead or Alive's designers pumped up the jiggly quotient in the games, to the point that the press releases for each new edition would brag about how realistic the "boob physics" were.

The buxom ladies of Dead or Alive went on to cement the series as shallow, but still able to deliver good brainless fun. So it would be logical to think that the film would follow suit. But hold on -- this is a movie adaptation of a video game, perhaps one of the lowest genres in all of cinema, giving birth to filmic atrocities like Super Mario Bros. and the majority of German schlockmeister Uwe Boll's output.

At times, DOA does succeed in producing entertainment that's stupid in a good way, if that makes any sense. When the movie doesn't take itself so seriously, it can be over-the-top campy fun. Several of the cast members, most notably Jaime Pressly, seem to take this into account and bring some nice comedic flair to their roles, as well as showcasing some decent moves in the fight scenes.

On the other hand, though, there are some members of the cast that should have not been let anywhere near the set, with the biggest culprit being Devon Aoki. As with my review for the Jet Li clunker War, I have to note that if wasn't for the fact that her father owning the Benihana chain, I highly doubt we'd ever see Ms. Aoki in anything other than a Girls Gone Wild video. She's a terrible actor, has no talent for on-screen martial arts, and isn't even all that good-looking.

Even if you're a fan of the games, I doubt you're going to find much to like with DOA: Dead or Alive. It sat in Dimension's vault for over a year before being released for good reason. This is simply just not a good movie at all, even taking into account how sorry big-screen video game adaptations usually are.