Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movie Review: DOA: Dead or Alive

DOA: Dead or Alive
Rated PG-13
2 Slimes
Copyright Dimension Films 2007


Kasumi: The actress certainly does not remind me of the video game character she’s playing. She lacks… well if you seen the character then you know what I’m talking about. She’s a princess who is out on a quest to find her brother, Hayate. She joins the DOA tournament to find some clues, because her brother was in the tournament before he vanished.

Tina Armstrong: Jaime Pressly! She is ugly compared to her video game counterpart, who I didn’t think was that pretty to begin with. She has annoying accent that I hate and she is one dimensional. She is in the tournament to prove her wrestling skills are genuine.

Christine Allen: I’ll be frank; she looks a lot better then her video game counterpart (Score one for bad casting). She reminds me of Catwoman for some reason, must be her crime skills and the fact she is a thief. She works with Max and is after the money in the DOA tournament.

Helena Douglas: Like Christine, she is a lot prettier than her video game counterpart. She is one of the fighters in the tournament, her dad was the previous chairman of DOA, and she likes to rollerblade. She is defeated by Christine in the semi-finals and she gets together with Weatherby.

Ayane: She doesn’t look Japanese to me, which is odd considering she is a ninja assassin from Japan. She’s on a mission to kill Kasumi, because she abandoned her clan. She is in love with Hayate and likes using a katana to fight.

Ryu Hayabusa: He was a servant of Kasumi that is invited to DOA. He is certainly not as cool as his video game counterpart and he doesn’t provide much to the film. In fact, I’m certain you could leave him out of the film and it wouldn’t make much of a difference to the plot.

Max Marsh: Matthew Marsden! He has worked with Christine on plenty of missions and is also in the DOA tournament. He wants Christine to help him steal the 10 million dollar prize from the vault. He never gets his money since it goes up in flames with Donovan’s base.

Dr. Victor Donovan: Eric Roberts! He runs the DOA tournament now that Helena’s dad has “passed away”. He uses nanobots injected into fighters to harvest their fighting skills so he can sell it to people over the world. Kasumi paralyzes him long enough so he can get killed with the self destruction of his base.

Weatherby: Steve Howey! He’s got a thing for Helena and he is in charge of all the technical stuff that goes on in DOA. He and Helena get together at the end of the film… possibly.

Bayman: He’s a monster of a fighter. He’s like a miniature version of the Hulk almost. He works for Donovan, but Ryu and Weatherby crush him when he attacked them.

Bass Armstrong: Kevin Nash! He’s Tina dad and he wants her to continue to be a pro-wrestler. Tina defeats him in the first round.

Hayate: He’s Kasumi’s brother and a previous contestant of DOA. He was kept alive after being kidnapped by Donovan so he could test the fighting power enhancement sunglasses. He escapes in the end of the film with everyone.

Leon: He’s apparently the guy who killed Hayate in the last tournament according to Donovan. Not true of course. He’s another monster like Bayman is. Kasumi kicks his butt out of a two story window, moving her into the second round.

Zack: He’s a pig and a loser. Tina crushes him like a bug and moves onto the third round.

+ Japanese palace guards wear purple bandanas.
+ Women have amazing agility, jumping, and spiderlike climbing abilities.
+ Certain boomerangs carry invitations to join fighting tournaments.
+ Some tournaments make the contestants jump out of planes to reach their destination.
+ Injecting nanobots is standard procedure for fighting tournaments.
+ Fight tournaments show health bars of their contestants.
+ Some security guards use katanas.
+ Martial Artists and other fighters have matrix like abilities.
+ Security systems use slider puzzles to lock vaults.

2 min – Whoa!! I blinked and all of sudden it went all Matrix on me!
4 min – I’m sorry my mind wandered for a bit…
6 min – If you are a pro wrestler, I believe you are kind of supposed to use wrestling moves when beating people up.
7 min – My mind is wandering again…
11 min – Is that Chun-Li?!
17 min – How did they get there ahead of time anyways?
24 min – She’ll never look like the real Kasumi, I hope she understands that.
30 min – Did his arms just cock like a gun!?!
32 min – Awesome!
40 min – Party Pooper!
44 min – Ugh, cheap animation.
51 min – Whoa! Who’s winning?! Stop with the crazy edits!
57 min – Hang on, where did those flower petals come from?
79 min – What does this have to do with anything!?

Christie Allen: Look at this. They've been monitoring everything we do.
Tina Armstrong: Jeez, bunch of pervs...

Ayane: I am your servant but if you leave the compound, I am honor-bound to kill you.

Ryu Hayabusa: Princess Kasumi, your brother is dead. Your destiny is to lead your people.
Kasumi: I will not believe he is dead, until I see his body.
Ryu Hayabusa: There is no body.
Kasumi: Then he is not dead.


Oh great… a movie adapted from a video game! This’ll be pleasant (sarcasm). The Dead or Alive series is my all time favorite fighting game series, it’s even better than Street Fighter in my view (Do not flame me for that comment). So, when I heard that the series was going to be turned into a movie, I knew deep in my heart that it was going to suck. But maybe there would be a glimmer of hope! If they could set it up with some good fight scenes and the right type of girls (Well, they are the highlight of the game series aren’t they?), the film could be at least an above average movie, which is what most video game movies at least strive to be.

The film opens up by taking us to a temple in the Ishikari Mountains of Japan. There, we meet Princess Kasumi who receives the news from Ryu Hayabusa that her brother, Hayate, is dead. She refuses to believe this and sets out on a journey to find him, becoming a rouge ninja of sorts in the process. On her way out, she is confronted by Ayane, who says she is honor bond or something to kill her if she leaves since she is dishonoring her clan when she leaves. Kasumi goes anyways and on her way out gets an invite to this thing called DOA.

We have some random cuts where we see Tina Armstrong (Pro-wrestler) and Christine Allen (Professional thief & Assassin) who also get invited to DOA as well. Skipping ahead, after an eventful landing and climbing fest; Tina, Christine, and Kasumi arrive at the tournament with the rest of the contestants, who include Ryu (Former servant to Kasumi), Max Marsh (Works with Christine), Zack (Womanizer) and Bass (Tina’s dad).

We then met Victor Donovan, who is in charge of the whole operation. He has everyone go through this physical, in which he injects nanobots into the contests. He also has this little assistant called Weatherby who takes control of all the nanobots, which are use to monitor everyone’s stability or something like that. I didn’t really understand the purpose of this and when I finally understood the reason, it wasn’t worth my curiosity.

The next day, we see everybody in the tournament fighting different contestants. For Kasumi’s round, she placed against Leon, a guy that may have killed her brother in the last tournament. She beats him up real good and figures that he couldn’t have killed her brother if she could easily beat him. Meanwhile, Max and Christine try to come up with a plan to steal $10 million prize from the contest. They believe Helena, another fighter, is the key to getting the money, so Max tries to use his charm to get the information out of her. Then there is Weatherby, who is in love with Helena, and doesn’t like it that Max is putting the moves on her.

Oh yeah, there’s another subplot about Ayane showing up to kill Kasumi because she dishonored her clan. Man, the movie is juggling 5 subplots. The only reason this movie is staying a float is because of all the girls and some a couple of nice fighting sequences. If there are anymore subplots, the whole movie will collapse on itself and start to blow like a normal video game movie!

The final first round fight then concluded with Tina defeating her dad and moving her to the semifinals. We then cut to a scene where all the girls take part in a volleyball game, kind of like Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball. Very pointless, but not problematic.

During the volleyball scene, Ryu begins to investigate the tournament a bit, and gets captured. Also, Kasumi and Ayane go at it, Christine and Max continue to try the get some more information out of Helena, Weatherby also tries to put the moves on Helena himself, and then Tina and Zak find out that they are next to fight. I can’t follow all of this! It’s shoving too much information at me at one time!

The next day, Zack and Tina fight it out in the semi-finals with Tina defeating him. Then Helena and Christine are then next up to fight… in bikinis! Interesting… anyways, Christine defeats Helena and discovers a tattoo on her that may lead her to where the money is being kept. So, then the tournament comes down to just Christine, Tina, Kasumi, and Ryu. The three girls go look for Ryu, since he is missing and all. How did he advance anyways; since he went missing before the semi-finals?

Meanwhile, Weatherby goes to check on Helena to see how she is doing after the fight. Both of them seem to hit it off quite well. While this scene goes on, the 3 girls discover the control room where they were being monitored by Donovan and Weatherby. They also discover Ryu, but are then captured themselves. Then Weatherby spills the secrets of DOA to Helena, about how it was most likely Donovan who killed her father, the previous owner of the competition. Donovan finds out about this and sends his guards to kill the both of them. Helena crushes them all and the two of them head off to find Donovan.

Back to the other 4, they are confined and are forced to watch as somehow Donovan uses the information from the nanobots inside the four of them and downloads their fighting style information into these sunglasses, which gives him super fighting like abilities. Then he reveals that Hayate is still alive and has been kept captive to test out the sunglasses power. They somehow predicts ahead of time what Hayate’s moves will be during the demonstration fight. Donovan mops the floors with him using this extremely odd power, but Ayane manages to rescue Hayate in the nick of time when he thrown off a cliff during the fight.

While this goes on, Weatherby and Helena try to break out the other four and Max has broken also into the area where the money is kept. Then, Donovan tries to sell the fighting sunglasses program to buyers throughout the world. I thought people would be more interested in buying weapons, but I suppose super fighting moves would be good. Weatherby stops the transaction and calls in the CIA. Donovan and Bayman, another fighter, then try to flee the area. Helena manages to slow down Donovan just enough for Weatherby to free Kasumi, Ryu, Tina, and Christine. Oh yeah, Max gets caught by Bayman, who knocks him out cold, and Donovan activates a self-destruct sequence. Hopefully this insane amount of fight scenes and information being thrown at us means the movie is almost over.

Helena, Christine, Kasumi, and Tina face up against Donovan as he flees, and with the help of Ayane and Hayate, they defeat him and get rid of his superpower sunglasses. Ryu and Weatherby knock out Bayman and rescue Max. Just as the whole base is about to explode, Ryu, Weatherby, and Ryu escape out of secret exit, while the rest of the fighters jump into the ocean, to avoid the blast. They all escape and well… the five girls head back to Kasumi’s palace where the fight the palace guards. What’s with that?

Well that movie was stupid and confusing. The movie had too many subplots, all of the female characters were miscast (though two of the miscast actresses did turn out for the best), the fight scenes were high on The Matrix, the villain’s motive was beyond stupid, and the ending was too quick and messy. Also, my favorite female fighter, Hitomi, was no where to be found in this movie! That blows; though that could be for the best. They might have screwed up her character.

On the positive side, the saving graces for this movie were that most of the actresses were hot, there was some quirky and well placed humor, most of the fight scenes were actually kind of cool, and the Kasumi subplot felt like it came from the game series itself. Other than those reasons, this movie was terrible, but at least it wasn’t as bad as Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

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