DOA: Dead or Alive
- Devon Aoki as Kasumi
- Holly Valance as Christie Allen
- Jaime Pressly as Tina Armstrong
- Sarah Carter as Helena Douglas
- Kane Kosugi as Hayabusa
- Matthew Marsden as Max
- Eric Roberts as Donovan
- Natassia Malthe as Ayane
Based on the popular video games, DOA: Dead or Alive is far from perfect, but delivers with its promise of fighting babes, techno score and some great CGI. The plot may be gossamer thin and the characters are never really developed, but Corey Yuen more than makes up for it in terms of the excitement generated from his stylish choreography and breakneck action.
DOA is a fighting competition, situated on an exotic island in which the winner earns $10 million. The people who partake are chosen for their abilities in martial arts or other combat techniques. Among those invited are Kasumi, a renegade ninja princess who is looking for the brother she has been told died whilst taking part a year earlier; Christie Allen, a sultry cat burglar with her eyes on cash who is locked in a love-hate relationship with the slimy fellow competitor Max; Tina Armstrong, a fierce wrestler out to prove her critics wrong;Helena Douglas, the daughter of the late founder of DOA and Hayabusa; a ninja charged with making sure Kasumi is safe. The various fights in the competition are overseen by the mysterious Donovan, who has his own nefarious agenda for assembling the fighters to the competition. Initially rivals, the girls band together to get to the heart of Donovan’s plan. Cue for some fierce and kinetic fighting and kick ass ladies battling their way through DOA.
As I mentioned earlier the film is nowhere near a masterpiece. One reason for a flaw is the script which never delves into character’s motives and give us an idea of the reason for them taking part. The dialogue is also rather weak in places and could have been made much better in my view. Also, the frenetic editing, whilst particularly effective in early scenes, eventually becomes a little boring as the film progresses.
On the other hand, Corey Yuen directs some excellently constructed fight sequences, including one in the pouring rain and another in a large forest. The main trio of women; Devon Aoki, Holly Valance and Jaime Pressly, all contribute athletic sex appeal to the proceedings and seriously kick ass in the numerous fights. Sara Carter is given little to do but manages to inject some excitement into her character. Eric Roberts chews the scenery as the villainous Donovan, but does have his fun moments. Kane Kosugi and Natassia Malthe, although not given much to do provide enjoyment as the protective Hayabusa and Ayane; a ninja whose job is to kill Kasumi for bringing dishonor to her clan. Matthew Marsden thankfully adds a dash of humour as the treacherous mercenary with the eye for money.
The music of the film adds to the overall kinetic and action-packed quality of the 87 minute running time by blending ancient Asian rhythms with a modern techno sound. The various uses of CGI also compliment the speed of the film. It might not be great but it’s certainly an unadulterated( or guilty pleasure way) of spending an hour and a half. So kick back and enjoy a film that doesn’t require much thought but heaps on the action fast.