- DOA: Dead or Alive
DOA: Dead or Alive
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Corey Yuen Produced by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by J.F. Lawton
Starring Holly Valance
Music by Junkie XL Cinematography Chi Ying Chan
Studio Tecmo Distributed by Universal Pictures (Int'l)
The Weinstein Company (US)
Release date(s) September 7, 2006(AUS/NZ)
June 15, 2007 (United States)
Running time 87 minutes Country United States
Language English Budget $21 million Box office $7,516,532
DOA: Dead or Alive is a 2006 ensemble martial arts film loosely based on the Tecmo/Team Ninja fighting game series of the same name. Directed by Corey Yuen and written by J. F. Lawton, Adam and Seth Gross.
A number of fighters are invited to DOA "Dead or Alive", an invitational martial arts contest. The four female fighters begin as rivals, but work together to uncover the secret Donovan the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide. The film has various appearances from characters of the game series, which include: Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly), Christie Allen (Holly Valance), Kasumi (Devon Aoki), Ayane (Natassia Malthe) and Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter).
The film opens at temple of princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki). Hayabusa informs her of the death of her brother. Not wanting to believe, she leaves the temple and becomes an outcast shinobi. Before leaving she is confronted by Ayane (Natassia Malthe) who states that if Kasumi leaves, she is honor-bound to kill her. Jumping the wall of the temple Kasumi catches a flying shuriken on which the words "You are invited to DOA" appear.
Out at sea, Tina (Jaime Pressly) is on her yacht, arguing with her father on the phone about professional wrestling. A gang of pirates (led by Robin Shou) pull alongside and try to take her boat. Tina defeats them and a DOA shuriken pierces the side of her boat.
In a Hong Kong hotel, Christie (Holly Valance) is being questioned by a number of policemen after a theft of diamonds. Wearing only a towel, she manages to disarm and defeat all of them and drives off on a motorcycle. All the while she is observed by Maximillian Marsh (Matthew Marsden). While driving she receives her own shuriken.
The three girls are amongst a number of invited fighters, including Tina's father, Bass (Kevin Nash), and Max, on a plane going to DOA island. On the plane they're informed by Helena that in order to reach DOA island they must jump off with parachutes and get to the compound by sundown. Quite coincidentally the three girls land close to one another, and must work together to climb a giant Buddha statue when Kasumi realizes it's getting late. At the compound the fighters go on to meet Dr. Victor Donovan (Eric Roberts), the organizer of this year's DOA, who explains about the $10 million prize money, and some of the history about the tournament. Each fighter is analyzed in a lab to show their strength, and are all injected with nanobots which record their abilities. Weatherby (Steve Howey), who operates all the technical equipment, oversees all of this. After all fighters are issued with identity bracelets, which beep and show the name of the wearer's next opponent in the tournament, the confrontations soon begin, with Tina, Christie, Gen Fu (Fang Liu), Hayabusa (Kane Kosugi), Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter), Bayman (Derek Boyer), Zack (Brian J. White) all progressing to round two.
Meanwhile, Kasumi recalls her brother, Hayate (Collin Chou), and how he once saved her from ruthless kidnappers. After saving her, she remembers his face when a DOA shuriken came to him. Before her first round fight, Donovan is happy to see Kasumi; Donovan explains that Hayate was defeated by Leon the previous year, falling from the top of a cliff with his body never to be found. Kasumi later finds herself also matched against Leon (Silvio Simac); she soon defeats him, realizing that if she can win so easily, Leon could not possibly have beaten Hayate. Hayabusa and Kasumi have both progressed to the semi-final stage of the tournament, and all combatants take a time-out to let off steam. A volleyball tournament takes place down on the beach, with Kasumi and Tina against Helena and Christie. Meanwhile, Hayabusa explores Donovan's compound whilst all eyes are on the game, but is soon captured by the building's booby traps. The volleyball game abruptly ends when the ball is punctured by a throwing star, and Kasumi realizes that Ayane is calling her out.
They fight each other in the bamboo treetops, and Kasumi pleads for Ayane's help to find Hayate, pointing out that when he deserted the clan, she never pursued him out of love. Ayane coldly replies that he was different, and that Kasumi should come to terms with his death. Their confrontation ends with the arrival of the other girls, prompting Ayane to flee. With the recreation time over, the tournament resumes with Tina being matched against Zack. The two fight at the forbidden square and Tina defeats him. The result leaves a showdown between Helena and Christie. Before the fight, Max and Christie discuss how a source had said "Helena is the key" to finding the Douglas vault somewhere on the island which contains over $100 million. While fighting on the beach in the rain, Christie notices a tattoo on the back of Helena's neck. Despite being caught off guard by the image, Christie still manages to overpower Helena, leaving her lying unconscious on the wet sand, and progressing to the semi-finals of the tournament.
Returning to Max, she recalls and deciphers the cryptic image, showing the location of the vault to be in the Buddha head statue. With a new round beginning, Tina, Christie and Kasumi wonder where Hayabusa has gone, and go looking for him at Donovan's compound. They fall into a trap and are captured. It turns out that Donovan is planning to harvest the nanobots from the four best DOA fighters, creating a technology where the host will be able to predict and adapt to any fighting style and therefore defeat any combatant. The technology had been Weatherby's, who had no idea Donovan would use it against fighters' wills, as well as for profit. Weatherby, who has fallen in love with Helena, reveals to her that her father had objected to the idea and following his objections was killed. After being comforted by Weatherby about her failure against Christie, Helena gains new resolve to stop Donovan. Fighting through all his security forces, the two make it to the compound and prevent Donovan from broadcasting the technology to buyers around the world. Meanwhile, Max finds the Douglas vault and breaks the code, but is interrupted by Bayman, who under Donovan's command knocks out Max and takes the cash.
Donovan downloads the DOA program onto special sunglasses. He reveals that he captured Hayate a year ago and much to everyone's surprise, frees him. He challenges Hayate to one fight, in which the technology allows him to effectively predict every move Hayate makes and kicks him through the back wall of the compound. Donovan is about to send the DOA program to buyers across the globe when Weatherby stops him and contacts the CIA. Sometime later, Donovan sets the compound on self-destruct, which Weatherby tried to stop, but the self-destruct sequence was irreversible. Weatherby unlocks the harvest pods to free the four semi-finalists, and Helena also manages to hold off Donovan for a small time. With all the fighters freed, the girls join forces to take on Donovan as he attempts to escape in a four-on-one fight.
Also, Ayane is still looking for Kasumi when she sees Hayate. Ayane is happy to see Hayate still alive, and they hug each other. Meanwhile, Hayabusa fends off Bayman with the help of Weatherby and Max, and Hayate is aided by Ayane. After a tough fight, Christie manages to knock off Donovan's glasses, preventing him from using the DOA program. Kasumi and Hayate then finish him off, Hayate knock him down, and Kasumi stabs a needle in the back of his neck, leaving him paralyzed and unable to escape. In the final moments, all the combatants jump off the cliff into the water, whilst Weatherby, Max and Hayabusa take an escape hatch. The compound explodes, killing Donovan.
Managing to gain a boat (from the same pirates that attacked Tina earlier on), the group escapes DOA island. Back at Kasumi's palace, the five female fighters join forces against the warrior guards on the steps of the palace. There is a cut in the frame, then the results of the fight is shown - the five of them defeated the entire population of guards in the palace.
- Holly Valance as Christie, a thief and assassin who plots to break into the island's vault. It is the Australian actress's first major role in a film.
- Jaime Pressly as Tina Armstrong, a professional American wrestler, entering the tournament to prove to her critics that she is not a fake.
- Devon Aoki as Kasumi, a princess who flees her temple in order to seek out the truth about the mysterious "death" of her brother. She will not be convinced that her brother is dead until she sees a body.
- Sarah Carter as Helena Douglas, who welcomes all of the other fighters to the DOA island. At the age of 21, she is competing in her first tournament and hopes to win to honour the memory of her late father, Fame Douglas the founder of DOATEC.
- Natassia Malthe as Ayane, a ninja assassin, is ordered to seek and kill Kasumi, who is considered an outcast to the clan (a nukenin, though the word shinobi is mistakenly used throughout the movie). She first confronts Kasumi before she flees the temple, then several times on the island. She has feelings towards Hayate (she is not his half-sister in the movie), and initially believes him to be dead.
- Kane Kosugi as Ryu Hayabusa. Hayabusa tries his best to convince Kasumi not to leave the temple, and after she leaves, he follows her by entering into DOA, which displeases Kasumi. Hayabusa is Hayate's (Kasumi's brother) best friend and pledges his help in finding him. (Kane previously played a black-garbed ninja, Jiraiya / NinjaBlack of the Super Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger).
- Matthew Marsden as Maximillian Marsh, Christie's lover and co-conspirator; he enters the DOA tournament under false pretenses, and begins planning to rob DOATEC's vault with Christie.
- Eric Roberts as Dr. Victor Donovan, the head of DOATEC. Throughout the film we learn that he, however, has a hidden agenda.
- Steve Howey as Weatherby, the head of the technical capabilities during the DOA tournament. He also has an affection for Helena, and reveals to her Donovan's sinister plans.
- Derek Boyer as Bayman, a combatant in the tournament, follows Donovan's orders without question on the island, acting as his bodyguard.
- Kevin Nash as Bass Armstrong, Tina's father, also a professional wrestler. He enters the tournament also in an attempt to persuade Tina to return to wrestling. During the tournament, he misinterprets Tina's relationships with Christie and Kasumi as being 'more than friends'.
- Collin Chou as Hayate, a superior fighter, Hayate was captured by DOATEC in the previous tournament. He is believed to be dead, leading Kasumi to enter DOA to unravel the truth behind his disappearance.
- Silvio Simac as Leon, another fighter at DOA, Hayate is stated to have been killed during his battle against Leon in the last tournament. Nevertheless, when Kasumi defeats him, she starts to doubt the story even more with the phrase: "You could not have killed my brother."
- Brian J. White as Zack, another fighter, who is eventually eliminated by Tina, with whom he had been trying to flirt during the tournament.
- Fang Liu as Gen Fu
- Hung Lin as Hitomi
- Song Lin as Brad Wong
- Ying Wang as Lei Fang
- ? as Jann Lee (uncredited)
- ? as Eliot (uncredited)
- Robin Shou as Pirate Leader
- ? as Pirate Henchman
The film began principal photography on May 4, 2005, and concluded on July 19, 2005. Filming locations include Bangkok, Guilin, Hengdian and Hong Kong. The production budget was estimated to be $21,000,000.
Lisa, Kokoro, Tengu, Raidou, are only a few of the original DOA characters that did not make it into the film, while most of the others appear. Plus there are two new characters entering in the film, Maximillian "Max" Marsh (who helps Christie on her mission to steal the money) and Weatherby (who acts as a love interest for Helena).
The film was released first in a number of markets during September 2006 including United Kingdom, Australia, and the Philippines. The BBFC rated it 15, IFCO 15A, OFLC M (unrestricted, unlike the MA-15+ rating), all Canadian provinces gave it a PG except for Quebec which gave it a G with warning, and the MPAA PG-13.
The film was released in North America on June 15, 2007, without press screenings.
In non-US markets, the film was somewhat successful, making over $6,000,000 in the foreign box office, with almost 1 million USD in both the U.K. and Australia. In the USA though the film was a box-office bomb, making only $260,000 its first week. It was released into 505 theaters, and spent 21 days in theaters closing on July 5 with a domestic gross of $480,813 (or about 7.2% of worldwide gross as of 7/5/07).
The DVD of DOA: Dead or Alive was released on September 11, 2007, selling 68,578 DVD units in the first week, opening at #12 and earning $1,370,874 in the first week of DVD sales (first week only). This does not include Blu-ray sales or DVD rentals.
In the UK and in Australia, the film is available on DVD and features two special features which are: Making of documentary and deleted scenes. There is no DVD commentary on the UK release and there are two covers for the DVD, one exclusive to online store Play.com and the original cover in most retail shops.
- ^ As reference to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
- ^ "Business Data for DOA: Dead or Alive". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398913/business. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
- ^ Boston Globe (June 16, 2007): "In 'DOA,' the inspiration and excitement are MIA" (review by Tom Russo)
- ^ DOA: Dead or Alive (2007)
- ^ DOA: Dead or Alive at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved on 2009-11-23.
- ^ "DOA: Dead or Alive - DVD Sales". The Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2007/DOALV-DVD.php. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- Official website (English)
- DOA: Dead or Alive at the Internet Movie Database
- DOA: Dead or Alive at AllRovi
- DOA: Dead or Alive at Box Office Mojo
- DOA: Dead or Alive at Rotten Tomatoes
Dead or Alive series Main series Xtreme series Other games Characters Related media 1980s 1990sShe Shoots Straight (1990) • All for the Winner (1990) • Top Bet (1991) • Ghost Punting (1991) • Saviour of the Soul (1991) • Saviour of the Soul II (1992) • Fist of Fury 1991 II (1992) • Women on the Run (1993) • Fong Sai-yuk (1993) • Fong Sai-yuk II (1993) • The Bodyguard from Beijing (1994) • My Father Is a Hero (1995) • Mah-jong Dragon (1997) • Hero (1997) • 97 Legendary La Rose Noire (1997) • Enter the Eagles (1998) 2000s
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