DOA: Dead or Alive is a 2006 martial arts film loosely based on the Tecmo/Team Ninja fighting game series of the same name. The film is directed by Corey Yuen and it was released worldwide in September 2006 and released in North America on June 15 2007. It was made available on DVD in September 2007. 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 began production
on May 4
and concluded on July 19
. Filming locations
and Hong Kong
. The production budget was estimated to be $21,000,000. Lisa
, are only a few of the original DOA cast mates that didn't make it into the movie, while most of the others appear in the movie. Plus there are two new characters entering in the movie, 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 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 she 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 then leaves the building, driving 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 this. After all fighters are issued with ID bracelets, which beep and show the name of your 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. After some more reflection, Kasumi finds herself also matched against Leon (Silvio Simac); however, she soon defeats him, realizing that if she can win so easily, Leon could not possibly have beaten Hayate.
Some time later, 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 (As reference to DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball), 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. At the beach, the game abruptly ends when the ball is struck down by a throwing star (and the ball's popped), 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. In a dramatic beach fight 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. However, they themselves fall into a trap and are also 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 backwall 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 with Kasumi stabbing Donovan in the neck with a needle, preventing him from moving. In the final moments, all the combatants jump off the cliffside to the water, whilst Weatherby, Max and Hayabusa take an escape hatch. The compound explodes, presumably killing Donovan.
Managing to gain a boat (humorously from the same pirates that attacked Tina earlier in the movie), 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 managed to slaughter the entire population of guards in the palace.
- Jaime Pressly as Tina Armstrong. Tina is a professional wrestler from the United States, entering the tournament to prove to her critics that she is not a fake.
- Devon Aoki as Kasumi. Aoki plays Kasumi, who flees her temple in order to seek out the truth about her brother's supposed "death." She will not be convinced that her brother is dead until she sees a body.
- Holly Valance as Christie Allen. Australian actress Valance plays Christie Allen, a thief and assassin who plots to break into the island's vault. It is Valance's first major role in a film.
- Sarah Carter as Helena Douglas. Carter plays Helena, who actually welcomes all of the other fighters to the DOA island. She is competing in her first tournament at the age of 21, and hopes to win in honor of her late father's (the founder of DOATEC) memory.
- Natassia Malthe as Ayane. 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. He previously played a black-garbed ninja, Jiraiya / NinjaBlack of the Super Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger.
- Matthew Marsden as Maximillian Marsh. Max is the lover and co-conspirator of Christie. He enters the DOA tournament under false pretenses, and begins planning to rob DOATEC's vault with Christie.
- Eric Roberts as Dr. Victor Donovan. Donovan is head of DOATEC. Throughout the film we learn that he, however, has a hidden agenda.
- Steve Howey as Weatherby. Weatherby is in charge 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. Bayman, a combatant in the tournament, follows Donovan's orders without question on the island, acting as his bodyguard.
- Kevin Nash as Bass Armstrong. Bass is 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 was mistakenly 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 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, you are too weak.".
- Brian J. White as Zack. Zack is another fighter, who is eventually eliminated by Tina, with whom he had been trying to flirt with during the tournament.
The film was released first in a number of markets during September 2006
including United Kingdom
, and the Philippines
. The BBFC
rated it 15, IFCO
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
The film was released in North America on June 15, 2007, without press screenings.. 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 on it. 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.
In non-US markets the film was somewhat successful, making over $6,000,000 in the foreign box office, with almost 1 million 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 movie made a total of USD$6,924,930.
Game references and differences
- Tina postponed both her canon fights with Bass and Zack to the next day.
- Zack announcing during the volleyball scene is likely a reference to Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, which takes place on his private island. Also he was not played by Dennis Rodman (who did the voice of Zack for the DOA Xtreme beach volley ball game).
- Ryu Hayabusa (Kane Kosugi) infiltrates the base during the volleyball game and fights with a room full of guards. It is possible that this is a reference to the Ninja Gaiden video game series, in which the character Hayabusa also stars in. However, Hayabusa fights with the Dragon Sword in the Ninja Gaiden video games. In the movie, he fights hand-to-hand.
- Lei Fang (Ying Wang) is in fact present in the movie, and is defeated by Gen Fu in the first round of the tournament. In a later scene that was removed from the film, but included in the deleted scenes feature on the DVD, Gen Fu has a brief fight with Kasumi on the rafts. She wins by using the five sisters attack on his arm and neck, paralyzing him. The explanation of this technique was also cut from the film.
- Jann Lee also has a minor role in this movie. He is fighting against Christie in the first round, and loses. He does not appear in the credits.
- Brad Wong (Song Lin) appears in the movie fighting Bayman and loses.
- Kasumi in the movie is referred to as a 'ninja princess', and shown living in a large ornate palace/temple, and surrounded by an army which attempts to block her escape. While her title of princess is not entirely inaccurate, its portrayal is very different from the games, where she is referred to as a 'princess' of the clan, simply meaning that she was the next in line to lead the clan. Also there is no great walled city, palace or army, but a simple secluded village where the clan resides. In the movie Kasumi fights her way past the army, however in the games she simply slips out of the village. She is also referred to as a shinobi as if it means "outcast ninja"; however, shinobi in native Japanese is the original word for "ninja", while the actual term for an outcast ninja is nukenin.
- Eliot appears fighting Hayabusa in the first round, and loses. The movie portrayed Eliot as a middle aged Asian man, rather than a teenage boy from England. Also, his name is not listed in the credits. Eliot is also the only Dead or Alive 4 character to appear in the film. ( Kokoro and Lisa did not.)
- Hitomi (Hung Lin) is also featured in the movie. Though not explicitly stated, the scoreboard after four fights shows that Hitomi has been knocked out of the tournament, though the other three losers are explicitly shown as Jann Lee, Brad Wong and Eliot, making Hitomi the yellow-clothed male who Helena defeated. (There were more fighters than the ones listed on the scoreboard. For example, when all of the contestants are practicing, there is a female fighter in pink shorts who wasn't shown in the fight montage). But you can also see a female fighter in the lobby while Donovan is talking, on the left of Bass there appears to be a brunette headed girl with a pink headband and a jean jacket, this is Hitomi's primary costume in the games.
- Christie was portrayed as a blonde thief and assassin, however in the game she has white hair and is only an Assassin. Also, in the film Christie uses a more generic fighting style with clenched fists and grappling techniques, as opposed to her distinctive Snake Fist style in the games. However, Helena's equally distinctive martial arts style, Pi Qua Quan, is performed accurately by actress Sarah Carter in the film.
- Kasumi is portrayed with a very cold stern appearance and attitude, while in the game she is generally more compassionate and has a 'soft' personality. Christie's personality is also partly reversed in a similar manner, where in the games she would be the last character to become friendly or team up with others, and in the film did not show her cold ruthlessness, or her sadistic and somewhat psychotic streak.
- In the film, all female contestants appear to develop close friendships with one another. However, this is not so in the game, as Helena initially believes Ayane to be responsible for her mother's murderer, and later discovers it was in fact Christie. In the canon story of the video games, Tina also does not ever meet any of the other female characters that are featured in this film apart from the briefly-mentioned Lei Fang and Hitomi.
- Helena's occupation in the video game (an opera singer) is not included in the film, nor is her French nationality. However, it is stated that one of her tattoos was done in Paris, and in a deleted scene, Donovan suggests that Helena "take the jet" for a vacation in Paris.
- Christie's last name of Allen was never revealed in any of the video games.
- It was said that defeated players are sent home. However, eliminated contestants such as Brad Wong and Hitomi are seen hanging around in the party after the volleyball event.
- In the movie, Bayman acts as a loyal bodyguard to Donovan, but in the games, Bayman (as of the 3rd game) aims to eliminate Donovan for trying to kill him.
- Hayate (Collin Chou) is also considered a traitor to the Mugen Tenshin clan when he goes to the previous year's DOA tournament. According to the game series, however, after Raidou sends him into a coma, DOATEC kidnaps Hayate while Kasumi tries to look for the one responsible for his condition. He also seems to do an Eagle style stance in the movie, while he supposedly does Ninjutsu in the games.