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Film / DOA: Dead or Alive

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The 2006 Live-Action Adaptation of the Dead or Alive video game series.

Various fighters around the world are invited to take part in the annual Dead or Alive tournament, which has just been taken over one Victor Donovan (Eric Roberts) after the death of its former owner, Fame Douglas. A prize of ten million dollars is promised for the winner, but in the background, there are bigger sums of money at the play, and the competitor's lives are at peril.


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This film has examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: A kimono discarded by Kasumi, which then lands on a blade of katana and is sliced in half by just touching it.
  • Accidental Misnaming: A Running Gag has people calling Weatherby "Wallaby" or something like that. At the end, his love interest Helena calls him by his name, which leads to him angrily trying to correct her before he realizes she got it right.
  • Action Girl: The main five heroines; Christie, Helena, Ayane, Kasumi, and Tina.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Until things get a bit more serious during the finale, Christie is almost constantly wearing an amused smirk no matter what happens. She seems to be aware of the kind of movie she's in and takes all the weird incidents that keep happening with the corresponding humor.
  • Adaptational Badass: Donovan is a Non-Action Big Bad in the games. The movie gives him a pair of glasses that allows him to copy the moves of other fighters and predict their attacks.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: In this movie, Christie is a lot more likable and moral and has nothing to do with Donovan's scheming.
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • Kasumi is depicted as aloof and stoic in this movie as opposed to her more open and friendly personality she has in the games.
    • Helena is the inverse of Kasumi, being aloof (and haughty) in the games but being more friendly and humble in the movie.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Hayabusa, aka Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden, who aside from losing his stoic badass personality also gets captured with pathetic ease by Donovan and has to be bailed out in his fight against Bayman by Max and Weatherby, the two non-combatants of the cast.
  • Adapted Out: Counting the games that were out at the time, only Raidou, Jann Lee and Tengu are left out (the new characters from DOA4 are excused because of the likelihood of the movie being produced in parallel with the game).
  • Amazonian Beauty: Tina (played by Jaime Pressly) has a very toned body which she shows off during her intro wearing a Flag Bikini and while also being a Ms. Fanservice.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: While Helena's father is stated to have been killed by Donovan, no word is ever given of what became of her mother. While she was killed by Christie in the games, it is unlikely this is the case in the movie due to Christie's Adaptational Heroism.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Although Donovan is in pretty good shape for a man his age, the only reason he can go up against the protagonists is that he analyzed their fighting styles during the tournament and condensed the intel into a pair of Cool Shades that allow him to predict and counteract their attacks.
  • Bathtub Scene: A Deleted Scene had Kasumi talking to Hayabusa while she was in a bath filled with sakura petals.
  • Battle in the Rain: When Helena and Christie are set to fight each other, they duke it out dramatically on a beach as it rains.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Hardly anyone has as much as a scratch on them even after the most vicious fights, and the girls always look drop-dead gorgeous.
  • Between My Legs: Used briefly in the fight between Christie and Helena.
  • Big Bad: Victor Donovan, who is not hosting the tournament for simple entertainment.
  • Big Bra to Fill: Given the games are a textbook case of World of Buxom, all the main cast applies, though Kasumi is likely the most egregious example.
  • Biker Babe: Christie escapes the police on a bike.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Christie escapes from the police wearing nothing but a black bra, panties and high heels.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: Whenever a blade goes flying, you can bet it'll end up like this.
  • Blade Reflection: Helena dual-wields katanas, using one as a mirror to look at the Mooks behind her.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The movie actually has an impressive body count but never shows any blood whatsoever, even from people that were killed with swords.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The films ends with a one week time skip from the climax's aftermath to a scene where the main five heroines readying themselves to take on the hundreds of mooks at Kasumi's former palace with swords. This scene was featured prominently in the trailer.
  • Bowdlerise: Subverted. There was a rumor that Christie’s introduction scene was originally “uncensored” with her breasts in plain sight. However, this turned out to be false, and the video showing this supposedly “uncensored” scene turned out to be an extremely well-made hoax. It would’ve been ironic, too, since that would’ve meant that the movie would’ve featured the franchise’s first instance of uncensored nudity, especially given its heavy use of fanservice.
  • Butt-Monkey: The luckless pirates that get curbstomped by Tina in the prologue show up again for the epilogue, only to suffer the same fate. Their poor leader, wearing a jury-rigged brace for his mangled arm the second time, reacts appropriately dismayed.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lovable Rogue Max and Not-So Evil Genius Weatherby.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Chain Pain: Shows up in the final showdown.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Though she still works as an assassin, this version of Christie is more one of these.
  • Cloth Fu: During her fight with the Hong Kong police, Christie takes off her Modesty Towel to whip one guy in the face and to disarm another holding a gun to her.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Donovan's glasses allow him to predict and counter his opponents' moves.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Max defeats Bayman by complete accident by having a statue fall on him. Likewise, the next time they meet face to face, Bayman easily knocks him out with one punch.
    • Donovan does this to Hayate showing how effective the technology that predicts an opponent's fighting moves is.
  • Death by Adaptation: Donovan's final fate, glaring considering he's a huge Karma Houdini in the games.
  • Demoted to Extra: Characters Jan Lee, Lei Fang and Gen Fu from the games do appear, but only briefly in the backgrounds and at the montage of the initial fights.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Kasumi's bio calls her a "shinobi ninja princess." "Shinobi" and "ninja" are alternate readings of the same Japanese charactersnote .
  • Did the Earth Move for You, Too?: Christie and Max are in bed under shortly after doing the deed. Suddenly, she says that the earth moved. Max, of course, takes credit, until Kasumi and Leon crash through the wall from Kasumi's room, as it is their turn to fight.
  • The Dragon: Bayman, who is actually working for Donovan as his personal muscle.
  • Evil Plan: The true purpose of the tournament is for Donovan to collect data on various fighting styles with nanobots injected into the competitors' bloodstreams, display the gathered info on a pair of special sunglasses that grants its wearer Combat Clairvoyance and then sell the product for big money on an Auction of Evil.
  • Exact Progress Bar: Donovan is uploading the plans for his invention to a bunch of international buyers. Naturally, the progress bar is quickly filling up, despite the fact that these buyers are all, presumably, located in different locations. When Wetherby manages to stop the upload, the bar reverses and quickly goes back to 0.
  • Fanservice: The film can be summarized as "one-third over-the-top martial arts fights, two-thirds catering to everyone who likes beautiful women in various states of undress".
  • Fighting with Chucks: Hayabusa does it briefly during an early Training Montage.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The police enter Christie's hotel room while she was showering to arrest her and she dons a Modesty Towel while they try to interrogate her. She flirts and flaunts her body to make them drop their guard, then kicks their asses in a She-Fu sequence with Scenery Censor to preserve her modesty.
  • Get a Room!: Invoked by Tina when Helena and Weatherby start making out at the end.
  • Gratuitous Princess: Kasumi is upgraded from a simple ninja from the games to a ninja princess, with hundreds of subjects. Until she throws it all away for the sake of finding her brother Hayate.
  • Groin Attack: Christie, still pissed off about Max ratting her out to the Hongkong police, cracks his nuts twice when they meet aboard the plane to the DOA island.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Donovan gets killed by the very same self-destruct system he himself set off to cover his tracks.
  • Homing Projectile: The two-pronged shuriken that delivers the DOA invitations have impressive tracking capabilities. No matter if you're escaping the cops on a bike in downtown Hongkong or riding a paraglider somewhere high above Japan, they will find you.
  • Improvised Weapon: Shows up here and there, like when Hayabusa beats up some mooks with a "No Entrance" sign, or when Kasumi uses a piece of bamboo cane to fend off yet another one of Ayane's assassination attempts.
  • In Name Only: Just about every single character, but Helena, in particular, bears absolutely no resemblance to her game counterpart.
  • Informed Attribute: Christie is described as being a thief and assassin. While her part of the story does involve her plotting a heist, we never see her performing any hits for money and doesn't kill anyone throughout the movie, not even the cops who come to arrest her.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. Wimpy scientist Weatherby saves Helena's life by punching out a mook who was about to stab her in the back. He comically hops around clutching his hand and asking her how "You people" do that without it hurting.
  • Juggle Fu: Christie, when being caught by the police immediately after taking a shower, manages to pull this trick with her bra. And she not only caught it on its way down, but also put it on.
  • Justified Trope: Donovan manages to display Life Meters for the tournament contestants during their fights, thanks to the nanomachines he injected into them. The justification is that the machines are also a vital part of the Big Bad's master plan.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: All the mooks use katanas. Fortunately, the main heroines are also very proficient in using them.
  • Male Gaze: The Movie. If the film isn't currently showing folks beating the crap out of one another, it's all about admiring its female cast from every possible angle. Or both at once. Of course, considering the game it's adapted from, this might be the most accurate thing about it...
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: A few of Donovan's mooks are female, but the vast majority of those that die are men.
  • Mistaken for Gay: A Running Gag is Bass Armstrong walking in on his daughter with another woman and thinking they're in a lesbian relationship.
  • Modesty Bedsheet:
    • Christie and Max are under one after sleeping together.
    • Bass also assumes Christie is using one when he walks on her and Tina sleeping in the same bed, since Christie acts like she's nude under it, but later Tina kicks her out the bed and it's revealed she was wearing nightwear the whole time.
  • Mook Chivalry:
    • Played straight when Hayabusa is infiltrating Donovan's HQ, and when Helena is fighting off dozens of Donovan's security guards who are only armed with swords. Granted, there are times when Helena has to fight two at the same time, but it's never more than that at a time.
    • Averted with the heroines who all gang up on Donovan at the end, seeing as how they can't beat him (his glasses, actually) on their own.
    • Also mostly averted with the guards who charge Helena and Weatherby on the large stairway. She frequently has to fight off several of them at a time.
  • Mugging the Monster: Some Ruthless Modern Pirates try to hijack a yacht. Unknown to them, said yacht belongs to Tina Armstrong who proceeds to kick their asses. The pirates return to the story when they try to rob the heroes who are floating in the water. The leader has an Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes they've run into Tina again and the heroes are next seen using the pirates' own boat.
  • Neck Snap: Hayabusa does this to a random Mook while sneaking into Donovan's lab.
  • Never Found the Body: The film begins with Kasumi being told by Ryu Hayabusa about her brother Hayate's death in the DOA tournament. Kasumi immediately demands to see the body. Hayabusa tells her that there is no body. Kasumi then flatly states that Hayate is not dead and goes to find him. On the other hand, Ayane, who is secretly in love with Hayate, doesn't question that he's dead. Later on, Victor Donovan personally tells her that, after his fight with Leon, Hayate fell off a cliff, and his body was never recovered. Naturally, Kasumi assumes Donovan is lying, especially after fighting Leon and finding out he's a mediocre fighter at best (i.e. no match for Hayate). Spoilers: Kasumi was right all along.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Bass Armstrong walks in on his daughter Tina sleeping in the same bed with Christie, and mistakenly believes they are lovers. He constantly insists he is supportive of their relationship, despite Tina's protests that there is nothing going on. He later makes a similar assumption upon seeing Tina and Kasumi together.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several examples, but the two that stand out most are Donovan losing his cheater shades during the final showdown, and Weatherby upon realizing the island's self-destruct sequence can't be stopped.
  • One Steve Limit: As pointed out by Bass in the Mistaken for Gay scene, Christie and Tina's names are both diminutives of Christina.
  • The Paralyzer: Hayate uses acupuncture needles to this effect when he frees his kidnapped sister Kasumi from bandits in a flashback scene. He does it again in the Final Battle to paralyze Donovan.
  • Photographic Memory: Christie seems to have this. She manages to draw Helena's tattoo (the key to a vault) from memory having glimpsed it for less than a second, while in full motion, during a fight.
  • Posters Always Lie: Of the five characters shown on the official poster, Devon Aoki's Kasumi and Jaime Pressly's Tina are the only ones that count as protagonists. The other three have less screentime combined than Holly Valance's Christie for instance, who didn't make it on the poster for some reason. Also counts as a visual Billing Displacement of sorts.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Hayabusa and Kasumi, as well as Hayate and Ayane (see Related in the Adaptation below for more on the latter).
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: Zack insults Tina by claiming wrestling isn't real fighting. Tina proves him wrong in their fight earning her his respect and an apology.
  • Race Lift: The Japanese Kasumi and Ayane are played by the half-Japanese Devon Aoki and the half-Malaysian Natassia Malthe, respectively. Strangely, this applied only to them: Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate were played by the half-Japanese half-Chinese Kane Kosugi and the Taiwanese Collin Chou.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Happens twice in the same scene, first when Weatherby's romantic daydream of himself and Helena collides with reality, and then again a minute later when Tina kicks Zack into the beach DJ's turntables as her opening move to their duel (which makes this example one of the few actually justified ones).
  • Rollerblade Good: Helena is introduced rolling around DOA Island on rollerblades, and she continues to use them afterwards every now and then.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: A group of modern-day pirates run afoul of Tina in her introduction — and then have the misfortune to encounter the rest of the heroines when they are stranded at sea at the movie's end.
  • Samurai in Ninja Town: All of the inhabitants of Kasumi's ninja village act much more like samurai than ninjas.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Or more precisely, Devon Aoki Is About To Eviscerate You.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Max watching Christie silhouette getting dressed behind a dressing screen.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: Tina is introduced surfacing from the ocean and climbing onto a boat with water sliding all over her body as she wears an American Flag Bikini.
  • She's Got Legs: All the time as part of the general Fanservice. Special mention goes to Helena lounging on a rock on the beach when Weatherby finally puts the moves on her.
  • Shower Scene: Christie gets a brief on purely for fanservice, showing her Toplessness from the Back.
  • Skewed Priorities: When DOA Island is about to self-destruct, Max needs to be forced into the emergency exit because he tries his damndest to take Donovan's money with him.
  • Soft Water: The Final Battle ends with the protagonists jumping off of DOA Island's coastal pagoda into the ocean beneath. None of them suffers any injuries despite falling for about 100 meters and the waterline actually being much too far away from the tower to be reachable by jumping, least of all provide water deep enough to even have a chance at surviving the impact.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: To escape her palace, Kasumi throws a katana to stick in a wall, runs on the backs of her clansmen, then jumps on the sword, and uses it as a springboard to jump over the high walls surrounding the establishment.
  • Stock Scream: A Wilhelm Scream shows up when Hayabusa throws a ninja off a balcony.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Given that this always spits in the face of physics, Kasumi's thrown sword flying in a straight line for at least 100 meters in the opening scene looks extremely jarring.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: In the games, Ayane is Kasumi and Hayate's cousin and half-sister. Here, she's an unrelated member of the clan in service to Kasumi, and Promoted to Love Interest for Hayate.
  • Waif-Fu: All over the place. For example, Kasumi wins in a fight against Leon, who is approximately three times her weight and a foot taller.
  • Wire Fu: Most of the fight scenes and acrobatics would be physically impossible without all those invisible wires everywhere.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Well, it's a martial arts tournament, so none of the guys pull any punches when they're up against the female fighters. Thankfully, Beauty Is Never Tarnished is in full effect.
  • Zerg Rush: The shinobi army in the final scene.


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