DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE (Corey Yuen, 2006)
Ninja princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki), professional wrestler Tina (Jaime Pressly), and assassin/master thief Christie (Holly Valance) are among the elite fighters chosen to participate in a martial arts competition in DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE. Contrary to the title, fighting continues until one combatant concedes defeat or is knocked out. A $10 million prize awaits the ultimate warrior.
The butt-kicking babes have more than a title and big payday on their minds. Kasumi has left her clan to search for her brother Hayate (Collin Chou), who was reportedly killed in the previous fight festival on DOA Island. His body was never found, and she believes he is still alive. For abandoning her people, Kasumi is pursued by Ayane (Natassia Malthe), a former servant and Hayate's vengeful lover. Hayabusa (Kane Kosugi), Hayate's best friend, follows to protect the princess and demonstrate his skills among the world's top martial artists.
Christie and her boyfriend Max (Matthew Marsden) have their eyes on the prize money, but they're also scheming to rob the vault. Since everyone knows that pro wrestling is fake--spoiler--Tina wants to prove her abilities by beating the best of the best, including her muscle-bound daddy Bass (Kevin Nash).
If junior high school boys wrote a cheesecake syndicated TV show and spun it off into a movie, the result would be DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE. When in doubt of what to do next, the camera ogles and caresses taut bodies and then turns to the umpteenth uninteresting fight scene with poor wire work. The preponderance of bad CGI and virtual sets does as much to highlight the film's tackiness as the fake tans and gallons of peroxide used to make up the actors.
Acclaimed fight choreographer Corey Yuen sits in the director's chair, but unlike his work helming THE TRANSPORTER and SO CLOSE (CHIK YEUNG TIN SI), DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE lacks outlandish stunts or trashy thrills. The fights are maddeningly dull and nowhere as memorable as the kelly green shark's fin coiffure and facial hair of one fighter.
Eric Roberts, who plays DOA Island mastermind Donovan, adds a delicious side of ham to accompany the moldy cheese of this Z-grade film. Stiff performances and stock dialogue characterize DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE'S cheapo vibe. At times the lines sound like they were written and delivered by people for whom English is a second or third language.