D.O.A.: Dead or Alive

(I could only find the German version of the movie poster floating around the web.)

DOA German movie poster

A few weeks ago, spinboy posted a link to the D.O.A. trailer and asked the question:

Perhaps the greatest movie ever?

We saw it the other day, and it didn’t take long for us to discover the answer: No.

More thoughts (and possible spoilers) after the jump.

This movie was incredibly naff. I think that the opening scene really set the bar (low). A main character leaves her ninja group by throwing a sword into a wall a few hundred metres away. She runs after it at the same speed and uses it as a springboard to jump a few stories into the air, over the surrounding wall, and off a cliff. As she’s falling, she removes her outer layer of clothing to reveal a small backpack, which opens into a bat-style glider… riiight.

Little things throughout the movie accentuated the naff-ness: the outrageous outfits (in particular the old monk with a long white beard, and the guy with the green goatee), the “cuckoo cuckoo” sound used when Tina hit Zack in the head, the shurikens (with video screens) that come out of nowhere to invite people to the D.O.A. tournament, the guy with sunglasses that give him superhuman powers (I’m not making this up).

I get the feeling that this movie started out with a Mortal Kombat style martial-arts-tournament-determines-the-fate-of-the-world storyline, but that got changed at the last minute into a cheesy Street Fighter style generic low-budget action-fest. I think they did this because at some point they realised how naff the film was and thought that maybe they could turn that into “fun” instead. Probably when they realised that the special effects were suffering from a bad case of not-enough-in-the-budget, or when they just looked at what they had filmed!

Aside from the general vibe I got while watching the movie, I think this theory is supported by this promotional image:

DOA promotional poster

It communicates a very different story than that in the final movie. Also, the teaser trailer shows the main characters teaming up against an army of ninjas. This scene was only tagged onto the end of the movie (with a “one week later”), almost as if to say… “um… you might have been expecting to see this in the movie… so, here it is.”

In the end, the change to cheesy from trying-to-be-serious actually kinda worked… kinda. It wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen this year.

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