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Out of the Box: Resident DOA

October 5, 2007

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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DOA: Dead or AliveDOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

DVD: Dimension Extreme (2007)
Director: Corey Yuen.
Cast: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden, Eric Roberts, Steve Howey, Brian J. White and Kevin Nash.
Writers: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross.

I checked already. There is nothing better than watching beautiful and lethal women kung fu each other into total oblivion on the big screen, as long as it is done tastefully of course.

Although it was released around the world in September of last year and is loosely based on Tecmo's video game of the same name, 'DOA: Dead or Alive' didn't arrive in North American theatres until this past summer and without any press screenings. Usually, AWOL press screenings means that even the studio itself doesn't have confidence in a film. How or why this would be the case with 'DOA' is puzzling.

On par with any of the 'Charlie's Angels' movies, the film was the perfect check-your-brain-at-the-door summertime fare North Americans audiences love but if you are a fan of 'guilty pleasures' never fear, the DVD is finally here this month. Let the fists of fury fly.

At the heart of 'DOA' is an invite-only, mixed martial arts, hand-to-hand combat tournament staged by the mysterious benefactor Donovan (Eric Roberts). The gathering of motley combatants includes pro wrestler Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly from 'My Name Is Earl'), assassin Christie Allen (Holly Valance from 'Prison Break') and extreme butt kicker Helena Douglas (Canadian Sarah Carter from TV's 'Shark'). Real-life pro wrestler Kevin Nash also makes an appearance as Bass Armstrong, a spoof of squared circle icon Hulk Hogan.

Part of the competition and a larger storyline is Princess Kasumi (Sin City's Devon Aoki), whose brother disappeared at last year's tournament. Kasumi is determined to get to the bottom of things even if it means
roundhouse kicking everyone on the entire island, one body at a time. The twist is Kasumi is not only the hunter but the hunted. Her bro's former lover, the sword-carrying hired gun Ayane (Natassia Malthe), is duty-bound to kill the princess for leaving her clan in the lurch.

DOA: I just kicked your face inLet's face it though nobody is going to pick up 'DOA' for the storyline or character development. They want to see gorgeous women kicking butt and there is lots of that. The rapid-fire fight scenes are plentiful, well
co-ordinated and slickly filmed. The best fight of the bunch though is one that has nothing to do with the actual tournament. A mini-homage to 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', Princess Kasumi and Ayane do battle in a bamboo forest diving and leaping at each other non-stop. Where stunt coordinator Jian Yong Guo and his crew do stumble though is that it is apparent to the trained eye that some of the actresses have no martial arts background to speak of and no manner of special effects trickery will conceal that fact. Die hard kung fu film aficionados may not be able to look past some of those performances.

Even though the film does take a predictable and discouraging turn during the final reel, we have witnessed enough frenzied action by then that the slip-up is easily swept under the carpet. While it will not elevate the
genre to new heights, 'DOA' is a lot better than the studio or stuffy critics would have you believe. It is mostly harmless, campy and saucy karate fun if you just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Rating: 6.5 / 10


Resident Evil: ExtinctionResident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Screen Gems
Director: Russell Mulcahy.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti,
Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke, Matthew Marsden, Linden Ashby.
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson.

Continuing with our Girl Power and coincidentally, Matthew Marsden theme, 'Resident Evil: Extinction' really gives 'DOA' a run for its money when it comes to butt kicking. One woman army Milla Jovovich is back battling the undead but this time she has brought along Ali ('Heroes') Larter with her to join in on the fun.

The mass zombie contamination has gone from bad to worse since "Resident Evil: Apocalypse'. The nefarious Umbrella Corporation has been unable to contain the plague that devoured Raccoon City. It spread across the United States and Europe within months. Now, the Earth is covered by barren deserts and the undead population vastly outnumbers the humans. Reminiscent of Max Max's post-apocalyptic world, the surviving humans have become nomads always on the run and on the lookout for any other plague survivors.

Alice (Jovovich) is once again on her own until she hooks up with a rag-tag group of roaming rejects which includes Larter, R&B singer Ashanti and the Spencer Locke. Oh, yeah. It is Force Fox Five and Oded Fehr against the undead hordes. I don't know about you but I am putting my money on Milla and her crew.

Resident Evil: Extinction - Did I invite you to dinner? I don't think so.Heading towards a hidden underground Umbrella Corporation base, Force Fox Five ultimately exposes their sinister plot of using Alice's plague resistant blood to create a whole new brand of baddie who like all
'Resident Evil' bosses is disgustingly foul, gross and can use its body as a deadly weapon.As in the proceeding 'Resident Evil' movies, some of the familiar oozing faces from the Capcom video game series upon which the films are based make guest appearances. Along with the different kinds of zombies themselves, the Cerberus (Zombie) dogs and the murderous marauding crows return.

A rehash of 'Mad Max' and George Romero's 'Day of The Dead', 'Extinction' has some stylish fight scenes, especially since Alice is slicing and dicing with dual combat knives, and there are some good bump-in-the-dark scares but you've seen these scenarios all before. Even the "laser hallway of death' revisit is anti-climatic. Alice just avoids it by leaping into a ventilation shaft above. You can take the easy way out too and save yourself some grief. Wait until the DVD comes out.

Rating: 5.5 / 10


 
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