This experience leaves you with a heightened sense of movement thanks to director Corey Yuen (The Transporter, The Legend) who uses camera speed and shaking effects for more impact — and it works. One notable miscue hurts the action credibility. As characters climb up to the tournament venue (think kung fu Donkey Kong), a group of female characters pull themselves up in an awkward edit, which negates their impressive efforts and the movie’s stuntwork and martial arts. Hard earned efforts from the actors/martial arts (e.g. the sand fight and a nifty stair struggle) impress individually, but don’t quite mesh into a cohesive story. Team-based themes seen in other video game adaptations (e.g. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) are simply abandoned in this movie, except for some cheesy banter. DOA just unloads lots of bloodless and physics-defying violence (e.g. the bamboo would’ve cut most people to shreds) while reaching out to older audiences with echoes of Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Charlie’s Angels and Bugs Bunny cartoons. Unexplained invitation deliveries, fighters suddenly becoming parachute experts, nanotechnology, ability downloads and constant DOA marketing keep the tone light while potentially interesting elements like ninja acupuncture remain on the same level as the other presented elements – one-dimensional. Familiar faces can’t quite elevate the movie for older audiences (who might prefer the unrated “Asian version”), but younger audiences will enjoy it more. Rated PG-13 for violence and sexual innuendo.
The DVD extra features include the preview and “East Meets West: Behind the Action of DOA”, which talks more about the training and shows some pretty interesting special effects techniques (catch the green-suited guys lifting up the women for the volleyball sequences). French and English language options with Spanish/English subtitles.