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D.O.A. (1988)

R  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  18 March 1988 (USA)
6.1
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 7,494 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 27 critic

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds... See full summary »

Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: D.O.A. (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Mrs. Fitzwaring
...
...
Gail Cornell
...
Bernard
Robin Johnson ...
Cookie Fitzwaring
...
Nicholas Lang (as Rob Knepper)
...
Graham Corey
...
Detective Ulmer
Jack Kehoe ...
Detective Brockton
...
Elaine Wells
Karen Radcliffe ...
Jane Corey
William Forward ...
Chief Resident
Lee Gideon ...
Mr. Fitzwaring
Edit

Storyline

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds help and comfort from one of his student, Sydney Fuller. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone poisoned Dexter Cornell. He's got to find out who. He's got to find out why. He's got to find out now. In 24 hours, he'll be Dead On Arrival.

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead on Arrival  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$12,706,478 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some sequences)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to show-business trade paper 'Variety', the film's camera technique included large amounts of "visual gimmickry: lots of tilted, or swivelling first-person camerawork plus moire-patterned lighting to create distortion". See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, Dex shoots the villain, who falls out of a window. Dex shot the villain in the front and the villain took several steps backwards without turning around. The next shot shows the villain very obviously jumping out of the window by running up to it facing forward and spinning around in the air. See more »

Quotes

Hal Petersham: You had it... You had it... and you pissed it away... goddamit Dex... you had a talent... You had a talent that other people...
Dexter Cornell: [pulls a gun on Hal] ... kill for?
[last lines]
Hal Petersham: Yeah that's right kill for... isn't that what it's all about? Publish or Perish?
Dexter Cornell: [as he fires his gun] Perish
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Touchstone Logo is in black & white and the logo's flash is accompanied by a thunder clap. See more »

Connections

References Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

IF YOU SEE ME LAUGHING
Written by Erik Hokkanen
Performed by Erik Hokkanen (as Erik) & The Offbeats
See more »

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User Reviews

Remake of a classic which just doesn't even come close to the required standard.
2 October 2004 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

D.O.A has a good premise, borrowed from a 1950 film of the same name and a 1969 film entitled Color Me Dead. But beyond the premise it fails to develop into anything worthwhile. The script mistakes ludicrousness for cleverness; the directors peculiarly seem to think they're making a pop video rather than a film; and Dennis Quaid puts on a weird grin and raises his eyebrows maniacally as if he's auditioning as a Jack Nicholson impersonator. It's good for a laugh but, since that wasn't the original intention, it's hard to rate this as a worthwhile film.

English lecturer Dexter Cornell (Quaid) is a bitter, bored shell of a man. Formerly a great author, he never recovered from the critical failure of his fourth and final novel and vowed never to write again. Without the drive of writing to fill his life, he gave up on everything else too, including his marriage and his dedication to the job. When pupil Nick Lang (Rob Knepper) apparently commits suicide after handing in an assignment, Cornell hits the booze to get over the shock. But soon thereafter, he learns that he has drunk a slow-acting poison, and that within 48 hours he will be dead. So close to death, he finally finds a renewed purpose in being alive.... as, aided by student Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan), he desperately attempts to solve his own "murder".

It's such a good idea that one can hardly imagine how it could fail. But it does. It really, really does fail in a big way. All the pointlessly fancy camera angles, all the inappropriate musical scoring, and especially the jaw-droppingly stupid solution to the mystery, conspire to ruin the film. D.O.A stands for "Dead On Arrival", and that's the perfect adjectival phrase for the entire film. Some day, this wonderful idea for a film might be used once again to better effect, but for now you'd be best advised to stick with the 1950 version.


14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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