STARRING: Devon Aoki, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Jamie Pressly, Eric Roberts, Holly Valance

2007, 87 Minutes, Directed by:
Corey Yuen

Description: A feature adaptation of Tecmo's bestselling game franchise DOA: Dead or Alive. Four young, attractive women are invited to an exotic island to compete in a deadly fighting tournament called “Dead or Alive.” Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly), Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter), Christie Allen (Holly Valance), and Kasumi (Devon Aoki) are not only sexy, but also dangerous as they take on male competition, such as the hulking Bass (Kevin Nash).

It’s got hot babes in bikinis kung-fu fighting what more do you want of a movie?

Bad in only the way that a movie based on a computer game can be, DOA is kitsch on a grand scale. But at least it’s hyperkinetic kitsch that never bores. Clocking in at under 80 minutes the movie never pauses for a breather as it’s one breathless martial arts action sequence after the other. The plot simplistic at best involves a villain “stealing” the fighting skills of some of the world’s greatest martial arts fighters. But it only works as long as he’s wearing a pair of virtual reality sunglasses, which of course begs the question why don’t his opponents simply knock off his glasses?

It’s all filmed in gloriously kitschy bright colors and edited at a breakneck, but not so that any epilepsy sufferers need fear. Sure, characterization suffers, but this isn’t the sort of movie you check out for any existential insights into the human condition. Instead it is a movie aimed squarely at ten-year-old boys beginning to discover that, hey, they actually like looking at girls in bikinis!

Trashy and with a loud pop music score, it is easy to knock DOA as bad film-making. But DOA seems to be in on the joke. It never expects us to take it too seriously and even when the attempts at humor makes you want to cringe with acute embarrassment, the cast is always keen. A sense of playfulness and fun pervades the proceedings, unlike your typical Jean Claude van Damme or Steven Segal direct-to-video vehicles that serve as nothing but ego-stroking vehicles for their school bully stars.

Towards the end it gets a bit wearisome with a climax consisting of endless fight scenes, but any movie that features the yummy Sarah Carter (Smallville fans will recognize her as Clark Kent/Superman’s one-time “wife”, see photograph) is OK by us . . .



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