DOA: DEAD OR
STARRING: Devon Aoki, Sarah
Carter, Natassia Malthe, Matthew Marsden, Jamie Pressly, Eric Roberts, Holly
2007, 87 Minutes, Directed by:
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 . . .