Review: DOA: Dead or Alive

Nefarious Eric Roberts invites fighters from all over the globe to his private island to compete in the title tournament (for a supposed $10M), though Roberts has ulterior motives. Jamie Pressly is a white trash wrestler, Aussie Holly Valance a British-accented thief, and Devon Aoki is a Japanese Princess who risks punishment by death when she walks out of the palace to enter the tournament so she can find out what happened to her brother who competed in the tournament previously. Sarah Carter plays the daughter of the tournament’s founder, while Kane Kosugi (son of the legendary Sho Kosugi) is the Princess’ sworn protector Hayabusa. Natassia Malthe meanwhile, is the lover of Aoki’s brother and vows to kill her for abandoning her people. Matthew Marsden is an acquaintance of Valance, and wrestler Kevin Nash is Pressly’s wrestler dad who starts to suspect (through comic misunderstanding) his daughter is a lesbian.

2006 Corey Yuen (the similarly gorgeous-looking female-geared martial arts flick “So Close”) directed adaptation of a video game I seriously need to play, pretty much is what it is: “Charlie’s Angels” meets “Enter the Dragon” meets “Mortal Kombat”. It’s dopey, vacuous, and really quite amusing (especially a rainy, wet fight between Valance and Carter) in a dopey, vacuous way. Instantly disposable but undeniably watchable…until the film focuses on Roberts’ truly stupid criminal schemes. In a film featuring hot martial arts chicks kicking arse and playing volleyball, who the fuck wants to see ugly Eric Roberts wearing goofy hi-tech glasses and doing some bumbling martial arts? It could’ve also been a little more overtly sexual (it is a film for 13-25 year-old guys, after all!). The performances are all kinda bad (though Pressly is actually well-cast), but former wrestler Nash gets some big laughs lampooning Hulk Hogan as Pressly’s muscle-head wrestler dad.

It’s a fast-paced B-movie, and an amazingly dopey one at that, but I think it knows it. And hey, for a computer game adaptation, it’s surprisingly watchable! Scripted by J.F. Lawton (“Pretty Woman” of all things, as well as “The Hunted” and “Under Siege”), Adam Gross and Seth Gross. It’s hot chicks beating each other up and playing volleyball for 90 minutes, that’s all. It is what it is, folks (a guilty pleasure), and it ain’t trying to be anything else. Yuen sure does bring out his bag of tricks to pretty it all up, at every given opportunity, though.

Rating: C+


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