"D.O.A." is dead on arrival

June 17, 2007, midnight | By Melanie Snail | 13 years, 7 months ago

Videogame should have stayed on the small screen

Imagine a remote paradise island, with beaches full of bikini-wearing beautiful women and men with defined pectorals. A horizon bares a vast crystal-blue ocean stretching for miles, and lush green forests adorn the exotic isle. Now add in the world's ultimate fighting tournament, ten million dollars and an evil mastermind, and you have the makings of the video-game-turned-film, "DOA: Dead or Alive."

As six different plots simultaneously arise, it becomes clear that "Dead or Alive" is not to be taken seriously. After hearing dozens of clichés and cheesy pick-up lines and watching multiple awkward romances develop, the story becomes truly improbable. Any quality left in the film is stopped dead in its tracks like a fly caught in Mr. Miyagi's chopsticks. Apart from several instances of impressive slow-motion scenes, dynamic camera angles and death defying moves, the constant fighting eventually becomes too predictable and unimaginative.

The movie's flimsy attempt at a plot centers on the Dead or Alive tournament, in which the top combatants from each fighting style compete to determine the best fighter in the world. The film unites four of the best female fighters from around the globe, who all happen to be very attractive and well-endowed. Princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki) chooses to leave her empire, despite threats, to search for her brother, who was invited to the tournament a year earlier but never returned. Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressley), who is accompanied by her pro-wrestler-father, wants to distance herself from the sham of women's wrestling. Christie Allen, played by singer Holly Valance, is a hired-assassin and experienced thief ready to bare all to win the money.

As the competition heats up, the three team up with the daughter of the late founder of DOA, Helena Douglas (Sarah Carter), who seeks to continue her father's legacy. The four soon learn that the ruthless director of the tournament, Donovan (Eric Roberts), is hiding more than a few secrets. In order to beat the plotting director, they must engage in a final decisive battle of good versus evil, a seriously hackneyed plot twist.

Even worse for the plot, the winner of each match can easily be predicted as soon as the competitors are paired, leaving you unsurprised. At one point, the film is so desperate for more action that Tina Armstrong must fight her father to advance to the next round. That's creative. As bits of the overloaded plot unravel, it turns out that Donovan is out to create something that the world has never seen before, so it's up to the four voluptuous fighters to save the day and protect the world from the corrupt schemer.

With elements reminiscent of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Charlie's Angels," and "D.E.B.S.", the movie leaves much to be desired from its inspiration and falls short of many expectations. Unless you need an excuse to get out of the house, or have a guilty pleasure of watching martial arts performed in bikinis, "D.O.A.: Dead or Alive" is a movie best left unseen.

DOA: Dead or Alive (86 minutes) is rated PG-13 for pervasive martial arts, action violence, some sexuality and nudity. Now playing everywhere.

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