'D.O.A. - Dead Or Alive'
(Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2007 / Dimension Extreme)
Overview: Four gorgeous women are invited to a remote island to participate in a fighting tournament. Filled with non-stop action, eye-popping martial arts stunts, and hot ass-kicking women, 'D.O.A.' follows a group of super-skilled fighters from across the globe invited to a remote Pacific island to compete for the $10 million title of World's Best Fighter.
DVD Verdict: "D.O.A.: Dead or Alive" (as everyone knows) is based on the Video game franchise of the same name. This film was released in mid-2006 in Asia before in the U.S. possibly because of the larger market for video game inspired movies. For this reason, I managed to own the region-3 Asian release even before the movie hit U.S. theaters. Directed by Corey Yuen (Transporter, So Close) an acclaimed Martial arts choreographer, "D.O.A." is promising.
A tournament called D.O.A. is being held in a remote Island by a man named Donovan (Eric Roberts). Three beautiful but lethal women are invited to compete. Tina (Jaime Pressley), Kasumi (Devon Aoki), and Christie (Holly Valance). Each of the three female leads have their own motivation and has their own baggage to carry. Once there, they must battle their way up the fighter rankings through a bunch of other seasoned fighters to reach the finals. Once in the final phase, the women uncover a hidden "sinister" secret that is the true reason for the competition. Aided by Helena (hottie Sarah Carter) and Hayabusa (Kane Kosuji), they must either join forces or perish.
Since the movie is based on the video game, expect something with a simple plot with scantily-clad women engaging in fisticuffs and, ahem, volleyball (which is a nice touch as there is a game called "D.O.A. Beach Volleyball"). What can we expect? The game itself is renowned for its hard-hitting fights and titillation factor ("bouncing b--bs" and skimpy outfits) so the film just exploits those factors!
It is fairly obvious that Corey Yuen has a limited budget to work with. Still, he manages to pull off an accelerated fast-paced action film that is both hard-hitting and visually stylish. While the plot is lacking and with almost no decent character development, Corey goes for the throat with a lot of mano-o-mano fights and as much "PG-13" brutality(no blood) he can spare to compensate for the lackluster plot. The extensive fight choreography is the true "lure" of the film. And remember, the film is based on a video game so reality is out the door!
"D.O.A." remains true to its roots, as there is enough tease (but not explicit) to make a male (like me) excited, shots of a few tanned skin and sexy curves to satisfy the raw sex appeal of the games. While it does have its goofy moments, (the nerdy guy is so annoying), there is enough action to divert our attention that it does avoid the screenplay from becoming "cheesy" nor "campy". Eric Roberts is definitely miscast as the bad guy, he didn't have the "raw appeal" for a baddie. Wrestler Kevin Nash even makes an appearance as Tina's wrestler Dad. The film is short, and the ending gives you a little tease of the possibility of a sequel. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
East Meets West: Behind The Action of 'D.O.A.'