DOA: Dead Or Alive Review

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The planet’s finest warriors, including four feisty femmes, are invited to a tropical island to take part in a fighting contest to win $10 million. But the tournament organiser (Eric Roberts) may be up to no good. Let battle commence!


What are you doing friday night, six months from now? Well, cancel it — since you’re better off getting some mates round with a bevy of bevvies and laughing your reproductive equipment off at DOA, a videogame adaptation of such gleeful empty-headedness that the highest compliment we can pay it is that it should have gone direct to DVD. It’s that good (bad).

The Dead Or Alive series is all about exotic locales, bright, primary colours, and endless battles between bemuscled he-men and female warriors with boobs bigger than their brains. The movie sticks closely to this template — only the bust sizes have changed — but director Corey Yuen lavishes his energy on cranking up the pace, paring down the plot and making the whole kit-and-caboodle so darned fun that audiences won’t be absent-mindedly reaching for their joypads (steady…!) halfway through.

Yes, the performances are so wooden that things improve when Eric frickin’ Roberts turns up with a bad wig. Yes, its message of female empowerment is lost in an endless succession of gratuitous bikini shots (including, game fans, a volleyball sequence). But it’s all so knowingly performed and directed, and so ridiculously entertaining that — faint praise alert! — this is the movie that Charlie’s Angels should have been.

In a year of big, dumb, enjoyable B-movies, DOA strikes a blow for girl power. Still, best wait for the DVD.