Friday, 20 April 2012


This film is either a work of unremitting genius or a piece of utter, lowest-common-denominator trash. Possibly both. Based on the 'classic' beat-em-up video game with all the class of a damp wino, the big, glossy movie version is extremely well choreographed, but as a film it absolutely stinks. A bunch of colourful and suitably oddball badasses (mainly pretty girls) are invited to go to DOA island and partake in the ultimate fighting championship – DOA: Dead or Alive. Of course, there is a darker plot at work, too.

Attempting to cram a bunch of character back-stories and sub-plots into one narrative turns the whole thing into a mess, and that's before you consider the dialogue or the acting. Jaime Pressley is the most convincing cast member, thanks to her dry Southern drawl giving her lines some much-needed humour and dryness. The rest of the cast, including Devon Aoki, Holly Valance and Eric Roberts, struggle to keep a straight face while delivering painfully embarrassing lines.

In development, it probably sounded like the greatest movie ever to be made, but the finished product is too slick, too cartoony and too, well, crap to be any use. It has long since been very popular with teenage boys, which is understandable considering both the imbecilic plot and the amount of female flesh on show. It's like a cross between the Charlie's Angels movies and a sugar overdose.

I do like some nice touches in the film, like the use of actual energy-level bars straight out of the games, and the visual nods to the source material. There are some spectacular action sequences and visual effects, but absolutely nothing in the film holds together. An absolute and total mess of a film, awful on every level but the wholly visual, and yet it manages to be ridiculously entertaining as well as just ridiculous.

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