“First my dreams and now in real life, why do you haunt me so, Eric Roberts?” – Pete Vonder Haar
“DOA: Dead or Alive” is the latest video game-to-film adaptation that actually accomplishes something most others in this category don’t – it basically follows the plot of the game it’s based on. That isn’t to say that there is much plot in either, but still, this film makes somewhat of a nice effort. My internet research tells me that the “DOA: Dead or Alive” series of games that play a bit like a Van Damme movie – a group of the “world’s best fighters” gather at various locations throughout the world and fight each other until one fighter remains. It’s like “Mortal Kombat” but set in the real world, not another dimension.
Another trademark of the “DOA” series are the voluptuous female characters showcased. When you’re a 13-year-old male gamer, nothing rocks your world more than breasts bouncing around in slow motion during a fight. These “pixilated breasts” are such a smash hit amongst this crowd that Tecmo (the company behind the series) felt the urge to release a game dedicated to them: “Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Vollyball” no doubt made dreams cum true.
And yes game fans; there is a volleyball sequence in this movie. It’s like the one from “Top Gun” but way less homoerotic.
This film centers around three such females who were all chosen to participate in this DOA tournament. Princess Kasumi (Devin Aoki) chooses to leave her ninja clan to participate mostly because her brother never returned from last year’s tournament. “Master Thief” Christie Allen (Holly Valance) also accepts the invitation strictly for the $10 million cash prize, while pro-wrestler Tina Armstrong (Jaime Pressly) joins the tournament because she “wants to be taken seriously” as a fighter. The dramatic tension amongst these characters is simply astounding.
Here is where the film gets really, really good.
The three ladies, as well as some other fighters, arrive to the island and are paired up to fight others at random. The tournament mastermind is none other than a man named Donovan (Eric f*****g Roberts) who secretly has other plans for the winners of this contest. Donovan locks the four finalists into these weird chamber things (think of that scene in “Alien: Resurrection” where those poor chaps are locked up with the alien eggs) that allow him to download their fighting techniques into these special sunglasses. With these sunglasses,
Nada Donovan can then see that the world is really run by aliens utilize any of their fighting techniques to take over the world! Or sell the technology to the highest bidder, whatever.
It’s hard to say if it was a studio decision or not but director Corey Yuen (“The Transporter”) actually does a pretty good job of keeping this film PG-13. About 73% of the visuals in this film involve crotch shots, slow motion crotch shots, butt shots, slow motion fights with girls in bikinis, bikini girls fighting in the rain, and more crotch shots. Nothing is ever revealed, but still, I can’t think of a film (outside porn of course) with this many close-ups of girls’ crotches. There is enough masturbation fodder here to keep many 11-year-old kids who have yet to find daddy’s porn stash very happy.
To be quite honest, it’s hard to try and steer people away from seeing this film, though it’s even harder to recommend it. Sure, the dialogue is absolutely atrocious, the acting sucks, Eric Roberts is a co-star, the action is lame and the fighting is boring. But all of this makes for one hilarious viewing experience. “DOA” is the sort of film you’ll want to watch with a drunken crowd of your friends. It’s short enough to keep your attention and bad enough to fuel your own commentary track every single minute of its run-time.