film | Chortle kombat
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE — and holy crap, there is a solid metric ton of ridiculousness in this movie — turns out to be its title. An invite-only fighting tournament summons the best brawlers from all over the world — among them, our heroines: scantily-clad babes with what my uncle would refer to as "bodacious ta-tas" — to a top-secret island compound, and you might think, based on the Dead or Alive part, that the losers and winners would very appropriately be determined by, y'know, who's dead and who's alive at the end of each round. But no, this Kombat ain't Mortal: Victory goes to the dude or lady who merely knocks out his or her opponent first. A pox on that pesky PG-13 rating! Actually, make that a double-pox, as DOA skimps equally on both the gratuitous violence and the gratuitous nudity that usually come attached to kind of Z-grade exploitation cheeseball, which means that broken limbs and inventive deaths are supplanted by the fakey wire-fu acrobatics of the Charlie's Angels films, and any and all bodacious ta-tas are kept snugly in form-fitting attire; it's like one of Andy Sidaris' tits-and-bandoliers action flicks from late-night Skinemax in the mid-1990s got edited for prime-time television.
At least two of the foxy fisticuffettes — My Name Is Earl's Jaime Pressly, the "superstar wrestler," and Aussie pop star Holly Valance, the "assassin and master thief" — seem fully aware that they're wading through campy garbage, but director Cory Yuen (The Transporter) forgot to prod Sin City's wooden Devon Aoki, the "shinobi ninja princess" (that translates as "ninja ninja princess"), into tossing a wink or nine into such goofy lines as "He says Leon killed Hayate above the Buddha head" and "I am not a cricket in a box!" Eric Roberts is cast the villain, of course, a psycho moneybags who secretly injects the gals with nanobots that upload their fierce fight moves directly to his designer Wayfarers. I guess it doesn't need to be explicitly said that DOA is based on a popular video game, and, well, you try to go easy on a brainless jigglefest that's this brazen about catering to preteen boys and their joysticks. C-