DoA: Dead or Alive

Title: DoA: Dead or Alive
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Action
Starring: Holly Valence, Jaime Pressley, Devon Aoki

“[points to a sign] You don't understand. It's a sign.”

The first clue that this is not a serious film is given by the fact this is film based on a video game – a concept which rarely realistically works. A quick glance at the leading roles, two of which are ex-models, should cement the notion that if you’re looking for the faintest shred of realism, plot intricacy, or indeed anything other than ridiculous over-the-top stunts performed by talking breasts and witty one liners, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. But that – for me at least – is what action films should all be about. Something to shut off to, requiring no more thought than deciding what flavour skittle to eat next, and given this context it actually fares pretty well.

Unfortunately, they still cling to the notion that it needs a plot beyond ‘Fight Competition.’ They could have quite happily kept to the basic idea of a group of 100lb girls leaping 6ft into the air and beating the crap out of blokes built like tanks, and indeed for a good deal of the film they manage to create interesting fight scenes, even making room for a (perhaps obligatory) ‘volleyball’ match. Many of these fights, however, (particularly the early ones) were cut short to make way for the ending, featuring two separate sub-plots joining together at the end, one involving the theft of the prize money, and the other, the quest to discover what happened to the brother of one of the fighters. They both feel tacked on at the last minute, and with an ending so ridiculous (think ‘Power Sunglasses’), you rather wish they hadn’t bothered – it would have been better without it.

The acting is pretty awful, painfully so at times. The cringe-worthy English accent from Valence and the pointless pseudo-Yoda speech from Aoki going up there as the worst of them, though admittedly, Pressley was shockingly good (particularly where comical banter with her father was involved). Thankfully, speech is kept to a minimum, after all it’s the action scenes that are important, and with startling variety they were choreographed well, and succeed in keeping things fresh and interesting, more than compensating for the ‘dire-logue.’ This is by many measures, laughably bad, but it never had any pretence of being anything but. Leave your brain out of this one, just sit back and watch an array of ridiculous stunts being performed by attractive scantily clad women in various situations, with the odd bit of wit thrown in for good measure. It might be a bit shit, but at the end of day, it’s still pretty fun.

Oh, and just in case it wasn’t obvious by now, women should probably avoid this like the plague.

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