Sunday, November 05, 2006

DOA: Dead or Alive

Whoever Floats Your Boat

When my friend and I saw the poster for this, we simultaneously said we were going to watch it when it gets released. It actually took me this long to get down to it, given schedules and the likes. Five beautiful babes on screen, and it took me more than a week to view it? Something must not be right you say?

Yes, this movie is as guilty a trip as Crank, only to have one action hero replaced by five from the opposite sex. Other than the girls on screen, everything else is a yawn, and the fights, full of wire stunts and computer assisted imagery, are so juvenile and basic, with nothing sophisticated to wow you.

In short, the story is brutally simple, based on the formula storyline of a group of fighters journeying to some mysterious island where the best of the best gather for some slugfest. Hey, even Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon was something of a similar premise, but that's a classic in itself. What rang closer to DOA is another earlier, inspired also by a video game, called Mortal Kombat. Like MK, DOA plays out exactly like a game, with fights ending with printed KOs, and filled with plenty of one-fight characters who seem to disappear from the story whether or not they win or lose. They're quickly forgotten anyhow, with almost zero special powers like those in MK to leave any memorable impression.

Which brings us to the chicks, the primary stars of the movie. Holly Valance helms the group in her big screen debut, as Christie Allen the beautiful jewel thief (yes, that's her fighting sans bra, but the camera just had to be in the way for a PG rating). Jaime Pressly stars as wrestler Tina Armstrong, Sarah Carter as Helena Douglas, daughter of the founder of DOA, Natassia Malthe as Ayane, who incidentally starred in another comic book inspired flop Elektra as Typhoid Mary, and last but not least, freckled face Devon Aoki as some hokey Japanese princess Kasumi. With so many girls on screen, it gave director Corey Yuen plenty of excuses for close ups and flaunting of various assets.

But wait, what of the guys you say? There are 3 notables. The first is Colin Chou, who had some other kungfu movies under his belt - as Huo Yuanjia's father in Fearless, and Seraph in the Matrix sequels. Here, he stars as the ultimate best of the best fighter Hayate, who incidentally is Kasumi's sister. MK alumni Robin Chou makes an appearance too, as a pirate in a minor role. Eric Roberts, the other notable in the movie rooting from the side of the guys, is chief baddie, but one who is devoid of good acting and really lousy fighting skills.

What's the plot you may ask? If you try to look for one, it's about each of the characters in the DOA island having their own agenda for accepting the invite. Kasumi's in it to look for her lost brother Hayate, Christie's in it to steal the 10 million dollars prize money, Tina wants to prove herself as a serious fighter, and the list goes on. Do we really care? Absolutely not. In less than 90 minutes, we see them flit from one scene in the next, backed by techno music, in a loophole filled story. Even the diabolical plot hatched is inspired by Batman Forever's Edward Nygma (The Riddler), which is of course, a bore. Oh, and miraculously, almost every girl in DOA manage to romance a little while kicking butt.

My favourite scene is apparently not any of the fight scenes, but one featuring beach volleyball. No prizes if you managed to guess why, and perhaps, the only scene in the movie worth the price on a weekday.

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