Friday, September 21, 2007

D.O.A.: DEAD OR ALIVE

I really enjoyed the fightin' femme flick D.O.A. DEAD OR ALIVE (2006). It's based on a video game, so anyone who goes into this expecting high art or even a coherent, rational narrative is just setting themselves up for disappointment. The plot – what little there is – is concisely described by one of the producers in the "Making Of" featurette as "CHARLIE'S ANGELS meets ENTER THE DRAGON," and that's pretty much all of it. But, you know, it's fun.

The world's top fighters are invited to the island of a man named Donovan (Eric Roberts) to compete in a martial arts tournament. Before long, though, Donovan's evil plans are exposed and several of the competitors - the hottest ones, natch' - must unite to fight him. That's it.

Directed by Hong Kong action director Corey Yuen, whose multitude of credits include the quintessential Michelle Yeoh/Cynthia Rothrock ass-kicker, YES MADAM, and the entertaining (and underrated) SO CLOSE, D.O.A. is pure, mindless entertainment. Yuen is best-known as a martial arts choreographer on various Jet Li and Jason Statham films, so you know that the action scenes are extremely well executed. But more than that, they're filled with humor, and even characterization – no two characters in this movie fight the same.

The film is pure eye candy, with the largest cast of bikini-clad butt-kickin' babes since Andy Sidaris passed away. Devon Aoki, the ninja hooker from SIN CITY, and statuesque siren Jaime Pressly are the main stars, and both acquit themselves nicely, managing to create likable characters out of the cyphers they've been given to play. Eric Roberts is a suitably campy villain, and Kane Kosugi, the son of 80's "ninja" star, Sho Kosugi, does his father proud as one of the few male fighters.

The Dimension DVD features a sharp 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby 5.1 audio. Supplemental features include a behind the scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer.

It's dumb, loud, flashy, and fast, and I enjoyed it a lot. Even my wife liked it. From the description I've given in this review, you probably already know if its your slice of cheesecake. It's sure mine.

BUY: D.O.A. - Dead or Alive