Courtesy of www.moviexclusive.com/review/DOA/deadoralive.htm
The Xbox generation has apparently been conclusively unmasked as rabid fanboys of scantily clad, butt-kicking CGI babes with gravity defying mammary glands. First Tomb Raider captured the imaginations of young men unseen since the likes of Farrah Fawcetts swimsuit poster and the ensuing (cat)calls for a live-action movie was finally heeded. But unfortunately, the result was less than flattering and never really lived up to the fantasy instilled in many a mans mind. That could possibly be attributed to the handing over of the reins to people that had no idea, or any business trying to execute the sort of reverie that most of its fans wanted from Miss Croft and her famed ass-ets.
Now the treatment of DOA: Dead or Alive is simple. Cute girls. Big breasts. Bouncing. Kung-fu tournament. The elements are also straightforward and are seemingly being well taken care of with self-acknowledged pop culture transposer, Paul W.S. Anderson of the Resident Evil movies as producer and Corey Yuen, topdog action choreographer as its principle director. You really know where the films loyalties lie within its racy jokes and risqu wardrobes.
The suitably no-fuss plot brings together voluptuous women (Jaime Pressley, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter) from different parts of the world, each with their own individual technical skill set in order to compete in a tournament held on a picturesque island controlled by the shadowy Dr Donovan (Eric Roberts) who has a nonsensical scheme worthy of Dick Dastardlys seal of approval.
As a strong suit, this adaptation translates flawlessly onto the screen, which is also perhaps its weakest point by some regards. The actresses, beautiful as they are, do not share the charisma they so obviously have and makes them no more interesting than their digitally rendered counterparts. Theres no pretense of campy fun as everyone takes themselves seriously, ironically bringing upon itself some cheeseball fun in the process. Along with strong shades of Kill Bill-esque scenarios and Mortal Kombats island tournament one-on-one battles (which Anderson directed), it also has a strong penchant for behind-closed-doors sort of suggestive teasing to keep the barn door raised just high enough for adolescents to crawl through with joysticks in hand.
The action sequences are stupendously shot with its mise en scne using bits and pieces from the preceding games and plays a part in the action, making it much more than just the scenery its performers routinely chew on. Often resembling the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions photo-shoot gone catty, the pennant of victory is usually awarded to the fighter without much blood or gore. Its more concerned with the fluidity of its fighters, the torrent of body blows and the improbable athleticism of its female marionettes as wires carry them across rooms without factoring the weight of their costumes padding. Thats the angle the film has taken much like the games where the bouncy bits were ceaseless novelties that gradually started to become the franchises main focus. The males in this are understandably without any interesting insights as well, coming across as brutish, misogynistic letches that get their jaws inevitably handed to them in the apogee.
Much like the antipodal suggestion of its title, the trumpeted audacity of its concept will find itself being used repeatedly when its final box office results finally turn up at the end of its theatrical run. And whether the juvenile sexuality and blatantly glorified action theatrics polarises its fair share of advocates and its significant numbers of bellicose critics also seems unavoidable. But you can call me fanboy, for Im entirely ready to buy into its gleefully unapologetic jiggle extravaganza.
Now I know this isn't the type of movie that generally appeals to us but the sheer surprise I had with this movie experience left me wanting to share it. I guess it does pay to be cynical.