A number of fighters are invited to DOA "Dead or Alive", an invitational martial arts contest. The four female fighters begin as rivals, but work together to uncover the secret Donovan the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.
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DOA certainly won't be winning any Academy Awards, but, then again, that's not what movies like this are meant for. They are meant to entertain, and I found DOA to be extremely entertaining. As far as movies based on video games, DOA actually stands high above most of the drek that's been cobbled together and marketed to it hardcore fan base... only to disappoint them.
In the same vein as the few standouts, in my opinion Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill, and the Resident Evil films, DOA does exactly what it set to do... Which is to bring all the cool stuff you love about a particular game to life... in all the full motion, 3D, live action glory you could realistically hope for.
First off, the game DOA is a fighting game, so the fights need to be good. And they're not just good, many of them stand out as great fight scenes. They're well choreographed, nicely filmed, good stunts and effects, good variety... and oh yeah, there's a heck of a lot of them. Way more fight scenes than even Mortal Kombat had.
Another plus of the game that translated well to the film, and that the marketing did not fail to capitalize on at all, is the roster of gorgeous female warriors. Sexy, hot, and bad ass, the gals of DOA do not disappoint. They even take it a step farther, often wearing outfits from the game (which are classic unlockables to fans of the game), and even pulling off signature fighting moves straight from the game's move list! Very cool.
For true fans of the DOA universe, there is even an awesome beach volleyball scene. It could have been disastrously ridiculous, but they pull it off so well, you can't help but love it.
But, there has to be a downside, I guess. And it's not the story. The story is just there to have a reason for all the fighting, but it actually isn't bad. Yes, you've seen this story before... All the world's greatest martial artists assembled for a top secret tournament on a mysterious island where there just might be an ulterior motive. But again, they pull it off with just enough tongue-in-cheek that it really works.
However, some of the hottie cast that they found to flesh out the DOA characters seem to have a real problem with the whole acting thing. Yeah, they look awesome flashing a katana and some cleavage, but when they speak... Not just the women, either. The dialogue for this movie passes rapidly between good, okay, and f'n cheesy... and it just seems all the worse when some of the actors seem to be reading it off of cue cards.
But then a fight breaks out, and you'll forget all about it. Fun movie.
Oh, and Helena is SO freakin' hot.