Monday, 18 February 2008

DOA: Dead or Alive


Directed by: Cory Yuen
Screenplay: J.F. Lawton and Adam & Seth Gross
Starring: Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance, Devon Aoki & Eric Roberts

The pure unadulterated fun that cinema can provide, especially action cinema, lets us escape the monotony and mundane of life for a couple of hours. Uncomplicated, sugar coated, eye candy cinema can help relieve stress and put a smile on our faces. Lots of stylized action, fights and daring do can be cathartic and help embellish the idea that we are all heroes inside, and that we could all kick butt if the situation required it. Cinema, despite what a lot of other critics may have you believe, does not always have to be plot driven, dense character studies (though there is nothing wrong with that genre) and can just simply provide adrenaline pumping kick ass entertainment. Combining pure unadulterated fun, eye candy visuals and lots of stylized action is what DOA: Dead or Alive does best. It mixes it up into a fast and frothy one hour and seventeen minutes that any bloke will find satisfying in some way. Because as the saying goes, it always helps to stuff your film full of bikini clad babes.

Anyone looking for a plot or that deep characterization is wasting their time and completely missing the point of DOA. In fact, with a film like DOA it’s pretty much redundant to mention plot and deep characterization and so therefore we shall concentrate on what the film does provide: lots of fights and bikini clad babes. Ok, so three hot babes (Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance and Devon Aoki) all skilled in various forms of fighting are recruited and flown to an island to take part in the combat competition, DOA. Joining them are some more hot babes and a few hot dudes in case there are any ladies watching this movie. What ensues is a series of one on one fights a la Mortal Kombat, as the fighters try to eliminate one another to get to the $10 million prize. However, it turns out the competition’s organizer, Donovan (Eric Roberts) has some other dastardly plans up his sleeve, so the hot female contestants must join together and use their fighting skills, and bikinis, to stop him and his never ending army of goons.

As a film that provides babes and fights, DOA does both exceptionally well. Jaime Pressly and Holly Valance stand out from the crowd of beauties not only for their looks but for bringing a bit of sass to their characters. Considering neither of them are natural fighters they also perform well in the fight scenes, both of them showing they can throw a mean kick. Hong Kong maestro, Cory Yuen is the man behind the camera and much like he did on his American film debut, The Transporter, makes the film and it non-fighters look good. The action is very stylized and meant to convey the moves from the video game on which the film is based . Despite most of the girls not being trained fighters, the action is still fluid, well shot and for the most part a joy to watch. There are a lot of wires and some doubling used but this all adds to the element of fantasy. Plus for all the non-fighters, the film still throws in some real fighters to spice up the action. Colin Chou (Flashpoint, Matrix 2 & 3), Kane Kosugi (Blood Heat, War) and Silvio Simac (Unleashed) all make appearances and bust a cool move or two. Mention must also go to Yuen and his team for keeping the action pretty much fluid and uncomplicated. The fashionable hyper editing in many a Hollywood film is mercifully toned down here, meaning we actually get to see the moves the characters pull off. Aoki’s bout with Simac is particularly entertaining as they throw one another through walls and every free standing piece of furniture around.

Definitely aimed at the teenage boy market, the film is stuffed with scantily clad babes where everyone is gorgeous and perfectly toned. There may be an alarming amount of gratuitous butt shots, cleavage shots and crotch shots but apparently this is all in keeping with the video game. So I’m told. There are also plenty of buff, shirtless dudes for the ladies. Special mention should also go to Eric Roberts, who does his bad guy routine with skill and menace and it’s always good to see him flexing his acting muscles in a film, even one with copious amounts of bikini clad babes.

Fun, fun, fun and more fun is what DOA is. The film looks good, the action looks good and the babes look good. Leave the cynicism at the door and sit back and enjoy the sugar rush this movie provides.

No comments: