DOA: Dead or Alive
Directed by Corey Yuen
DOA: Dead or Alive is not a movie. It is not a video game. It is a music video. A ninety minute music video with no discernable song (except maybe “I like the way you move” as it is used during one montage.) But you don’t need a song, you just need lots of women bouncing around in micro-clothes, and dozens of action sequences with posing shots. Actually, there is a movie a lot like this one, but instead of just being mindless action, Hero went a step farther and goes all commie in the end. DOA goes all “Let’s be friends!” and then goes back to sword-wielding chicks in spandex. That’s not to say DOA is any good. However, I was expecting it to be so horrible, that when it turned out to be passable I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I’ll never watch it again, but there are many films I won’t be watching again, for I don’t have the time. Speaking of Hero, several of the scenes here are directly lifted from that film, as well as movies such as Crouching Tiger, Kill Bill, and Charlie’s Angels. Just part of the flash in the pan fun of DOA. But the imitations are not complete nor memorable on their own, giving another reason why there is little value in rewatching this film.
DOA: Dead or Alive is based on a series of video games, fighting video games mostly. These games have plots, as much of plots as fighting games can have, and the film chooses to ignore much of it. As I have never played the game nor care about the original story, it is not a big deal to me, but I remember a few people making a big stink when this came out. As some people complain about everything, they were easily ignored. They probably would have attacked the Q*Bert cartoon had it aired while they were alive. One of the main drawing points of the video games is the many teenage girls that bounce around and jiggle while beating the crap out of gigantic opponents. DOA games also spawned the ridiculous DOA Extreme Volleyball games, where you watch the female characters run around on an island, playing mini-games and buying ever-more revealing bikinis for the girls. Obviously a game for very lonely men. Fan service triumphed and there was plenty of volleyball in the DOA movie, but as they are real girls I am not complaining.
The movie plot itself is ludicrous. The DOA tournament is held, which randomly invites the world’s greatest fighters by some sort of flying invitation/blade that always seems to invite people just after a cool action sequence. They are then set against each other for a $10 million prize, but organizer Donovan may have another agenda. Realistic? Of course not, but much of this movie is not, so no bother. Luckily, some Wikipedia nerd has chosen to tell us that one of the major factual errors in the film is that a ninja clan would not be staffed by hundreds of armed soldiers. He seems not to have taken issue with the nanobot/magic sunglasses technology, which should tell you something about Wikipedia. The biggest flaw he found in a movie that opens with a girl fly-walking over hundreds of troops, diving off a sword, flying over a wall, ripping off her clothes to reveal a backpack, which opens to reveal a hang glider, and gets an invitation to the DOA tournament thrown at her by someone who was watching all this. But, yeah, too many armed guards for a ninja clan. Thanks Asperger McVirgin! People with too much time on their hands aside, the film is rife with several other problems, most noticeably the fact no one seems to get any injury at all, despite constantly being punched and thrown through walls. Hardly a bruise is to be found. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a paper cut. This would spoil all the fun, so just ignore the lack of wounds and go with it. Director Corey Yuen is a Hong Kong import, best known in the US for The Transporter, but best known to me for So Close.