Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where we’re back on track just in time to call it quits! We’re ending strong with a personal favorite, 2006’s surprisingly enjoyable video game feature DOA: Dead or Alive.
What’s The Plot?
Expert martial artists, predominantly very attractive young women, from around the world are invited to a secluded island to participate in the DOA tournament for a chance to win a cool $10 million dollars. However, it turns out that the eccentric millionaire scientist (with private island money) sponsoring the event has ulterior motives (who’d a thunk it?) and the gorgeous lady fighters will have to discover the power of teamwork and friendship to kick his ass.
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Dimension Films, based on the video game series of the same name. While it seems to have been intended for greatness, it only ever played in 505 movie theaters and died a quick death at the box office. Which is a shame, because it’s actually pretty fun.
Five Reasons to See It
- The video games it is based on is somewhat infamous for its jiggleriffic eye candy characters, and the film reflects that by focusing the story on eye-candy female fighters. As a consequence of this, the film easily passes both the Bechdel and Sexy Lamp tests and features more women kicking more butt than 90% of action movies. So…hurray for objectification, I guess?
- There’s a beach volleyball sequence, in tribute to the Dead or Alive Xtreme spin-off from the fighting games which features…attractive characters in swimsuits playing beach volleyball.
- Eric Roberts, father of Emma and brother of Julia, hams it up as main villain Victor Donavan. He’s the perfect fit for a bad guy who steals martial arts skills using a pair of high tech sunglasses.
- The movie goes out of its way to capture the feel of a tournament fighter video game, having the fights take place in strange locations across DOA Island and showing several short fights for colorful characters who have zero influence on the plot. It does the tournament thing better than any other fighting game movie (except for Tekken).
- “The Best Movie Adaptation of a Video Game So Far” – pull quote on the box, which is the faintest of praise seeing as this flick came out during Uwe Boll’s reign of terror.
DOA: Dead or Alive is a silly, campy, over-the-top piece of cinematic fluff that doesn’t take itself seriously and is thoroughly enjoyable. It is exactly the kind of film that a fighting game series with a canonical beach volleyball spin-off deserves, and succeeds where most video game movies fail specifically by being pure fun.
NEXT WEEK: As stated at the top, 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend is going on indefinite hiatus. In its stead, you’ll be getting Tokusatsu Gesundheit!