Get out your fighting moves and beach volleyballs! We're reviewing DOA: Dead or Alive!
For some reason, I was under the impression this was a Uwe Boll film, which would have been quite a dilemma since his movies are the very definition of terrible, and this one is pretty good. Thankfully, he had nothing to do with this production, which explains why it's surprisingly not that bad.
Based on the popular Xbox videogame, a group of various fighters from around the world and of diverse fighting styles are gathered to fight each other in a tournament called Dead or Alive (which is strange because no one really dies in this) to play for a huge cash prize. They soon learn, however, that the owner has more devious intentions behind his bringing them all together.
If you've ever played any of the games, you'll be astounded as to how well they portrayed most of the material. Tina, Christina, Bass, and even Zack look exactly like their gaming counterparts. I mean, they have Zack. Do you know what Zack looks like?! This (They unfortunately don't have him wearing his glowing dildo costume). It looks like they have most of the cast from the games, but, disappointingly, they only spend time on a handful of fighters, and if you're a stickler, they probably could have gotten closer to each of their fighting styles. But seriously, they have a varied group of fighters in a ridiculous tournament, fighting with overly stylized moves. This movie could have turned out a lot worse.
They even have a beach volleyball scene! That's how ridiculous and accurate this movie is, that they paid oddly accurate homage to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. The fighting is fun and silly, and I semi-enjoyed the crazy cinematography. The soundtrack is catchy and fun in a super cheeseball kind of way, just like you'd expect to find in a fighting game. They have Bodyrockers' "I Like the Way You Move" set to a montage of the fighters in their underwear. Even the sound effects are hammed-up. At one point, Leon flexes his muscles while the movie makes gun reloading sounds. This is a thing that actually happens.
The rest of the movie is ridiculous in the bad, generic sort of way. There are some bland storylines about a princess looking for her brother, budding romances between fighters, and an evil scientist that wants to control stuff, and no one really cares. You'd think the whole tournament thing would be story enough. It's accompanied by some crap-awful acting and it almost ruins it with it's genericness, but then gets saved with its flatout, balls-to-the-wall-ridiculousness. Kevin Nash as Bass and Jaime Pressly as Tina Armstrong are my favorites.
This is one of those movies in which "things just happen for no reason" is the reason for things happening. Sometimes, it's incredibly dumb and other times it's just amazing. It's really a judgement call. If you go into it expecting the awful, you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you get.
THE GOOD: Ridiculous fighting, a catchy soundtrack, an almost-so-awful-it's-good story, and overall, a pretty good representation of the videogame.
THE BAD: It's an awful movie.
OVERALL: This is the perfect movie to watch with friends while drinking and laughing your asses off.
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: **SPOILER ALERT** I hate to spoil this amazing bit of ridiculousness, but I just have to talk about it. Within the first five minutes of the movie, we see Princess Kasumi praying in a temple. Hayate comes to tell her that her brother is dead. There is some back and forth about how she can't leave the temple and if she does, they have to kill her (WTH?). She then runs out of the temple, out of her kingdom, and jumps off a huge cliff, because apparently, their entire kingdom lives on the top of a mountain. She then opens up her kimono to reveal A HANG-GLIDER STRAPPED TO HER BACK! Was she wearing that the whole time?! How long had she been preparing to leave? Is that acceptable ninja wear for her kingdom? Are there really no stairs?! It's awesome how it opens up all of these questions and never answers even one of them.