Peppered with much action, this adaptation of Tecmo's best-selling videogame franchise is shameless, contrived fluff geared primarily to pubescent males.
DOA may not be dead on arrival from the filmmakers standpoint, though the marketing for it has been more problemsome than other ill-fated genre items, like "The Condemned".
The haphazard plotting concerns the convocation of the best of fighters around the globe at some remote island for the annual Dead or Alive competition. Donovan, Eric Roberts of National Security, has something sinister up his sleeve as the contenders have their own issues to work out.
Jamie Pressly (Torque) leads the tough-girl empowerment as Tina, not happy to be up against her pro-wrestler father (Kevin Nash). Devon Aoki (Sin City) is Kasumi out to find her missing brother (Collin Chou) while watching his best friend (Kane Kosugi) and an unctuous assassin (Natassia Malthe). Also, there is Christie (Holly Valance) who's in with a fellow participant (Matthew Marsden) out to clean out Donovan and an heiress (Sarah Carter).
The director, Corey Yuen, known for streaking vehicles like The Transporter, works with his crew to choreograph the mayhem with feeling for the starlets and the spunky attitude they project. It helps that they are lightly-clad even during some volleyball. Crazy humor and romantic sidestories surface as something more perilous and mysterious threatens the competition.
So, to enjoy the preposterous in many a setting, from temples, long stairway, rafts, and shaky scaffolding, one must buy into the implication of the hard-boiled and innuendo. It's about the bodaciousness of Pressly, Aoki, and Valance as split-screens, freeze-frames, slow-motion, and close-ups are integrated with underwhelming digitization and plenty of wire work.
DOA may be fun in a Charlie's Angels way, but its cheesy nature is more matinee than primetime.