DOA: Dead Or Alive (2006)

(On DVD, June 2008) Bikinisploitation, anyone? As excuses go to show bikini-clad good-looking young women doing martial arts scenes, this film is as good as it needs to be: The visuals are slick, the action scenes are fun, the plot reaches a decent clever/dumb balance. It’s based on a series of video games (including a bouncy-bouncy volleyball spin-off that does make it in the film), but you don’t need to be a gamer to appreciate the way the film consciously goes for PG-13 titillation. No one bleeds, no one shows more skin than a bikini allows, everyone gets to throw a few kung-fu kicks (which must be tougher than you think in bare feet) and there’s little left to do but cheer in bemused satisfaction. The featured actresses aren’t all equally compelling (Devon Aoki: Yes. Generic blondes? No.) but at least director Cory Yuen manages to keep things hopping with dynamic editing, relatively rapid fight sequences and a few beautiful shots here and there. Here’s a safe prediction if you happen to see this film with a group: The guys will like it and the girls will be bored.

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