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DOA: Dead or Alive
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie (based on the same-named video game) is full of incessant, mostly mindless action (though not too much blood), much of which seems to be designed to showcase girls in bikinis and underwear. In fact, there's a fair amount of sex-related content for a movie aimed at kids -- including brief profile shots of a woman's breasts, characters embracing and flirting in bed, the assumption that two women are lesbians, and more. There's also some implied drinking, as well as several uses of words like "s--t," "ass," and "hell."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE follows a grueling competition on a heavily-guarded island overseen by the odious Donovan (Eric Roberts). Ninja princess Kasumi (Devon Aoki) overcomes a courtyard full of warriors in order to find out the truth about her martial arts-star brother, who vanished at the last DOA contest. Professional wrestler Tina (Jaime Pressly) knocks out a crew of pirates who arrogantly think they can take on a pretty girl sunning herself on her yacht. And assassin-thief Christie (Holly Valance) takes out a squad of thugs in suits, then almost gets away with the loot until she's thwarted by her boyfriend/rival Max (Matthew Marsden).
Is it any good?
Directed by respected martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE is a series of fight scenes strung together by a pretense of a plot. Video games aren't renowned for yielding complex movie characters, and in keeping with such low expectations the three primary girls in show lots of skin and little in the way of motive or deep thinking. The girls don't so much bond as admire one another's skills, which they all flaunt frequently. Only one non-girl opponent stands out, Zack (Brian J. White), who is outsmarted by Tina despite the deliriously low IQ levels of all participants.
The plot, such as it is, includes some rudimentary familial tensions: Tina fights with her father (also a pro wrestler); Kasumi believes her brother is not dead, as has been reported; and good girl (and competitor) Helena (Sarah Carter) suspects that her uncle Donovan is up to no good. Like, duh.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about video game-based movies. What's their appeal? What do they have in common? Why do you think filmmakers want to adapt video games? What sorts of plots or characters do they provide? Does this movie's story work better on the big screen or on a console? Why? What audience do you think it's trying to attract?
- In theaters: June 15, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: September 11, 2007
- Cast: Devon Aoki, Eric Roberts, Jaime Pressly
- Director: Andrew Adamson
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: pervasive martial arts and action violence, some sexuality and nudity.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.