Review in a Hurry: Stuff a bunch of Maxim centerfolds into your Xbox and wire it to broadcast an ultimate fighting tournament on late-night cable. It'll look a lot like this gaudy screen take on the popular fight-sports-'n'-tight-shorts videogame.
The Bigger Picture: If sex and violence are the peanut butter and jelly of pop culture, this here's an action-soaked sammie made specially for gamer geeks with the crust—and by "crust" we mean "meaningful dialogue"—cut off. Like the popular Tecmo game title upon which it's based, DOA: Dead or Alive is a celebration of hyperacrobatic brawling and the ability of female characters to kick much ass in very little clothing. Unlike the videogame, the film also features C-list acting legend Eric Roberts…yesssss!
Mind you, who needs actors when you've got a platoon of buff FHM beauties, oiled-up personal trainers, a wicked CGI team and a preexisting plot that needn't make any sense in the first place? See, there's this secret Pacific island where all the planet's best fighters compete for big cash and international bragging rights. Between brutal (yet remarkably bloodless) martial arts showdowns, you might find these six-packed babes and beefy lugs playing beach volleyball, searching for a long lost brother, hot-tubbing, robbing a vault, or trying to woo one another with the subtlety of a pile-driver.
Even if you've never wrapped your thumbs around the console version, DOA offers a cast of fully empowered heroines you'll recognize—if not by the actors' faces, then by the proven archetypes. There's Kasumi (Devon Aoki), the solemn Asian warrior princess on a noble quest; Tina (Jaime Pressly), the Pam-styled blond bombshell who's prone to cussin'; and Christie, the slinky, cosmopolitan thief who looks and fights best in basic black.
Charlie's Angels 3 it ain't, but big up to director Corey Yuen (The Transporter) for crafting a splashy and appropriately trashy fighting flick that chicks can cheer for.
The 180—a Second Opinion: True-blue fans of the original game might take issue with some inconsistencies here. And while DOA's marriage of crackling action sequences and slo-mo bikini shots may be easy on the eyes and the cerebral cortex, isn't it more fun when you can work the controls yourself?