Most video game movies are horrible because they take the familiar characters and create a half-baked storyline for them. D.O.A., however, suffers from an almost religious devotion to source materials that, when taken out of a fighting game context, is blatantly silly and irrational. Between the feudal ninja politics, the disgruntled wrestler and her obsessive dad and the abrupt shift from a martial arts tournament to beach volleyball, even hardcore fans of the game will have trouble taking this movie seriously.

The over-the-top action sequences one would expect from the director of The Transporter are overshadowed by the feeling that this was intended to be a made-for-TV miniseries. This is emphasized by the numerous cuts that feature the movie’s logo and several montages of still images, both of which give the feeling that the movie is breaking for a commercial.

Storyline aside, the Chinese locales add the gorgeous scenery to the intense fight scenes that fans of the games have grown to love. The fights themselves are well choreographed and, surprisingly, include actual signature moves and fighting styles for each of the characters. Plus, of course the movie captures the games’ signature obsession with well-endowed women kicking butt.

The DVD itself is a bit lacking in bonus features, but the “making of” documentary is arguably more interesting than the movie. Still, one would hope for at least a commentary track by Eric Roberts.

Grade: C-

D.O.A. Dead or Alive will be available Sept. 11.