Doom. Well, it didn’t suck, per se.
Perhaps I should start over. Doom. It features a cast of about seven people who are just itching to get their guts spilled by some clever animated creature from Mars or Hell or wherever these movie monsters typically arrive from. It’s not unlike the John Carpenter movie Ghosts of Mars in which strange ghosts from an abandoned Mars civilization somehow infect the living with zombie-ism; the plots aren’t similar, just their relative stupidity and attraction to guys like me who try to see the beauty in all things, not just panoramas from the lens of Akira Kurosawa.
There’s very little to criticize here, due to the nature of the type of film it is. Films derived from video games automatically get a general “pass go” by critics because they’re already assumed to be bad. From there it’s just a sliding scale of atrociousness. As levels go, Doom ranks a little below the “Average Bad” rating, but only because it is actually, when you break it down, rather boring and staid.
When bad things happen at a remote scientific research station on Mars (Isn’t Mars, and anything on it, by definition, remote? -Ed.) Sarge (The Rock) is called to assess and correct the situation. He and his elite Rapid Response Tactical Squad, hardened space Marines who probably did not graduate high school, are called in to neutralize the enemy, retrieve the Union Aerospace Corporation’s precious archeological data, and close off the space portal connecting Earth and Mars.
They arrive to find a space station nearly deserted, with several top level scientists missing and the lovely Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), sister to one of the Marines nicknamed the Reaper (Karl Urban), up to her eyeballs in disaster recovery plans.
Naturally, the bad things that go bump in the night quickly make a Reuben from the saurkraut Marines, leaving the two Grimms and Sarge to mop things up. Things take an interesting and unexpected turn in the last twenty minutes, but it’s not quite enough to change the fact that…it’s Doom. Let’s face it, the video games didn’t feature much in the way of story; this movie seems to be an homage of that fact, as its plot is about as thin as a cocaine-snorting Kate Moss.
And frankly, it doesn’t do enough with what it does offer. Excepting the opening five minute scene, we don’t see a baddie until an hour into the film, and then it’s lit like a black hole. The action is fairly tame, mostly unengaging, and in one particular stretch near the end of the second act, boring enough for me to take a look around the theatre for a few minutes, wondering when there’d be less chat and more splat.
The final act does give enough gore and mayhem to somewhat rectify the lame portion of the film, including a sweet five-minute romp from the first person perspective, a direct videogame-to-movie reference that had the audience chuckling and even elicited a few claps. This was definitely the highlight.
Just as all good things come to an end, so do mediocre things. Thank God for that. And thank God for DVD. This will make an fun, fast forward through the boring stuff rental.
Fringe Rating: out of 5