Hey folks, Harry here... Quint's been very up beat about Universal's DOOM... For me, I'm anxious to see DOOM, if for no other reason than that's the film that'll have the new KING KONG trailer. Heh. BUT... This review is quite positive and seems to indicate that we have a really cool movie coming... unless you go here and read that review which calls the film the worst film ever. Well, you know... some people like anchovies. Here ya go...
Hey guys, last week I found myself sitting among the whooping, soda-guzzling, acne-ridden ranks of diehard video game fans at a screening of Doom, and reckoned you might like a review. Universal have been lying low on this one and I?ve been so curious to see how it turns out. I should declare from the outset I?m a gamer but I?ve never played Doom, so I didn?t know which parts were faithful and which were theatrical embellishments. The excitement before the lights went down at Mann?s Chinese last Friday was palpable ? people were cheering and summoning their best monster roars and the mood in the theatre was great. After crashing bores like The Cave and the lamentably poor Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the horror-action genre needed a kick up the ass and it gets one here, and then some.
The story takes place mostly on a Martian research station called Olduvai where scientists are trying to unlock the final 10% of the human genome pattern. They?ve been injecting human guinea-pigs with C24 ? a 24th chromosome pair ? and things have gone horribly awry. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak ? the Polish cinematographer who directed Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 The Grave ? propels us straight into the action with a heart-pounding pre-title sequence in which terrified scientists flee through a warren of dimly-lit corridors from a monster that we never see but hear. Oh we hear it alright. In the final scene a trapped scientist sends an SOS while something very angry on the other side smashes a huge dent into the metal door that separates them. Wide-eyed with horror, the researcher stares back as that dent gets bigger and bigger and then we cut to black. The Universal logo comes up, but instead of emblazoning the studio?s name over a revolving planet earth they do it over Mars. Bingo! Love that stuff ? just like the way the Warner Bros logo is presented in black and white for their scary stuff.
To cut a long story short, the Martian station is up shit creek without a paddle, and it?s up to an elite unit of soldiers led by The Rock to get down there, save the scientists and stake care of the nasty freaks that are creating mayhem. The team is a good one, with short and effective introductions to each character so we care about them and get pissed off when they meet their grisly fate. The Rock?s Sarge is a tough-as-nails commander who plays by the book and does some things that skirt the borders of morality, in stark contrast to Karl Urban?s Reaper, who is really the movie?s heart. Not sure why someone called The Kid is in the team ? he looks 12 years old and is far too wimpy to get into an elite fighting unit, but there has to be a lamb in every team and he?s it.
The team travels to Olduvai via a neat teleporter on earth and the way it?s been realized is very cool. Each person has to leap into a portal that resembles a highly unstable blob of mercury, which then zips them over to Mars, and when they arrive you see guys puking up ? clearly this ride isn?t for the faint-hearted. The cavernous underground interior of Olduvai is impressive. The sets is comprised of metallic gangways and dark rooms ? just how I imagine the game might look. It?s a very foreboding environment and Bartkowiak deliberately keeps things visually obscure, which combines with the ominous sound mix to disorient us and feel the soldiers? anxiety as they patrol the labyrinth.
They discover scientists who were trapped underground and didn?t escape the monsters. Some are dead, some alive, but there?s something very wrong with them. I won?t give anything more away about this. Safe to say, when the action kicks off and the soldiers finally encounter their foes, it?s alarming. The underlying tension between the soldiers is well portrayed as the mission morphs into a desperate fight for survival, and the crucial rivalry between Sarge and Reaper develops well. What I liked about Doom is that nothing is overdone. Bartkowiak and his crew have created a world with its own rules and there?s no need to overstate them. As the script gradually reveals the full extent of what the scientists were trying to do on Olduvai, so the rules of the game become clear. The mission is simply stated, the problems are clearly illustrated, and the moral conundrum plays out within these guidelines to strong effect.
There?s some good weaponry here, but again it doesn?t go over the top. When we get to see The Rock wield an advanced weapon it?s memorable. There are great fight scenes and the element of surprise is always fresh. The famous FPS scene that was unveiled at Comicon is very intense indeed ? definitely worth the wait because fans will be cheering it throughout. All in all this is a superior genre title and I reckon Universal has a hit on its hands. It should be more aggressive with the marketing campaign ? NOW is the time to pepper the networks with TV spots and ramp things up. The movie is slated for release on Oct 21 and goes against counter-programmers like Shopgirl, Dreamer and North Country. Doom will clear up that weekend and the ending leaves plenty of opportunity for a sequel. Lock and load!!