Hey folks, Harry here... One of the things I love about AICN is when two people that are friends can attend the exact same screening but see two movies incredibly different from one another. Massawyrm's review is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum from mine, which is going up momentarily. Is he wrong? No, he just approached the film from a different point of view that I did. Of the two of us, he's the one that's met and kiss assed with The Rock. But even that didn't give him wood during this film. But know - if you go to see DOOM, there's a chance this is how you'll react.
Hola all. Massawyrm here. Doom. Oh dear god, where do I start? I guess the fact that the film opened with the trailer for Jarhead and its jarring tagline ‘Welcome to the suck’ should have been a sign. Suck indeed. This movie belongs in a very special category of suck reserved for such classics as Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Alien Versus Predator and Blade Trinity. I mean, why they didn’t just hand this project over wholesale to Paul W.S. Anderson is beyond me. It would have been the same fucking film. That’s how amazingly craptastic this film was. Hell, I guess Universal felt one Paul W.S. Anderson and one Uwe Boll in the world wasn’t enough. They needed one more. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the new man tearing apart your favorite video games – Andrzej Bartowiak, a director with such masterpiece works of filmmaking under his belt as Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave.
Now I can’t take Andrzej Bartowiak completely to the mat. As a cinematographer he did a masterful job on such films as 13 Days, Devil’s Advocate and Falling Down, as well as lensing a whole slew of really good (and yes a few bad) films. But as a director, he has joined the ranks of that special group of people that should have stayed cinematographers.
Doom isn’t so much a bad film as it is a pathetic film. It’s just sad. The character development is dismally weak, the storyline is but a retread of a retread of a retread and the dialog is so bad it gets yours eyes rolling often enough to induce vertigo. But you don’t care about that, do you? You want action. You want aliens and zombies exploding in fantastic fashion and you don’t give a flaying rats ass about any of that bullshit. Well, good fucking luck my friend, because the action here is some of the lamest, overdone, guitar driven drivel to grace the screen in recent years. Weighed down by its own attempts at being cute, it throws any and every reference to the video game humanly possible at you, trying to convince you that it is its own original concept. Of course, it does so as it begins to descend into a hellish pit of clichÃ© that doesn’t just seem to blatantly rip off other films, it almost parodies them.
Now discussing this film without talking about Aliens is virtually impossible. Let’s face it – Doom, Halo, Resident Evil – they’re all video game adaptations of James Cameron’s masterpiece of a Sci/fi sequel. Someone has discovered/created something that could make a powerful weapon, it’s gotten loose in a facility, killed everyone there and it’s up to highly trained, heavily armed “Marines” to go in and neutralize the threat. As videogames, this concept, while derivative, works. But when translating those concepts back to film you have to know that you are simply remaking one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, and if you’re going to make it, god damnit, you better make it better. You’ve got almost 20 years of technology on Cameron’s effort, surely you can make something at least vaguely comparable. But no. Once again Aliens has been remade, and this time it sucks the hair right off my sack – strand by fucking strand.
Sure, they give it the old college try. The writers really try to ratchet up the tension by throwing some interesting character twists at the audience and going places films of this type rarely, if ever, go – and I’ll give them a smidge of credit for that. Unfortunately their interesting ideas are marred by their inability to develop interesting characters and their disastrous attempts at dialog. “Semper Fi, Mother fucker?” “Now that’s a big fucking gun?” Oh Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker. What I would have given to be put down myself as this film dragged on to its incredibly dull conclusion.
And did I mention how boring it is? Dear god, this movie tries to jump right into the action, only to deliver the most unimaginative shot structure, set design and a pace that takes tedium to a whole new level. You don’t care one iota about a single character, hell you barely get to know anything but their names (ingeniously relayed to us by the talking guns that serve to try to convince us that they’re not the same exact fucking guns from Aliens), and there’s zero reason to ever be interested. Interesting characters? Zero. Interesting kills? Zero. Interesting monsters? Zero. Interesting situations? One. Interesting development of said situations? Zero. Never was I intrigued, never did I care, never did I want to see anything developed that they presented. And despite how loud the soundtrack was, despite the rapid gunfire, despite the alt/rock guitars kicking in with all the utility of a 70’s wah-wah detective show guitar, all I wanted to do was sleep. I wanted to curl up and sleep through this mindless foray into been-there-done-that, but I couldn’t. I mean, it couldn’t continue to get worse, could it? Oh yes. It could, and it did.
Now every negative review is gonna say it and I’ve got to contest it here – the first person sequence, the four minutes this film will go down in history for, turns out not to be like watching one of your buddies play Doom on his PS2. On the contrary, I’ve had fun watching my buddies play Doom on their PS2. This was retarded. Absolutely retarded. More akin to sitting on a tram taking you through a mechanical haunted house, the audience is treated to a series of seemingly animatronic monsters popping out of nowhere to be blown apart by our seemingly soulless hero. Yes, it’s there for homage, yes it’s there give much love to the medium that spawned the film - but that doesn’t make it a good idea. While certainly not as bad as it may seem, it becomes the movies most pathetic moment. It’s one of those sequences that could have been pointed to as the moment the film went off the rails, had it ever been on the rails to begin with.
Let’s face it. Videogame movies are stuck in the same age that superhero films were in the 90’s. They just ain’t working. Until they begin handing these franchises over to film makers who understand the medium and share an equal profound love and understanding of both film making and the videogames themselves, it’s just going to continue not to work. Keep handing it to guys who make schlock, and you’re going to get schlock. And that’s what Doom is – pure, unadulterated schlock. If schlock is your thing, rejoice! If you will giggle maniacally at the mere appearance of the BFG 9000 and the idea of Duane Johnson uttering “That’s a big fucking gun” then you’ll be in hog heaven. Doom will fit nicely in-between you’re Resident Evil Box set and your copy of Ewe Boll’s Alone in the Dark. Otherwise, it ain’t worth your time. It’s a mind numbing frontal lobotomy for the videogame nuts who desire nothing more than to say “Hu-yuk! The Rock done blown that monster up real good! You get ‘em sarge!”
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. I know I will.
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