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A Very Different Review For Neal Marshall’s DOOMSDAY!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’m all for this. We ran a fairly scathing review from a test screening of DOOMSDAY, the new post-Apocalyptic thriller from Neal Marshall, director of DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT. I’m a fan of this guy’s work, and I am certainly hoping that it’s better than the last spy suggested. Evidently, someone else who saw this early test screening was unhappy with what they read here, and they sent in this report. I remain eager for our first look at the film sometime soon, hopefully:

Hi there Harry I've never written a review for this site before. Come to think of it I've never written a review before. Today I do so to correct what I see as a bit of disservice to the movie DOOMSDAY, which seems to be getting a pummelling from various 'spies'. I too have seen the film, and while I didn't think it was the second coming, it was a hell of a lot more fun than the previous reviewer has made out. Firstly I should say that I'm a fan of Marshall 's previous films DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT. But more importantly, to put this review in context, I'm a fan of early John Carpenter movies. More importantly, because this is what DOOMSDAY feels like. It's a 'movie-lover's' movie. It wont be for everyone and some of the jet black humour is likely to upset and alienate the casual viewer, but make no mistake.... It's great. I wont bother with too much of a synopsis as the previous reviewer all but re-enacted the film with glove puppets. A new category of 'spoiler' has been created just for him. It's all about what happens after Scotland (not on the border with London as previously thought) is quarantined when a deadly virus, The Reaper, begins it's seemingly unstoppable rampage across the country. Hadrian's wall is 'rebuilt' and Scotland is walled in, cut off from the rest of Britain . Years later a team, lead by Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) re-visits the hot-zone to find a cure for the virus after it reappears in London . Satellites have shown there is movement in the cities so maybe everyone isn't as dead as previously thought. No, it's not a '28 DAYS LATER' zombie movie. It turns out the survivors have an immunity that could have come from the mysterious Dr. Cain's 'cure'. What's more they've divided into rival gangs. Cue action scenes. Ok, first the good stuff. If you love 80s action movies then book your ticket for this baby now. Fans of the genre can look forward to a thrilling ride through their favourite films as Marshall 's grab bag style takes us from 'Mad Max' to 'Escape From New York', via 'The Warriors'. Much has been made of the similarity to 'Escape' in plot terms, but I had to chuckle a little when the graphics used to show the wall being erected were almost exactly the same as the ones Carpenter used in the 80s. This is what I think really works about 'DD'. Marshall credits you with some taste and expects you to have a knowing giggle as he throws film references your way with abandon. The action scenes themselves are fantastic. The introduction, which sees the orphaned Sinclair blinded in one eye, nearly brought a tear to mine. The climactic chase (which comes after a dizzying succession of set-pieces) feels like a scene from a Mad Max film you never saw. Car to car jumps. Flips and crashes. All done for real. Old school baby! That's right, none of that CGI business, just decent full on car stunts. And yes, it's better than 'DEATH PROOF'. The supporting cast are pretty good. Bob Hoskins has a small but useful role and some of the 'DOG SOLDIERS' crew pop up again. Best of these, by far, is the guy who played 'Spoon'.(can't remember his name) He plays a very different character, but gets some big laughs, especially at the end during the chase. McDowell is as hammy as ever, but what did you expect? He's been doing the same performance in every film from 'GENERATIONS' onwards. Still, Marshall knows how to use him. Siddig is great in another small role of the Prime Minister. The guy who plays the villain with a big mohican wasn't someone I recognised, and when he first appeared I thought he was going to be unbearable. However, he turned out to be one of the most fun characters. His scene dancing in front of the gangs in a futuristic style rave, being one of the film's highlights. Also there is an actress who has tattoos on her face playing his girlfriend. Not sure who this was, but for my money she stole the film, in a virtually silent role. The best thing about the movie is the direction. Marshall doesn't go for flashy Rob Zombie type, camera waving or BOURNE ULTIMATUM, wobbly, crash, bang, edit, wallop. Often the shots have TWO PEOPLE in them. Imagine that hey? Rather than giant close ups of the actors faces and hand held shaking, a film where you can actually see what's going on in the action scenes. It's this respect that brings it closest to being like a Carpenter movie. I don't dislike Rob Zombie or Ultimatum, but it's refreshing to see someone not just following the crowd. Now the bad stuff. The 'bad' in this film can be neatly summed up in two words. Rhona Mitra. The film calls for a strong lead. A female Snake Plisskin. And this isn't Mitra. She wanders from bored-looking to unbearable, throughout the film. One sequence, a Gladiator style battle with a Darth Vader armoured bad guy, is utterly ruined by the obvious stunt double and Mitra's utter lack of physical commitment in her few close ups. She looks like the recoil from her gun could snap her in half, let alone the many perils she faces in this film. With a stronger lead the film could have been great, rather than just good fun. Also, the genre mash-up style isn't going to be for everyone. I can see people having a problem in particular with the film's sudden lurch into medieval territory. Personally I loved the bizarre change of pace, which left me guessing what the film would do next, but let's face it, most people want McDonald's movies. All the same and shrink wrapped to be neatly labelled. Does the film ever become more than the sum of its parts? When you've had your fun spotting all the references to other films will you wonder what was 'original' about this one? Well ask yourself, how many films this year are going to have an old school car chase, a 'warriors' style attack on armoured APCs and futuristic soldiers confronted by the sight of a knight on horse-back?. You've got to respect the guy just for the sheer balls of putting together this monster mash of styles. Yes it's love it or loath it stuff, but that's the point. And I loved it. So there you have it. To sum up, not the greatest ever film, but a bloody good night out at the movies for any fan of the genre. Hope this goes some way to redressing the balance. Call me 'COOPER' if you decide to use the review.
Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:14 a.m. CST


    by meatygoodness

    Marshall's an excellent director. I will see this.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:19 a.m. CST

    Better Review than that other Punk

    by redfist

    mutherfooker did had sock puppets on his hands and tried to spoil the whole thing...I stopped reading after 3 minutes.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:20 a.m. CST

    COOPER- You have my respect sir.

    by redfist

    Nice review, and you seems to know and love your action movies and "get it".

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:21 a.m. CST

    "futuristic style rave"

    by meatygoodness

    Doesn't inspire confidence though. Didn't the matrix try that?

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Sounds good to me

    by Jackin

    I'm a big fan of Marshalls work. I'm well looking forward to this!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:24 a.m. CST


    by Jackin

    Meatygoodness you have a good point there. That has to be one of the most cringe worthy scenes ever!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a top Mash-up

    by KillaKane

    Good review, feels like it's worth a ticket inspite of the shortcomings of the lead.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Ahh well

    by meatygoodness

    I'm just going to pretend this is the true remake/sequel to EFNY

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:33 a.m. CST

    Jackin, you god damn right

    by redfist

    I knew that film was fooked when that dance scene went on for 47 minutes...and Trinity didnt give us enough "OH" faces....or ever a good...."Ram me with that harddrive neo" or "Hack into my wet matrix"...I obsess much.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 5:59 a.m. CST

    I feel better

    by boyblue

    It has been acknowledged that there is something inbetween Scotland and London! The film sounds cool, count me in!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 6:09 a.m. CST

    Why Scotland....why?

    by Darth_Scotsman

    What have we done, we gave the world Greyfriars Bobby FFS!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 6:12 a.m. CST

    Admiral Akbar says

    by darquelyte

    It's a plant!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 6:28 a.m. CST

    This guy is a PLANT!!!!

    by Just another useless chump with a microphone

    No, I'm just kidding. I just hate how whenever someone gives a good review about any movie people are "iffy" about, people immediately scream "plant". <p> I liked Dog Soldiers for its underdog (pun not intended, yet giggled at) status. It's a crap B-movie, but it's a lot of fun and some good SFX for its budget. I LOVED The Descent. Only movie to genuinely scare me in years, and honestly not because of the critters. I have an odd sense of claustrophobia...takes a LOT to make me feel it, but once I do I squirm like a mofo. The scene where the one girl was stuck and panicking, my friends STILL make fun of me for how much I was squirming in my seat and sweating. Only scene to ever do that to me before was, of all lame things, the pipe torture scene in Tank Girl. <p> So yeah, I'll definitely give this one a torrent when it's done with its theatre rounds, just to check it out. If I like it, I'll buy the DVD.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Damn shame.

    by MaxTheSilent

    THE DESCENT will absolutely be considered a modern horror classic in years to come.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:03 a.m. CST


    by Vamp-AICNchat would've been a horror story just bricking Hadrians Wall and been locked in Scotland.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:09 a.m. CST

    "futuristic style rave"

    by Cameron1

    Hopefully Marshall will be taking the piss out of the Matrix' shark jumping moment. I bet it will be a knowing wink as to how silly that stuff all is. The other "reviewer" didn't actually know how to review a movie so I was never too worried by his nagative comments, but still I'm very glad this one has me feeling positive about the film now.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:11 a.m. CST


    by MaxTheSilent

    Marshall should just do a movie about a bunch of people having to brave the unparallelled horror of Scottish food. 'Tempting Tatties'!? My ass wants to collapse just thinking about that garbage!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:33 a.m. CST

    The car scenes were better than those in DEATH PROOF???

    by Nice Marmot

    So they didn't just drive around at 30 mph and add roaring muscle car sound later?

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST

    That girl is rubbish...

    by TELF

    In the UK she was a low-level celeb because she was the original Lara Croft promo model (using boobs her dad bought for her). Her one-time polygonal counterpart is a much better actress.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Watch out Superman, Doomsday gonna kick.....

    by BetaRayBill07

    Oh sorry.....wrong Doomsday.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST

    It's NEIL Marshall...

    by loafroaster

    ...Yankee dumbasses

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 8:12 a.m. CST

    loved the descent

    by palewook

    and still waiting on Doomsday.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Does anyone else find the word 'work'...

    by dacanesta

    after a directors name sounds pretentious? I think its ok on a baldy old man with grey hair at the sides and maybe some glasses balanced on the end of his nose, but from us? I think its farty. Say 'films', then I wont think you're fake. And the guy who plays Spoon from Dog Soldiers is from my hometown, MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND!!!! (English people will know I dont have much to shout about so let me have this one, eh?)

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Two people in a shot

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Nice to hear, after years of horrendous 'in your face' mega-close-up 'scope photography. Cundey's early Carpenter work was genius and if Marshall is borrowing that look all credit to him. Looking forward to this.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Rhona Mitra.....

    by Rameses

    Was the chick across the road who got raped in Hollow man.She is a useless actress , but kinda cute and the best of the lara croft models.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    If you're happy with a copy and paste director


    Then Neil Marshal's your man<P>His movies annoy the hell out of me because they steal scenes, character traites, even lines of dialogue and sound effect from other far superior movies.<P>If you're not old enough to remember and hold dear the sourse material or are simply not aware or not arsed then you'll likely enjoy or love his stuff because what he can do is solidly stick a movie together, But he needsc to try a completely original film not just a genre re-tread coz they're just too devoid of anything new to say and this looks no different. Maybee if I could shut off my movie memory banks it might be ok!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Like Rhona, Like Neil

    by angelopoulos

    Will prob. like Doomsday. We'll see. I think Rhona is pretty good in most things she's in. Hopefully we'll get to hear her actual voice this time. That was no way her real voice in Skinwalkers. I'm thinking she was overdubbed by someone whiny. Her real voice is deep and very Brittish. Meow!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    most people want McDonald's movies.

    by Series7

    I certainly do. I've been watching all of Malcolm McDonald's movies recently. Just saw If.. the other day, and man all those attempts to show what life is like in a military academy, and the only one to do it justice is a movie about british boys school. Awesome movie. And Caligula AWESOME! wanna watch the new version. Killing Kirk... not Awesome. But lets just say if Malcolm McDonald is in this movie then, I'm loving it.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST


    by BrooseTheScharuk

    ...I agree 100%. And Series7, you give me laffing. Also, those people who are saying "Phew! I'm so glad someone finally posted a review expressing the opinion I plan to have once I see this movie...that other reviewer was a moron..." -- you people are also give to me laffings! Thanks. These talkbacks ooze with informed objectiviy.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 1:56 p.m. CST


    by BrooseTheScharuk

    ...I make spelling oops.

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Dog Soldiers is fucking class man!

    by pdennett316

    "I hope I give you the shits you fucking wimp!" Spoon alone was worth the price of admission/rent. The Descent was also great, so I'm looking forward to this one. Pity it's Rhona Mitra in the lead. Nice tits (which her Dad both paid for, AND installed) but zero charisma. Helena Bonham Carter or Rachel Weisz (spelling?) would have been far better choices. Fuck, Helen Mirren would've been more believable as a bad ass!

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 7:23 p.m. CST

    Kurzinski Valentine

    by Jaws Wayne

    I also don't understand why Dog Soldiers is hailed a great film and I'm a big lover of horror films. Tell you this. Bought the film on disc for a paltry 3 or 4 bucks, put it in the player anticipating something good after all the rave reviews and stopped it 20 minutes in, thought either I was too tired or the movie was just really plain bad. Next time I watched 30 minutes of it, then stopped it again. Third time I watched another 10 minutes. Still haven't watched the whole thing. Man,those werewolf suits ! Is Dog Soldiers meant to be a spoof or horror parody of sorts? Liked The Descent though and looking forward to Doomsday, and I think Rhona is a fine looking lady by the way. Can anyone tell me if Robert Harmon's Highwaymen in which she stars is a good thriller ?

  • Oct. 5, 2007, 11:26 p.m. CST


    by Series7

    That was a good movie. Like no body saw it though? I don't even know if it made it to theaters? Jesus is sure having a hard time making movies after his big break with Mr. Gibson. Chronicles was another awesome movie that bombed. Same with Descent, I remember downloading that movie way before it came out in america and I watch it by myself because I just heard it was scary, i thought it was a movie about cave diving. I didn't fucking realize it was a monster movie. Probably the only movie to scare me since Aliens which was when I was a kid. I'll tell you this much I have not gone spelunking since I've seen that movie. I think those days are over.

  • Oct. 6, 2007, 6:41 a.m. CST


    by Jaws Wayne

    This is a serious question, but are you on some sort of medication ? If that's the case, don't be ashamed to tell us, it would be a whole lot easier to accept your posts. I'm not kidding here, so please tell.

  • Oct. 6, 2007, 7:27 a.m. CST

    Hadrian's wall

    by fitzcarraldo2

    A minor point - Hadrian's Wall does not mark the border with Scotland, it never has. There was no England or Scotland when it was built, just Britannic tribes and the wall was built across the narrowest point of the country. I live north of the wall but I'm still in England.

  • Oct. 6, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    There Is No Spoon

    by thatothercaptainjack

    The actor that played him in Dog Soldiers was Darren Morffit.

  • Oct. 6, 2007, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Jaws Wayne

    by Knuckleduster

    I just can't stop laughing over your post. Seriously, you have made my day. Good one, mate.

  • Oct. 7, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by BrooseTheScharuk

    ...I thought you were joking with the whole "Malcolm McDonald" thing, no? It was fucking funny! Was it me who missed the point, and MOM who actually has your number? Say it ain't so! I'd prefer to believe that some degree of wit does manage to survive in this environment, which is generally pretty hostile toward the clevers.

  • Oct. 7, 2007, 1:48 p.m. CST

    "putting together this monster mash"...?

    by chien_sale

    there's more than zombies in the film?

  • Oct. 7, 2007, 2:13 p.m. CST


    by Knuckleduster

    Mate, I don't necessarily think Jaws asked you that question because he disagreed with you. It's just... Listen, just go back and read some of your posts. It reads like excerpts from some lousy textbook. I'm not trying to be offensive, but some of the stuff you write... And your constant need to respond to every single post, it's just... You know what, never mind. Express yourself, buddy.

  • Oct. 7, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by Jaws Wayne

    You're totally wrong about the intentions of my last post.I was actually dead serious with my question and no it has nothing to do with me having a problem with posts longer than one paragraph or because I was trying to make a fool out of you. I did not read everyting you wrote in your, what...5 or 6 back-to-back posts that preceded my last one, but from reading bits of 'em I almost definitely knew something just wasn't right. So, let me ask you again. Are you on some sort of medication? Do you suffer from Asperger syndrome maybe ? If that's the case, knowing that,the pieces of the puzzle would fall into place, the mystery would be solved. So, can you clear things up a little ?

  • Oct. 9, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST


    by Knuckleduster

    Lost cause.

  • Oct. 9, 2007, 1:49 p.m. CST


    by BrooseTheScharuk

    Perhaps, since you are apparently not from this continent, you are not aware of the use -- by the McDonald's company -- of the phrase "I'm loving it" in all of their advertising. At least that's been the slogan for the last while -- I don't know if they've moved on from that yet, but -- probably NOT coincidentally -- it happens to be the phrase used by Series7 at the end of his/her/its post, as in: "But lets just say if Malcolm McDonald is in this movie then, I'm loving it." I just wanted to let you know that I was never in doubt as to whether it was a joke or not: the tone of my "say it ain't so post" was sarcasm, intended to have a laugh at your misinterpretation, which I thought would be obvious to everyone. Of course "Malcolm McDonald" was a joke! I feel a little bad about picking on you, what with your "latinization" problem, but -- to be perfectly honest -- I just didn't want this to end with the appearance that you and I were agreeing with one another on this point.