Retroplayer here. It’s movie night, dear readers.
So, I was sitting there trying work out what game to review. Some times that stuff comes easily, other times I need to seek out a new game, play the shit out of it during the week, and do my best to get a review up by Sunday. It wasn’t really happening, so I decided to review a videogame movie. Haven’t done one of those in awhile, right? Well, Doom was always a movie I wanted to see. I’m not a massive fan of the games themselves, but surely a film based on space marines fighting creatures from hell would be good, right? Right? Well it’s not bad, but it sure does take a partial slash over the source material. Let’s do this.
The year is 2046. Earth has lost contact with the UAC Olduvai Research Facility on Mars, after it was quarantined after some kind of attack. Earth sends the best of the best of blowing shit up in the form of the RRTS Hellfighters. This team includes what you’d expect from a movie like this- Sarge (played by Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock), Reaper (he’s our main hero), Duke (the funny guy), Destroyer (the large angry man with a huge weapon), The Kid (the guy on his first mission), Portman (the batshit perv junkie), Goat (the religious guy) and Mac (well, he’s just cannon fodder). Their mission? Eliminate whatever threat has sprung up on Mars. The Hellfighters use a device known as the Ark to instantly transport themselves to Mars. Once there, they meet up with Dr. Samantha Grimm, Reapers sister, to get up to speed on the situation.
They find Doctor Carmack, the scientist that sent out the distress call before being attacked by some creature, in a state of apparent madness. The fucker is just sitting there covered in blood, holding a severed arm like a Frenchman might hold a delicious baguette, with a wild look in his eye like OJ Simpson. At this point the Hellfighters know something is up. However, once Doctor Carmack pulls his own ear off, then they know shit just got real, very real. It eventually becomes clear that some kind of creatures are roaming through the facility, that something vicious, large, and powerful is hunting them. Goat gets wasted by one of these creatures. It bites into his neck, sticks this weird tongue-thing down his throat (not like that), and eventually gets toasted by Reaper as it tries to escape. They bring the creature back to Samantha, and after a quick blood test they discover it’s human, or at least used to be human. This is where the film starts taking a downturn. Human? Hold on a second, you mean it’s not some tormented beast from the bowels of hell?
Here’s the major problem with Doom- there’s no portal to hell in the movie. In the videogame series the idea was that these creatures came from hell, by using a portal that was created by the UAC. So instead of the movie revolving around the Hellfighters dealing with imaginable foes from the fiery pits of hell, it’s more about the horrors of dicking around with human genetics. Lame. All the creatures in the movie are simply infected humans, not monsters. Infected people have certain abilities and parts of their personality heightened. For instance, people who are basically bad people will turn into ghoulish creatures, while people who are good just end up being powerful humans. It’s a huge let-down as the film ain’t half bad at all. I can’t imagine why they’d cut this whole origin story of the demons out. Was it because of the religious connotations? Maybe they didn’t want to offend people? So showing demons from hell could be insulting, but not the character of Goat that cuts crosses into himself? Oh right.
The creatures effects are a little underwhelming. I guess I expected too much from it, but they weren’t as good as I would have hoped for. That said, they are fine and they do the job. It’s a nice blend of CGI and prosthetics too, even if there isn’t much of an array of monsters in Doom to really enjoy. The same monster basically pop up again and again. Plus, a large chunk of the action is just gunning down infected, non-transformed people. It basically turns into a zombie flick at times, with plenty of those typical scenes where an infected person looks up from feeding on a corpse and screams. Yeah, those scene. At this point in the film I was seriously convinced I was watching Doom of the Dead.
Plus, a poorly chosen storyline they pull is turning Sarge into a bad guy. Yes, I know he’s infected but still. Turning The Rock into a baddie in anything never works. Never. Ever. He just looks like a good guy, he looks like a hero. Fucker look like a bro you could share a beer with, not some civilian killing tyrant. This storyline only ramps up during the last 20 minutes of the movie, and pretty much comes out of nowhere. It leads to the final battle in the movie being between Sarge and Reaper. Nope, Reaper isn’t battling some huge, fucking massive beast from hell, he’s fighting an infected Sarge. What a let-down, man. I wanted Sarge to get a hold of the BFG, strap it to his arm, and run headlong through the gates of hell. Now that’s the Doom movie I want to see.
Another aspect of the movie that was quite talked about was the FPS scene. Near the end of the movie the film cuts to a first person perspective of Reaper as he guns down some infected people. It’s actually quite nice even if the shitty Goth Rock/Twat Rock/Viking Metal music kills the mood a bit. It’s at this point in which we get to see Pinky AKA that dog demon that has two wheels for back legs, as seen in Doom 3. Reaper picks up a fucking chainsaw to kill it with. Love it. Some people will be turned off by this scene, but I found it to be a nice homage to the game itself.
Overall Doom is a fun movie. Look, we’re not talking high art here. Guns are pointed at things, and those things die. That’s it. That’s all you need to worry your pretty little head over. Big muscles, bigger guns, huge monsters, blood, guts, gore, and the occasional female. Hell, if it weren’t for the character of Dr. Samantha Grimm, you’d be literally sinking in pure unfiltered testosterone while watching Doom. It’s loud, cheap looking at times, but pretty fun if you’re looking for a nuts and bolts action flick. That said, it does mishandle the franchise. Taking out the portal to hell story and replacing it with stuff about genetics is pretty stupid. That totally rips the heart out of the idea behind Doom. It ain’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s worth a watch.
Doom gets two and a half smiling Dwayne Johnson faces out of five.