Doom Review

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2046. Scientists on Mars unleash an ancient force that transforms a percentage of people in the vicinity into super-strong, very dangerous monsters. A team of heavily armed, kick-ass soldiers and a female “forensic archaeologist” venture into tunnels to f


The only thing you really need to know about Doom is that it’s based on the computer game. There are two reasons why this is usually bad news. Firstly, computer games are, almost by definition, mindlessly derivative of earlier films (if you had to worry about an original story, you’d never get around to the fun business of shooting things to bits), so movies based on them tend to feel like rip-offs of rip-offs, as if the filmmakers were intent on homaging Saturn 3 or Leviathan rather than Alien or The Terminator. Secondly, there’s nothing duller than watching somebody else play a game — so what might have made for exciting action scenes tend to become mechanical exercises in first-person-shooter monster-blasting.

The one point in Doom’s favour is that it isn’t directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil) or Uwe Boll (House Of The Dead, Alone In The Dark). Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds) isn’t quite the Compleat Hack, and at least works on a mystifying first act to establish some suspense before the big (fuckin’) guns get unslung. But Doom is undone by a script which suggests the writers have given up taking it seriously and tried to slip as many laugh-out-loud silly lines (“I’m a forensic archaeologist, John, I go where the work is”) past the producers as possible. The cast are the sort of talents who’ve yet to capitalise on their initial breaks with suitable follow-ups — Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (The Scorpion King) is the unstable Sarge, Karl Urban (The Lord Of The Rings) the more sensitive soldier and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) the glamorous scientist who gasps explanations between shoot-’em-up stuff.

There’s one single clever twist and the film scores added points for transforming teleportation-maimed Dexter Fletcher (“His ass went to another galaxy”) into a half-wheelchair, half-demon swine creature. Otherwise, it’s a familiar plod around lookalike corridors on Mars and, via a blobby wormhole effect, Earth, with off-the-peg roaring, toothy monsters and supporting actors who take their tickets and wait to get killed off and out of the way before a disappointingly unspectacular fight finish.

Not quite as dreadful as Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but that’s hardly a major achievement. At this rate, major motion pictures based on Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Minesweeper must be on the point of getting Hollywood greenlights…