By Annette Cardwell
However low your expectations are for the movie take on the videogame Doom, lower them more. It's pretty obvious that this adaptation was never going to be a film of any serious artistic or social value, but those of us who are either fans of the game itself, video games in general, or even of its star, The Rock, were at least hoping for a good time. Instead, the big-screen Doom is low on both monsters and action, heavy on a dull, inaccurate, and a somewhat preachy story.
The game storyline for Doom is a classic one-man army tale: a lone, tough, nameless Marine is sent to Mars in order to restore peace after scientists working for mega-corporation UAC stationed there open a portal to Hell, and the demons are coming through in droves. While most gamers were mainly concerned with the then-groundbreaking first-person-shooter (FPS) gameplay (it was 1993, after all), the story was just creepy and supernatural enough to make shooting these imps and zombies a brainless blast.
In the movie Doom, The Rock plays Sarge, a Marine commander who leads his platoon up to a UAC Mars research facility via an Earth-based portal. His mission is to restore order by any means necessary. So far, so good. But he soon discovers that genetic research gone awry is turning the UAC Mars staff to zombies, and eventually these zombies evolve into hideous monsters. Sarge and his men begin cleaning up the mess, but in the process are picked off one by one. In the end, the last jarheads standing - Sarge and his second in command John Grimm (Karl Urban) - have to decide whether to save those not affected by monster-itis, or kill everything that moves.
It's only a slight twist on the story, but that difference turns this simple game plot into a cautionary tale against bioengineering, making it more like Resident Evil than Doom. Where is the fun of the supernatural? The campy journey to Hell I wanted to see on the big screen? The gazillions of demonic minions coming through the walls? This new plot sucks all the fun out of the relatively goofball horror that is the Doom I know and love. In other words, the roaring monsters and FPS-view action seen in the fairly exciting trailer are few and/or far between.
I can't help but wonder when reflecting on this lackluster effort and its filmmakers: "Who paid these guys to think?" They had one task, which was to make a video game adaptation that its hardcore fans and excitable teenage boys would whoop and holler over. But instead of a dumb and fun Doom, we got just plain dumb.
I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler!
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 21st October 2005
Box Office Worldwide: $56M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures, John Wells Productions, Reaper Productions, Stillking Films, Babelsberg Film, Doom Productions, Distant Planet Productions
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 105
Cast & Crew
Starring: Dwayne Johnson as Sarge, Karl Urban as John Grimm, Rosamund Pike as Samantha Grimm, Ben Daniels as Goat, Deobia Oparei as Destroyer, Razaaq Adoti as Duke, Richard Brake as Corporal Dean Portman, Al Weaver as The Kid, Dexter Fletcher as Pinky, Brian Steele as Hell Knight / Curtis Stahl, Yao Chin as Mac, Robert Russell as Dr. Carmack, Daniel York as Lt. Huengs, Ian Hughes as Sanford Crosby, Sara Houghton as Dr. Jenna Willits