Doom (2005) – Andrzej Bartkowiak

Karl Urban, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Rosamund Pike head to battle in this film adaptation of the hit video game Doom, my next stop in the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Strange things are happening in a research base on Mars, and a group of Space Marines, with Sarge (Johnson), kitted out to take on whatever they may find. They’re ready. They think.

While not very faithful to the video game, which caused much consternation amongst gamers, the film isn’t a strong action film either, despite it’s fairly solid leading cast. It seems to be taking its cue from the Resident Evil films, but without the same moronic sense of fun that makes them a guilty pleasure for me.

The Sarge and his team, awaiting their R&R get shipped out to Mars. In his squad is John Grimm (Urban) who we learn has a personal connection to the research centre they are headed to in the form of Samantha (Pike).

It seems there are some strange creatures running about on the station, and slaughtering a number of the denizens, the squad gears up, with tiny nods to the game and the bullets start flying.

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But, if they knew Samantha was coming along with them on the mission, why didn’t they outfit her in any body armour?

The film tries to be part Aliens, part Resident Evil, and is actually a pretty solid demonstration of why first person shooters don’t necessarily work as films, no matter how ‘strong’ the source material is.

Nothing about the film is particularly inspired, and you almost feel sorry for Johnson, Urban and Pike, but hey, sometimes you take a job to pay your bills. The film lacks any real vision or unique action beats, in fact it reeks of missed opportunity because it is trying to copy so much of what came before, and attempts to peripherally connected to the game.

I think if they had developed a slightly stronger story, and maybe filled out the world a little more this one could have been something. But instead, it seemed to get muddled down in all that had gone before, and not doing justice to any of it.

The creature designs are iffy, and a few extra dollars on the effects probably would have not gone amiss, and the silly FPS sequence as an homage to the game is lame and poorly executed, playing more like a cheap funhouse ride than a scarefest filled with action beats.

Oh well.

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