Writer/director Neil Marshall pays homage to Snake Plissken and Mad Max with his actioner, Doomsday, which, as I rewatched it, had an opening that seems incredibly relevant as a pandemic sweeps the UK, and as the virus spreads there are lockdowns, quarantines, and curfews – until the infected are all locked away in Scotland, a wall is built, and the world moves on.
That is until cases arrive in London. As a new outbreak begins the PM, Hatcher (Alexander Siddig) is advised by Canaris (David O’Hara) and Nelson (Bob Hoskins). Canaris reveals that three years ago, survivors were spotted by satellite in Glasgow – there are people alive north of the wall, which means there must be a cure.
Unfortunately politics may win out over humanity.
Canaris advises sending a team over the wall to recover a sample of the cure and bring it back, making the PM (or whomever survives if any) a hero.
Leading the team over the wall, the ass-kicking Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra).Her assignment is to track down a doctor who was working on a cure when he was sealed behind the wall, Kane (Malcolm McDowell). But what her and her team do not expect is to come into violent contact with other survivors, survivors who live in the refuse and detritus of the cities, and feed on human flesh.
There are nods to Carpenter, Miller and Cameron, and the film is just a fantastic, and bloody ride. If you dig the Escape movies, or the Mad Max films, this one has to be on your radar. And I’ve always enjoyed Marshall’s work so this one is always a fun trip for me.
It also has a solid cast alongside Mitra, O’Hara, Hoskins and Siddig, Sean Pertwee, MyAnna Buring and Adrian Lester, not to mention stuntwoman and model Lee-Anne Libenberg as Viper, who steals every scene she is in. There’s violence, chases, blood, and more blood, and a story that would be quite at home in Snake’s world, or as a precursor to Max’s.
Mitra is a wonderful action hero in this film, and she even has an eye-patch like Snake. She’s also got a wicked streak of bringing down those in power if they screw her over.
Watching the opening sequence in the midst of an actual worldwide pandemic was a little unnerving, but the rest of the film still plays like pure escapism for me, and Marhsall knows how to move the story along, tie up story threads, and also hint at more to come, even if a sequel isn’t even on the boards…
…that ending is great, cause you know she’s going to stir up some trouble. This used to be a go to movie for me, and it’s odd that I haven’t watched it now for the better part of a decade, probably since I started the blog (there’s been a lot of movies to watch), but man, this revisit was totally worth it.