Friday, 28 June 2013

Doom - review

2005 (UK / Czech Republic / Germany / USA)

2009 Universal Pictures Blu-ray R(All)

Contains spoilers.

Yes you read right, fucking Doom. The Karl Urban, The Rock video game to movie sci-fi horror action spectacular you probably once watched after a lot to drink round a mates and you don't remember much, if anything of.

In 2026 archaeologists discovered portal to an ancient Mars city in the Nevada desert and the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) set up a research base to investigate. It's now 2046 and after an emergency broadcast, and level 5 quarantine lock down the RRTS Hellfighters (Rapid Response Tactical Squad) headed by Gunnery Sergeant Asher "Sarge" Mahonin  (The Rock) are dispatched to secure the site, extract the 85 or so research staff and retrieve specific UAC files.

The team sweeps the empty archaeology wing moving onto genetics and alien weaponry, while the sister of Staff Sergeant John "Reaper" Grimm (Karl Urban), Dr. Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike) tells him they've reopened the 'dig' site and have found humanoid remains with the added twist of a 24th chromosome making them like us but super strong, super agile and faster healers.

I think we can all see where this is going as it's being spoon fed to us like we're even stupider than the premise.

Venturing further in the team first makes contact with missing chief scientist Dr. Todd Carmack (Robert Russell), named after the guy who wrote and designed the original game (John Carmack). Deranged and clutching a severed arm he is taken to sick bay and the rest of the team moves on. Here, and finally why the reason this film is on my blog they find the rest of Dr. Carmack's team who are now, dun dun dun! Zombies.

Well, they're called zombies in the original game, and it says on Wikipedia they're zombies so they're zombies right? When Corporal Eric "Goat" Fantom (Ben Daniels) got attacked by an imp (alien humanoid monster thing) it fired a parasite into him. Unable to save him in the med lab he clearly dies only to later reanimate. That's a zombie in my book. Ok, after reanimation they mutate into imps and these imps are clearly 'living' again, but there is a short period, demonstrated when 'Goat' pulls himself out of his corpse bag and charges the window, frantic, aggressive very much like a zombie, until his head is bashed in and he falls to ground. It's argued that during this stage he was still aware enough to kill himself though, which isn't strictly zombie... anyway... Later with the quarantine broken and the threat also back on Earth there are several scenes that are clearly zombie tradition inspired, with hordes grouped feeding on bodies; though they don't always need to be put down with a head-shot... Anyway, I'm done debating, if John Carmack says they're zombies, they're zombies. Maybe just alien-mutating-parasitic-host-zombies...

The rest of the film is aliens, deaths, shooting, covert experimentation, more shooting, more deaths and a boss fight. It's high octane stuff, tense and atmospheric, and as daft as you'd expect. For a video game film it's actually one of the best efforts I've seen and despite generally average reviews I felt it did what it set out to do probably as well as it could. The acting especially from the lead cast was authentic and convincing, it was well directed and the pace fluid and tense. Oh, we must mention the fps sequence to honour it's video game roots. It's daft, it's long and as an old Doom player I loved it.

Go in with a clear mind as to what you're going to get you'll enjoy yourself. Ok, there's nothing really original or ground breaking, but it didn't set out to achieve any of this. What you have is a good fun action sci-fi horror film with zombies that doesn't require much brains, 7/10.



  1. SWEET!!!!! I was actually going to do this one at Zombie Hall soon. Nice review as always.

    1. Thanks, look forward to your thoughts's or something like that. Just have a beer or two first.