Doom

Doom is a typical brainless Hollywood action flick loosely based on the popular first-person shooter videogame franchise. A research lab on Mars is plunged into chaos and a group of marines are sent in to investigate what is causing the mayhem and kill it. This is a fast-paced paint by numbers flick which completely fails to capture the essence and horror of the game on which it is based.

Doom the film

We open on a group of scientists as they are hunted and dragged off screaming by a mysterious creature. The area is locked down and the marines are called into action. The film is set on Mars where the UAC (an evil company just like the corporation in Aliens) research facility is based. The group of hardened cock swinging morons charged with the job of going in are some hardcore marines (like the ones in Aliens) and they are able to zip straight up to Mars via a kind of gate (like the one in Stargate).

Upon arrival they team up with a female scientist who is there to explain the plot and begin running around dark corridors being picked off one by one (like in Aliens). It transpires that the scientists have found evidence of an older form of human life which had 24 chromosomes instead of 23, making them superhuman. Sadly the extra chromosomes turn some people into monsters and these monsters like to kill everything in sight (like Resident Evil). Cue a predictable race against time to prevent the infection spreading to earth.

Now the games industry has long used film licenses on which to base games and they tend to remain entirely faithful to the original movies, simply building more detail on top. Unfortunately Hollywood in their supreme arrogance do not return the favour and so when they get their corporate claws into a game franchise they immediately set about making changes in the mistaken belief that they know better. Consequently the original plot of Doom which centres on a group of scientists pushing the boundaries of genetic mutation too far and unleashing creatures from hell is bent out of all recognition by talentless hacks. While the original plot was simplistic and unbelievable it did create a fantastic excuse for a creepy game full of varied scary monsters. The new plot they came up with is more complex, makes a lot less sense and only allows for one type of monster which will disappoint fans of the series.

Doom 3 the game

This film is in fact based on Doom 3 and the main nods to the game are the setting and equipment which look more or less exactly the same just on a smaller scale than in the game. There are a host of newly invented and thoroughly awful characters, some ridiculously brainless plot twists and a cringe worthy script.

All that before I even mention that the Rock is the leader of the marines and his acting is the only thing in the film liable to induce screaming amongst the audience. The rest of the cast are typical Hollywood stereotypes and each has their formulaic purpose. The only character who comes across vaguely well is John Grimm played by Karl Urban, his sister Samantha is just a rubbish plot device played by Rosamund Pike and Dexter Fletcher pops up as the wheelchair bound coward Pinky.

The film is directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak who has directed a few action flicks before and does a relatively competent job here. The sequence where we switch to first person for five minutes was actually quite entertaining and more reminiscent of the game if slightly less exciting than watching someone actually playing it. Dave Callaham and Wesley Strick wrote the screenplay and we can only pray that neither ever works again.

Each action sequence is accompanied by loud rock music but since the only creature to appear is the Hell Knight the action gets tired very quickly and even the appearance of the BFG doesn´t generate much excitement as it is under used. The predictability gets very wearing and, as you should know by now, there is no escape from the stupid wrestling scene which is contractually obliged to appear in every film which the Rock does. My solution for this would be to ban him from making films.

Doom is a big fat turkey, typically thoughtless action packed mush and the biggest disappointment of all is the failure to capture the horror of the game. Anyone who has played Doom 3 will attest to the finely crafted, deeply frightening atmosphere, the range and creepiness of the monsters and although the relentless nature does eventually get boring at least it is well made and offers some genuine scares. The 15 rated film is devoid of any scares and simply does not do justice to the source material, perhaps it´s time that Hollywood stopped ruining game franchises in their fervour to make a quick buck.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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