DOOM (UNRATED EDITION)
Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
What's it about
“Hell breaks loose”…sort of.
What we have here is a variation on the ‘DOOM’ mythos rather than a straight-ahead game-to-film translation. It’s got all the demon-blasting, hallway-crawling, drippy-pipe and sewer goodness of the game, just minus the whole hell motif everybody wanted. The real question though is this…
Is it good movie?
I think the word best used to describe ‘DOOM’ would be…fun. I had a blast watching Hell-Knights and Sewer-Imps get blasted into pulpy mounds of quivering meat by our bad-ass squad of heroes – no matter how clichéd they were.
The writing team employed here seems to borrow from ‘ALIENS’ and, to a higher degree, ‘RESIDENT EVIL’ with healthy abandon when it comes to elements of both the story and its characters, but it never seems to get in the way. I enjoyed the dynamic between the various members of the RRTS (Rapid Response Tactical Squad) most likely because I had seen it done so many times over. I was immediately comfortable with them. Watching ‘DOOM’, one can’t shake the feeling that these guys have been slogging through the shit together for years.
It’s nice to see that no one chews too hard on the scenery either. While The Rock™ and Karl Urban – the obvious leads in the film - do what we expect of them here; playing Mr. Charisma out-the-ass and brooding good guy respectively, it was Razaaq Adoti (Duke) and Ben Daniels (Goat) that really came through and kept me invested in all of our victims, er ah…good guys. Adoti plays Duke as a kind of dialed-down Hudson from ‘ALIENS’ – crass and wise-cracking - while Daniels’ ‘Goat’ seems to be channeling some long-forgotten burnt out ‘Nam vet. Daniels also has, hands down, the best line of dialog this reviewer had heard in recent memory. When asked for his position by a wheelchair bound member of the operations team, Goat’s reply is simple; “I’m taking a shit you f**king gimp” Priceless! As retread as most of these characters are, they work, and it’s the little moments like that that lift ‘DOOM’ a hair above the rest.
On the disc side of things, the “Unrated Extended Edition” presented here ups the grue quota nicely, providing fans of the film with an extra helping of slop to fill their boots with. As is the norm with most DVD releases of this type, it mostly adds up to a few extra seconds of blood-splatter and not much more, but as any genre fan worth his salt knows, we’ll take what we can get. Good shit indeed! The real crown-jewel on this disc comes in the form of the “extended” first-person-shooter sequence – far and away - the best part of this, or any version of ‘DOOM’. This sucker lasts for just over five minutes and it’s mighty tasty indeed. If I have one gripe with the film, it would be that I wish the whole movie would have employed the FPS tactic. It is definitely the proverbial “money shot” that fans were clamoring for.
Video / Audio
VIDEO: Universal really knows how to slap together a great looking picture. The 2.35:1 image presented here is truly top-notch. Deep, rich colors and impenetrable blacks are the order of the day.
AUDIO: Hearing bones snap and demons skitter around in the shadows is always better in Dolby Digital. This is a nice, aggressive 5.1 mix that’s sure to have you reaching for your BFG.
While not the most special of “special editions”, this disc still packs a decent one-two punch when it comes to the extra goods. Here’s what you get:
First Person Shooter Sequence (5:57): A neat little segment showcasing the “de-jour” sequence in all its glory. See how they did it, and then watch it out of context as a stand-alone piece. It is quite obvious that this aspect of the film was where most of the labor went, and it doesn't disappoint. The final product is a hoot to watch.
Rock Formation (5:38): See The Rock™ change from “The people’s champion” to “The people’s demon” in five minutes. This nifty little quickie spotlights the various degrees of The Rock’s formation (get it, Rock Formation?) into evil demon.
Master Monster Makers (10:54): Check out how the low-tech approach to the films ambitious special make-up effects worked to bring all manner of demon and Imp to snarling life. It’s nice to see guys still love slingin’ around the old latex. It's also nice to see Doug (Abe Sapien from 'Hellboy') Jones getting more work playing an assortment of demons.
DOOM Nation (14:40): A bunch of nerds get together and wax-ecstatic about how DOOM has affected their lives. Here’s a little something I derived from this on my own - they don’t get laid…ever.
Game on (6:46): Watch as some nerd lays down pointers on how to survive playing DOOM 3 for longer than four-and-a-half minutes. It’s a fun little segment proving that the guy showing you how it’s done is better than you…at playing video games.
Basic Training with The Rock (10:33): Next to the FPS segment, this is by far the most enjoyable item out of all the special features. Here we get to see The Rock™, Karl Urban, Razaaq Adoti and the rest of the actors go through “basic training” with some real-life ex-SAS bad-ass showing them how it’s done.
Play The Doom 3 Game: A playable demo of DOOM 3 for your X-Box. Not my X-Box mind you, I don’t have one of those.
Sadly, one thing missing from this package is a commentary; neither director Bartkowiak nor The Rock™ came to play in this department. It’s a shame too, as I would have loved to listen to The Rock™ bullshit for a couple of hours. The man is one personable SOB. Also of note is the general absense of director Andrzej Bartkowiak throughout the DVD. I don't know weather his non-involvment was voluntary or not, but it is odd that not a single clip, sound-bite or mention of the man is anywhere to be found. Hmm.
I dug me some ‘DOOM’. I definitely count myself among the many that have waited over a decade for this sucker and, a few minor gripes aside, I feel my hunger has been satiated. Sure the film could have been something more, but in this day and age of watered down, family friendly big budget cinema, I count ‘DOOM’ as a definite step in the right direction. It is a $70 million dollar horror film after all. As far a DVD’s go, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better looking, better sounding disc out right now and with the extra snacks cut back into the film, this one is definitely a winner.
As a little side note; I recently had the pleasure of working with Razaaq (Duke) Adoti on the latest Jean Claude Van-Damme flick…that’s right, I said Van-Damme, and he was an absolute joy to hang around with on set. I saw ‘DOOM’ in theatres before I had met him, so being approached on set by the impressively sized Adoti and having the kindest British accent come out of his mouth was cause for me to stitch-up my brow. I only mention this because I was stunned at the difference between the man on screen and the man I ate Mac & Cheese with at craft-services. He is a real credit to his craft.
Mostly, I just wanted to name drop.