Doom (2005)
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Review Date: October 21, 2005
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Writer: David Callaham, Wesley Strick
Producers: John Wells
The Rock as Sarge
Karl Urban as John Grimm
Rosamund Pike as Samantha
A troupe of heavy-duty Marines are sent to Mars to check on some of the disturbances that have been resonating from its human colony station. Once there, the group come to realize that demon-monsters are alive and well in their midst, so they pull out their big guns and shoot as much as they can. They kill some of the monsters and some of the monsters kill them. Lots of shooting and killing and blood ensues.
I’ve always had a “thing” for The Rock. I think he’s a unique individual with tons of charisma, talent, good looks and ass-kickeroonies packed under his monster build. I’ve managed to enjoy most of the films that he’s been in so far – if only because of his presence in them – but am still waiting for him to make that great ol’ rock ‘n roll action extravaganza that will utilize all of his skills to their utmost, alongside a cool-ass story, superb action and all-around entertainment. Unfortunately, DOOM is not that movie. That said, its final half hour kicks arse like not many action flicks have kicked arse this year, including some nifty twists in the “story”, lots of cool kills and blood, a fun mano-a-mano fistfight and a very cool “first person” POV (point-of-view) sequence that really managed to bring the claustrophobic and thrilling aspects of the game onto the big screen, and that in itself…is a great accomplishment! Particularly when you consider that the game on which the film is based doesn’t really have too much “story” going for it in the first place. Unfortunately, this film’s first hour is also much of that, with little exposition, lots of dudes dressed in black gear walking around dark hallways and dank sewers, with little shoot ‘em ups or fisticuffs taking place. Thankfully, the film’s visuals work like in the videogame, with lots of “atmosphere” providing us with a decent sense of the unknown, along with grungy musical tunes (yeah, heavy metal was the way to go…thank God they didn’t include any hip-hop shit), a handful of one-liners, the Rock’s charming charms and “serious looks” (and actual character development?!?), as well as a surprising amount of profanity, blood and icky guts, lifting the film a notch above its peer action-monster-kill movies.

And oh yeah…no PG-13 here! We get plenty of bloody kills with decapitations, slimy walking creatures and corpses and tons of “yucks” and “fucks” all around. Sure, it’s a movie based on Marines killing demons from hell, but the studio could easily have pussied out, but they didn’t, so kudos to them. That said, I likely would have recommended this film only slightly (or maybe even just as a “cheapie night” rental) until its final half hour kicked in and, lo-and-behold, it actually managed to surprise me with its storyline twist, impress me with its extensive and invigorating POV “kill sequence” (anyone who has spent more than a few hours playing DOOM in the dark by themselves will totally relate to this scene) and surprise me once again by upgrading the film’s basic entry into the “videogame turned into a movie” genre by including a sequence questioning a soldier’s morality during a time of war (do you follow your orders or listen to your heart?). The film’s awesome end credit sequence should also be noted, along with a solid performance by Karl Urban, who managed to give the film a character with whom we can sympathize. I just realized that I used the word “surprise” quite a bit in this review, and I think that’s what this film ultimately did to me: it surprised me by actually being a lot better than it deserved to be. I only wish its first hour had taken some lessons from its final act; giving us more action, monsters, kills and creativity!

All that said, if you’re not looking for a “search and destroy” type of movie in which a bunch of characters with heavy artillery march around a bunch of corridors and shoot up some creepy alien types, you shouldn’t even be reading this review or contemplating a visit to the theaters for this one. If, on the other hand, you dig DOOM, the game, you like Rock, the man, and you enjoy your blood, guts, violence, monsters and big f*ckin’ guns…sign yourself up on the dotted line and then go home and play the game until you meld yourself out of your own life and into the phony baloney world of the depths of hell. Then again, that’s pretty much my own life…day-to-day. Hahahaha, I keed, I keed.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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