'Doom' lives up to name on screen
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  1. #1

    'Doom' lives up to name on screen

    October 21, 2005
    'Doom' lives up to name on screen
    By JANE STEVENSON - Toronto Sun

    PLOT: Marines head to Mars to investigate a mysterious, turns out, deadly occurrence at a research facility in the year 2046. Based on the popular video game of the same name.

    Doom, the latest video game-turned-movie, follows in the path of most of its predecessors in terms of being a downright stinker.

    That's not to say, however, that fans of the hugely popular Doom video game won't get a kick out of this futuristic sci-fi horror action adventure. It is chockablock with amputations, gore, monsters, body parts, gunplay, gadgets, marines, bad dialogue and an attractive researcher played by former Bond girl and British actress Rosamund Pike.

    Doom stars wrestler-turned-actor The Rock as Sarge, the head of an elite group of marines known as the Rapid Response Tactical Squad that lands on Mars where things have gone horribly wrong at a research facility -- when don't they?

    The RRTS is made up of a crew of eight men, the studliest of which is John, whose handle is Reaper, played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban, best known for his role as the Rohan warrior Eomer in the The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

    He is possibly the only actor who manages to make it through this mindless movie with his dignity intact. There's a subplot that involves John's strained relationship with Dr. Samantha Grimm (Pike).

    Otherwise, providing some much needed comic relief is the greasy-haired, yellow-toothed marine Portman (Richard Brake), whose idea of a good time is holing up in a hotel room with "a bottle of tequila and three she-boys."

    Hey, if it got me out of watching this movie, I'd join him.

    Ostensibly, The Rock is the lead character but all he's given to do is bark at his men, drop the f-bomb liberally, blow away hellish creatures and upgrade his weaponry to the BFG -- big f---ing gun from the video game -- that can impressivly do some major damage.

    The filmmakers -- led by cinematographer-turned-director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds) -- earn some credit for coming up with some cool looking gadgetry, futuristic imagery, frightening monsters, and a forboding atmosphere in the research facility's dark corridors and rooms.

    The marines travel via a liquid-looking circular portal to The Red Planet, while solid walls at the research facility can instantly become passable via the touch of a button.

    The portal is not perfect, however. Pinky (British actor Dexter Fletcher), is a plucky wheelchair-bound communications officer at the research facility who is basically a torso attached to wheels. "He went to one galaxy, his ass went to another," is the explanation given his botched travel via the portal.

    Thankfully too, the filmmakers also keep the first person shooter perspective -- a popular aspect of the video game -- to a mininum, using it only during a five minute sequence toward the end of this already too-long movie.

    BOTTOM LINE: Gamers will probably eat this up the first weekend. Everyone else, avoid like the plague.


  2. #2


    The Rock still a one-note thud in 'Doom'
    By David Germain, Associated Press
    October 21, 2005

    That Doom is dumb comes as no great shocker. That The Rock continues to try to build a movie persona beyond one-note hulking action hero is no surprise.

    That he fails at every turn . . . well, you weren't expecting Brando in On the Waterfront, were you?

    The latest video-game-turned- action-movie sticks to the essentials of the source material, Marines blowing away zombies and mutant monsters on Mars. And it doesn't bring much more to it.

    Director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave) keeps the lighting low and the action a blur, and he apparently never saw a don't-go-down-that- dark-hallway horror cliche he didn't want to steal from a thousand other monster movies.

    Screenwriters David Callaham and Wesley Strick have created a batch of futuristic military grunts who look like one-dimensional washouts that couldn't make the cut for Aliens.

    And The Rock dispenses with the campy undercurrent of humor that made him a passable action figure in The Scorpion King and The Rundown, here playing a stoic, mercilessly dutiful anti-hero with barely a hint of personality.

    The movie's simple premise: Researchers on Mars unleash an ancient evil lingering in the genes of fossil remains of a humanoid race that once lived on the red planet. People are transformed into undead zombies and gnarly demons seeking to pass their monstrous mutation on to others.

    Ace Marine veteran Sarge (The Rock) leads his troops into the dark tunnels of the research facility to root out the creatures and salvage the work of archaeologist Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), who happens to be the sister of the Reaper (Karl Urban), one of Sarge's top men.

    A deluge of halfhearted B-movie scares is about all Doom offers. The most complex character interaction is a superficial exploration of Samantha and her brother's tragic little past.

    The Rock's Sarge is robotically boring for most of the movie before turning callously dogmatic about his mission, a scenario in which he's still boring.

    "I need soldiers!" Sarge banally declares. "I don't need anybody else but soldiers!"

    Creature effects amount to little more than gory carcasses out for a stroll, while this whole legion-of-rabid-zombies thing either needs a major makeover or a long furlough from the big screen.

    Doom dubiously blurs the line between film and video games by actually turning into a semblance of the game's "first-person shooter" perspective, an extended action sequence of slaughter seen from a Marine hero's point of view. Fans of the game may love it, but the sequence will be a prolonged annoyance to everyone else.


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