Saturday, December 10, 2005


After all the hype and what looked like a promising trailer, we went to see Doom last night. It hasn't been out long and it was looking like it wouldn't be hanging around for very much longer either but, being a sucker for a no-brains action movie, I persuaded Lorna that it'd pass the evening.

Based on the best-selling computer game of the same name, the story is as follows...

There's a problem at the Olduvai research station on Mars. All communication has stopped and what little there was before that happened was very worrying. A level 5 quarantine is now in place and it's now up to the Rapid Response Tactical Squad to go in and investigate, sort things out and neutralize any threat with extreme prejudice.

The RRST are a bunch of hardened Space Marines and they're pretty confident they have the determination and the means to do the job. The squad leader is Sarge (The Rock), a seasoned marine who'll stop at nothing to do his duty, and backing him up are an experienced team of men with some serious history. But Olduvai will prove to be their hardest mission and for some of them, their last!

Okay, it's based on Doom the computer game, a first-person shooter where Marines were sent in to investigate something gone wrong on a Space Station so the plot is very close to the original. As with most computer games, depth of plot and character development goes pretty much out the window once the lead start flying as you're usually too busy trying to stay alive to worry about those kind of things. But here, we can sit back in the cinema, relax and watch someone else do all that so the writers have had to do a little work this time.

There's not a lot of mystery to the plot and it soon becomes clear what's happened. Some scientists have fallen foul of their own genetics research and when their test subject mutates into a monster and escapes, it kills most of them and infects a few with the same condition so we have a station full of nasties.

One of the surviving scientists is Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike) and she accompanies the squad in order to download and save the research files but she's also the sister of one of the squad, John Grimm (Karl Urban). The pair have some some history at Olduvai as their parents were killed in an accident there some years before. The rest of the squad has its share of motley misfits; Goat - the religious fanatic, Portman - the mouthy one, Destroyer - the big hard dude, The Kid - the green recruit and Pinky - the disabled backup. These along with Sarge, Mac, Duke and Hell Knight make up the team but that's as complicated as it gets.

So it's pretty much a no-brainer as expected and, while there is a fair bit of action, it doesn't come close to the non-stop mayhem of the video game. There is one sequence that tries to recreate the first-person view of the game as Grimm wanders through the station, blasting anything that moves, but it only lasts about ten minutes. The monsters, when you see them, are pretty well done though.

Doom may be a classic video game but this incarnation certainly won't help Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's career much. If he intends to try and take over Arnie's crown as the movie super-hero, he'll need better stuff than this.

Genre: Action, Science-Fiction
My Rating: 5/10

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