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DOOM (R) (2005)


Official Site

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, John Wells

Written by: David Callaham, Wesley Strick

Cast: Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Raz Adoti, The Rock


Let me tell you, this movie was very surprisingly not sucky. I have had very bad experiences over the last few years regarding video game-based movies and movie-based video games. I think everyone has. But Doom has a special place in my heart. Or maybe that special place is in my adrenal gland, but the point is that it’s no Tomb Raider. So I had to see for myself.

The Uldevai facility on Mars has just fallen to monsters. Sarge (The Rock) gets ordered to recover the facility and corporate property. He forms up his rapid response team, composed of your regular rag-tag bunch: Reaper (the guy with a troubled past), Destroyer (the very large black man with the chaingun), Portman (the greasy, unsavory fella who doesn’t belong behind a gun), Duke (run-of-the-mill good soldier), Mac (the Japanese guy), The Kid (self-explanatory), and lastly Goat (sacrificial marine of God). Slowly you watch them arrive on the scene while you’re getting acquainted with the atmosphere, and they’re sweeping the facility. Reaper (Urban) lost his parents on Uldevai in what I assume to be an earlier Doom, and now he’s here to “face his demons” and to rescue his sister. Everyone else starts facing the demons first, though, and instead of the Doom experience (alone in the dark surrounded by monsters, munitions, and medikits) we get a squad-based horror experience. Sarge has the dire situation under control until Portman breaks quarantine procedure, and now Earth is endangered as well. That’s when we get our Doom.

If you’re expecting a Doom experience all the way through the movie, just go play it. For the love of God, just go play it. Doom 3 is something of a good cinematic experience in itself, and has a very rich environment in its story. On top of that, it’s FUCKING scary. But the movie itself does a great job of bringing the Doom environment to life, in the visual style of Doom 3 for those of you who care. And, of course, they put in the memorabilia/paraphernalia of the game, even the floating weapon on display. Anyone who loves the game should love the little bones they throw out (and I’m not talking about gibs). For example, the debate on what BFG stands for has now been resolved (Hint: It’s not Bio Force Gun). Most of the movie is in a horror format though, with an elusive and powerful enemy that highly trained soldiers try and hunt down. That makes it a lot like Aliens, which I think is something of a compliment. To top it all off, neither black guy dies first.

Now for the part where I tell you about everything they failed to do well in the movie. It’s probably an inevitable consequence of writing up a rag-tag squad that you’re gonna end up with soldiers saying some kinda stupid things. I don’t mean the characters say something stupid, but rather the writing of the soldiers is a little stereotypical and/or out of place. I don’t know what can be done about that, except making them just say little to nothing. You also have the unfortunate necessity of scripting in a description and origin of the monsters and research on Uldevai. A thankless job I’d say, as it’s almost impossible to explain demons in a sci-fi setting without sounding a little silly. We don’t get to see hell in this movie, because there really is no material hell. It’s a little Sartrian here: Hell is other (murderous) people. Oh well. Lastly, the ending involved a very un-Doom fistfight. But these flaws are easily overlooked. If you liked the games, or like horror flicks, or like action flicks, or otherwise have interest in seeing this movie, go do it.

I can proudly say it doesn’t suck.

—Duncan Wright

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

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