– Summary –
Director : Andrzej Bartkowiak
Year Of Release : 2005
Principal Cast : The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Al Weaver, Raz Adoti, Ben Daniels, Richard Brake, Dexter Fletcher.
Synopsis: A group of highly trained soldiers must travel to Mars and rescue a group of scientists who’ve gone missing inside a science complex. Cue spooky dark corridors, plentiful ambiance in the key of terror, and cool looking weapons being fired at anything that moves.
What we think : Based on the iconic First Person Shooter game of the same name, Doom has plenty of nods to the original concept and even throws in a five minute POV sequence in glorious widescreen format.
It’s a safe bet that walking into a film like Doom, much like the Resident Evil franchise, you kinda know what you’re gonna get. Filled with the same death-dealing hubris as the female-led Resident Evil saga, Doom is based around the ultra-successful PC game series of the same name, and it knows it. The style of the film replicates the 3D-style of the original game series, with the monsters and set design all perfectly replicating the design we saw back when the series kicked off. The cast, a bunch of square-jawed muscle-bound “actors” led by The Rock (now known by his original name, Dwayne Johnson), all have their own part to play – namely, lugging around those inordinately enormous weapons. The script doesn’t dwell on character development at all (thankfully… I mean, who wants to watch a shoot-’em-up film where people.. you know… emote?) but delivers plenty of irrelevant dialogue getting the story in place. Perhaps the screenwriters decided that the game itself didn’t have enough depth to it (those idiots!) and felt they needed to have a reason to send blokes into a confined area with enormous guns. And the reason gradually becomes more and more complex as the film progresses.
From the growling, thunderous opening sequence, to the gunfire-fuelled finale, and everything in between, Doom isn’t subtle. It’s a low-fi B-grader, but is filmed and produced like an A-lister event: The Rock does a great job with an early film role, solidly transforming himself from All-American Good Guy into a dark and threatening psychopath by the end of the film, but he’s ably outshone by New Zealand’s Karl Urban. Urban, who most will remember from Lord Of The Rings (and a bit-role in The Bourne Supremacy) does his best to equal the imposing form of The Rock, and I think he’s actually the better actor here – still, his arc with his estranged sister (the completely baffling inclusion of Rosamund Pike, doing her best to sound intelligent but coming off as weak and ineffectual) is the key weak link in the film. There’s simply too much backstory to cover here, which might sound strange for a film about boys with guns and genetically amplified monsters, but the weight of an unnesseccary storyline hampers the tension, resulting in a “Shock, gasp, plot twist” that doesn’t generate anything other than a yawn from the viewer. The production values, especially the dead-on set design, are superb, and the effects range from good to pretty decent – but it’s hard to evaluate when most of the film is set in shadowy, dimly lit darkness. Former cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak (who lensed Speed, Prizzi’s Honour and Terms Of Endearment, among others, before moving into the directors chair) gives Doom the cheeky testosterone flavour it needed, with plenty of angular camera shots highlighting the muscles and sweat on our heroes. Doom is a film based on a computer game, and everything that implies should be taken into consideration by anybody viewing this for the first time. It’s fun, frivolous, and forgettable by the end, but it wastes a few hours and for that I guess we can be thankful.