Updated: Nov 15, 2019
You know, I was going to write a nice little intro piece about the Doom videogames. Go into their story a bit from the very first game to the present day titles. Normally, I’d get that opening spiel (or a rough version of it) typed up ready, before watching the movie. Luckily, I didn’t do that this time as it would have been a complete waste of effort on my part considering what a failure this movie was.
Before I get into why I disliked it though, I’ll give a brief rundown of the plot by starting with the official description that claims the movie “Follows a group of UAC Marines as they respond to a distress call from a top secret scientific base on Phobos, a Martian moon, only to discover it's been overrun by demons who threaten to create Hell on Earth.”
Well, our band of plucky and terribly clichéd marines aren’t answering a distress call, they’re being sent to the Martian moon of Phobos as a form of punishment due to their Lieutenant disobeying orders on a prior mission. As they’re approaching the scientists on the Phobos base are testing out an ancient teleporter that they unearthed when things go wrong. The marines arrive to find the power is out and head in to investigate. Once inside the UAC base they encounter…
That official text up there states the place has been “overrun by demons.”
There are some zombies to start with, but I’m guessing that they only had limited make-up or costumes as you never really see more than two on-screen at the same time. Usually, you just see one attack someone by biting them in the neck, then we see a shot of another attack someone, in the same neck biting fashion. Occasionally you get to see two of them running together, both in the same shot.
Eventually, the demons do show up, but again I’m going to go out on a limb here by presuming that they only had the one costume because I’m sure that we only ever see the demon(s) one at a time.
So, “overrun” is kind of stretching it.
Presumably, the demons are supposed to be the Imps from the video game series as occasionally they do throw a fireball, but they’re not very effective. In fact, they don’t so much as throw them as, more sort of power them up like a crap version of Goku’s Kamehameha from the Dragonball series. One chap gets a fireball in the face and although he does die from his injuries, said injuries look more like some jam was splashed on his cheeks and forehead a little bit.
The film is so bad and clichéd that there is even a marine who, toward the start of the movie, messages his family to tell them the this will be his last mission and that he’s going to retire after this. Wow. I haven’t seen that one being rolled out in a while. He’ll be dead within the next twenty minutes or so then.
Ok. I know I’m being fairly harsh here and they did get a few things right at the start of the movie.
They were at least experimenting with teleporters as they did in the games and not messing around with DNA as they did in the 2005 movie that starred The Rock and Karl Urban. There were plenty of references being thrown about all over the place with reckless abandon, like an over-exuberant aunt with a handful of confetti at a wedding, such as the coloured key-cards and the double-barrelled shot-gun. Hell, even B J Blaskowicz from the Wolfenstein game series gets referenced, albeit as a corpse, which is a bit of a waste for a guy who killed a mech-suit wearing, Adolf Hitler.
I admit I digressed a bit there but you only get so many opportunities to write “mech-suit wearing, Adolph Hitler.” And I wanted to make the most of it.
I think the main problem with this and the 2005 movie, is that they keep trying to give Doom a plot when it doesn’t need one. Look at the latest game. The Doom-slayer gets awoken during a demonic incursion and proceeds to kill every demon he encounters in the bloodiest way possible. It’s a fun, fast based and action-packed, visceral stress reliever. But this movie? This movie commits the worst crime a movie can by being boring.
I can tolerate all manner crap in a movie but to bore the audience within 20 - 30 minutes and to keep them bored for the next hour, wondering when it will it end? That’s just a complete failure for me.
The thing is. No one intends to make a bad movie. So bad it’s fun is one thing and that’s fine when someone is going for that. But so bad it’s barely watchable is something else. And it really is a shame because there was a chance to do something, if not great, then at least over-the-top and entertaining. The cast makes an attempt and tries to get through as best they can, especially Amy Mason (Once Upon a Time) who plays Lieutenant Joan Dark. She makes a pretty good go of it at times but the lacklustre attempt at a story just hampers the whole thing.
There’re marines fighting zombies, and demons that weren’t there a moment ago are popping up from behind them. The same lame attempt at a jump scare (something runs in front of the camera and the music goes loud for a second) gets used twice in the space of ten minutes and there is zero reason to invest in anything that’s going on, or in any of the characters. I’m struggling now to even recall the names of any of the characters beyond the aforementioned Joan Dark.
This felt like a movie that had been made after the release of the first Doom game back in 1993. A time when video game movie tie-ins were things like 1993’s Super Mario Bros or 1995’s Mortal Kombat. We may have tolerated it back then, but now? We can do so much better than this.
This was so bad, it made me wish I was watching the 2005 Doom movie instead, and that’s not something anyone should have to experience.