Doom – a tale of two eyebrows and Karl Urban

14 Jul

I was acutely aware that I hadn’t posted anything in a while so I went off to a second-hand shop to peruse their DVDs – they had such gems as ‘NYC Tornado Terror’, ‘Metal Tornado’ (and various other weather-related-peril movies).  However, despite this, I thought I’d go for something with a budget this time.  I ended up buying Twilight and Doom – spending a total of £1.75.  A quick vote on twitter revealed that people aren’t quite so evil as I thought – Doom won over Twilight.

I was never a huge fan of Doom as a kid. I played a wee bit of it but I could never get into it. I didn’t like the feel of it, I didn’t understand what the hell was happening, squares that looked vaguely like monsters were coming towards you, green things on the floor hurt you…  Everything you did made ‘UGH’ noises.  I died a lot.  I don’t really know why I’m explaining this given I assume I had about as much of a grasp of the plot as anyone else.  Later on, I played Doom3…for about 10 minutes.  I turned it off because I can’t say I’m a big fan of screaming my head off and shooting at literally everything that moves in case it tries to kill me.

Anyhoo, with that disclaimer out of the way…

It’s 2026, archeologists have discovered a portal to mars (as you do).  They experiment with stuff.  Shit goes down.  There’s lots of running along metal corridors, screaming.  Skip ahead and we meet The Rock’s elite team of killing machines – one of whom seems to be playing an Atari Lynx.  It’s 2026 and this is the height of portable gaming?  A white brick?  Wow.

Karl Urban is told to take the leave he’s been offered because they’re going to ‘Olduvai’ to investigate the distress call from aforementioned screaming runners. He decides he’s man enough to go back – there’s no explanation as to why he wouldn’t want to go back but hey.  The guns identifying their user by a nickname is a bit odd but that’s how we find out their names.  The Rock is imaginatively titled “Sarge” and Karl Urban is “Reaper”.

There’s a lovely example of the challenging dialogue in the transporter scene – “If it’s trying to kill ya, it’s a threat.”  Well, thanks for that clarification.  There’s also a bit of an odd build-up to Karl Urban’s character meeting a woman on Mars – I got the impression she was going to be his ex girlfriend or something.  I’m not really sure why the writers went with this ambiguous build-up.  Her name’s Samantha Grimm.  She’s his sister, not the love interest.  Grim Reaper?  Get it?  See what they did there?  Clever.

Karl Urban

Hello

At this point I decide to crack open some Hoegarden and figure out that Karl Urban is hot. Trust me, this is more interesting than what is happening in the film at this point.  Apparently it makes perfect sense to send a doctor down to investigate wearing white skinny jeans and a blue fitted shirt while everyone else is armed with fuck-off guns and armour.  I reckon I’d be slightly worried if I were her!

The Rock and his crazy eyes discover the armoury but sadly the BFG is under lock and key.  Apparently BFG stands for Bio Force Gun? I thought it meant…oh, never mind.

The Rock

Look at those eyes

Meanwhile, back with the Grimm family, there’s some debate about reopening the archaeological dig where they found some alien humanoid remains. He’s a soldier with a caring and tortured past, don’t you know?  Turns out the aliens were super-human – smarter, fitter, stronger and everything else from that Kanye West song. Apparently they have extra chromosomes and everything!  Someone pipes up with “If they were so smart how come they’re so dead?” Oh man, the writing in this is awesome.

They find the doctor who raised the alarm in the first place cowering in a corner clutching a severed hand. He umm…pulls his ear off in panic or joy at being rescued, I guess.  I know that’s the first thing I want to do when I get rescued from certain death…

Elsewhere, creepy guy is creepy, young and stupid guy is young and stupid, together they find a naked woman standing about in a locker room in the buff, a scientist eating his lab rats, and a monkey – all of which they shoot 7 shades of shit out of…

There’s a growing sense of ‘Something’s a bit wrong here’ – not as much as you’d expect, but clearly people in movies are slow on the uptake.  They take Van Gogh to the lab and discover he has weird lumps in his blood (it’s fairly gross and god knows how they got it through the needle) and is turning into some kind of wrinkled old man.

They end up in a sewer with one of the creatures running around.  Oh Karl, you look especially good when lit from the side in a darkened sewer. Wait they have sewers on Mars? When will people in movies learn that sewers are not a good place to go looking for creepy things? One of the team is attacked by a lumpy creature and ends up with a parasite in his neck.  Lovely.  Well, he’s a goner then.

There’s a lot of The Rock standing about waggling his eyebrows and staring crazily at things – so much so that I start considering that there may be an acting school specifically for eyebrows.  It seems to be the height of his acting capabilities.  Don’t get me wrong, I like some good eyebrow action but I don’t really believe the plot should depend on it.

Insert lots of running along corridors, eyebrow action, screaming, and people turning into crazed monsters until people realise that there really isn’t much chance of them containing this problem.  The rock shows his nice side and goes on a killing spree – which is a big hint as to what’s going to happen now.

At this point I get bored and go off to buy a Pogoplug on ebay.  More stuff happens.  Yawn.  At some point here the action kicks off but frankly, it’s too little too late.

Things do perk up briefly when Urban shoots himself accidentally (by the looks of things) and Blonde Doctor gives him the Chromosome 24 to save his life. Luckily, he’s not got a shred of evil about him (hah) and he just turns into a super-human version of himself – we get a nice first person view of him killing tons of evil people set to metal music. Why wasn’t the rest of the film like this? There’s even a bit where someone raises an axe to kill him, is shot, and the axe falls in their head. Yes!

Oh, he’s going to fight a super-human version of The Rock in hand-to-hand combat. No one saw that coming!  Blah blah, fighting, blah….

Ta da!  The world is saved.

Overall, Doom is… acceptable.  It’s not dire, and it was never going to be world-changing, but it’s nothing more than forgettable – so much so that I’ll probably forget how ‘meh’ it is and watch it again in the future.  For now though – while it’s still fresh – I’d say it’s ‘ok’.  I can’t really think of a better term for it – the writing is terrible, the plot is merely ok, the acting is patchy at best, and the action (the one thing you’d think they’d get right) isn’t great either.  I mean, the game wasn’t exactly overly-endowed with a plot but they could have done a bit more with it.  There could have been more explosions, or better weapons or something…

I’d say 3 missing chromosomes out of 5 at best – and 2 of those are for the first-person scene at the end.

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