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Doom’ a mindlessly bad sci-fi action film

Trevor Gass | Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It’s “Doom.” The movie. You don’t go to see it for its complex and engaging storyline. Or its well developed, loveable characters. Or its fresh, original concept. Most importantly, you certainly will not go see it because this review said it was worthy of your six dollars.

Take a less than mediocre premise (genetics science experiment gone wrong), a crew of terribly written marines (including everybody’s favorite, The Rock), throw them on Mars with an arsenal of fully automatic weapons and unleash the mutated zombie monsters.

The original Doom computer game created by the masterminds at Id Software in 1992 was a huge success despite the non-existent storyline. The groundbreaking game engine and addictive replay kept gamers rooted at their computer screens for hours on end.

The more recent release of the game Doom 3 incorporated a functioning storyline (scientists opening portals to Hell) to accompany the game’s blood splattering antics.

What does “Doom” the movie have in common with the gaming franchise? Not much.

The movie could have been written as a generic sub-par science fiction/horror script with a few references from the games thrown in as lame attempts at justifying the use of the Doom name. The few parallels that do exist occur with the incorporation of a handful of monsters from the Doom universe and the legendary BFG9000, which stands for BioForce Gun, among other colorful interpretations of the acronym.

Beyond these points, this film could have been released under another name and no one would have been the wiser.

For hardcore fans of the Doom games or mindless bloody violence, the film might hold some redeeming value. Seeing the BFG in action was definitely one of the cooler parts in the movie. However, it only happened twice.

As for the bloody violence department, the substandard action is drowned out by terrible execution. It could be more entertaining to sit in the theater placing bets on who dies next than actually following the story.

The entire middle portion of the movie amounts to just that: the crew of marines being killed one by one as they fumble through the darkness while managing to trip over every horror movie cliché they can find. At times, simply watching is painful.

Sticking heads up into the dark air vent? Check. Chase the killer monster into the dark sewer? Check. Split up the marines whenever possible? “Doom” has got it covered.

Most of the characters die before audiences get a chance to know them. Those who do stick around long enough to develop their stereotyped, one-dimensional personalities do nothing but prolong the painful viewing experience.

Most of the movie involves watching marines run back and forth through the same three hallways, shooting at badly rendered computer generated monsters while spouting off profanity and terrible one-liners.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, the screenwriters decided that it would be a good idea to end the movie with a Kung Fu battle. What? Kung Fu has nothing to do with Doom.

The only innovative point of the movie occurred when the camera switched to a first person perspective. This is one aspect where the movie is faithful to the game, though the novelty wears off quickly. The effect was refreshing but nothing especially spectacular.

All in all, if expectations are set at an appropriately low level, audiences might not be too disappointed, though if given the choice, not going at all is probably the better option.