Review of: Doomsday Review

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Rating:
2
On March 16, 2008
Last modified:October 21, 2017

Summary:

It’s all very well paced, maintaining a break-neck intensity as it transitions between each sci-fi classic set to staccato violin music. But with all the running, Doomsday doesn’t have much of a direction, and it winds up just being an exercise in nostalgia rather than a decent apocalypse movie of its own.

2 out of 5.

When New Line was absorbed last month the question became, “Which movies will survive? Which ones will Warner decide to still make?” One idea that seems to have been nixed already is the Escape from New York remake that has been kicked around here and there. But fans of that potential failure needn’t worry, this weekend’s Doomsday basically pilfered most of it.

When you can’t get Kurt Russell for the “Snake Pliskin” role or Kate Beckinsale to run around in tight clothing fighting creatures of the night, you reach for Rhona Mitra. (Just like they’re doing in Underworld 3, by the way.) Sure she’s beautiful, but she’s had the same facial expression since birth. Even her tough-skinned bad ass girl power attitude is stolen from Ripley in Alien or Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Absolutely nothing original here.

The entire concept of the movie has been lifted from Escape and combined with borrowed elements of the virus-riddled apocalypse city in 28 Days Later and the wild wasteland dwellers of the Mad Max trilogy. It has no identity of its own and is instead a watered down version of all these movies.

If you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned flicks or director Neil Marshall’s earlier work like The Descent, then it’s probably best to pass on this movie lest you taint your fond memories of either. The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that it refuses to be a member of any genre. Instead it skips around from scene to scene showing off its influences and creating no coherent plot or memorable action sequences.

The familiar, poorly-written plot starts with a lengthy voicer over telling us Scotland being walled off from the rest of the world as the Reaper virus tears through the population. 25 years into the future, the virus reemerges in England prompting an elite council to commission Major Sinclair (Mitra) and a team of cookie-cutter military men to make their way into the “hot zone” to discover a cure.

Somehow a mysterious Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell) has found a way to stop the Reaper virus and the elimination of the Scottish people. But the wall has created a lawless country of chaos, inhabited by cannibals and hooligans. They’re a scary looking crew of bloodthirsty savages lead by a crazy punk rock cliche named Sol. It’s all mascara and mohawks though, and soon the crazed masses are assembling in an organized manner to watch Sol yell into a microphone (which somehow works without electricity) and a captured soldier get barbecued alive.

Sinclair is captured and then narrowly escapes (not from New York, believe it or not) before finally discovering Dr. Kane. Then the movie randomly takes a turn to Medieval times, complete with gladiator arenas, knights in plate armor, archers, and bareback horse riding.  I even looked around in the theater to see if anyone knew what the hell was going on.  I wasn’t the only one scratching my head.

Apparently the knights of this Scottish round table are lead by Dr. Kane and are at war with the cannibal army of Sol. Sinclair is caught somewhere in the middle dodging axes with fancy jukes and face-painted gang-bangers with unbelievable driving maneuvers.

It’s all very well paced, maintaining a break-neck intensity as it transitions between each sci-fi classic set to staccato violin music. But with all the running, Doomsday doesn’t have much of a direction, and it winds up just being an exercise in nostalgia rather than a decent apocalypse movie of its own. 2 out of 5.

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