Review: “Doom”

Back in the early 90’s, “Doom” came like a breath of fresh air to the world of the quickly developing computer gaming industry. The first person shooter, a darker and more demonic interpretation of the simpler “Wolfenstein 3D” game from a short while before it, was something unique and different from anything on the market – the result helped it mark a niche in pop culture that’s looked back on fondly by members of my generation who were teens at the time. “Doom” the movie however will not be looked backed on with such a warm and rosy feeling because it certainly lacks the qualities which made the game so popular – uniqueness and originality.

“Doom” essentially plays like a mish-mashed hybrid of “Aliens”, “Resident Evil”, “Ghosts of Mars”, “Stargate” and “Alien vs. Predator”. Various scenes in fact are direct lifts from the above said films to the point that one wonders if some copyright laws were breached. The monsters of the film, created from genetic hogwash rather than demonic depths, truly look like old model cast-offs from HR Giger’s workshop – the only addition being an ejectable tongue which is more “Elm Street” in nature.

That said as game adaptations go, this is one of the better ones. Admittedly the bar in this genre is set VERY low, but its certainly not the disaster it could have been. Its best described as not as good as the first “Resident Evil” but better than second, and the other way around compared with the “Tomb Raider” films. The Rock and Karl Urban are decent fun, Bartkowiak directs with some flare and decent R-rated gore, a few good original ideas pop up every now and then such as the nano-wall, and the first-person perspective sequence is a truly great action scene.

Effects are predictably CG looking, but for a film of this type that’s expected. Its good to see the editors didn’t lean too much on quick cut MTV style editing, but they did shell out for a crap ass soundtrack. In all other aspects though the movie is just utter garbage. Plenty of dumb people walking down many a dark and wet corridor and yet there’s no suspense because we don’t give a rat’s ass. The attempted backstory to two key characters is laughable, an all too predictable plot reversal leads to a yawn-inducing fist fight climax, and ultimately many of the ideas brought up are never explored.

An insipidly stupid action movie one can forgive, hell studios run on that sort of stuff, the trouble is when adapting such a well-known property one would hope for something at least entertaining. For the tight demographic of young boys the film is targeted at, I’m sure they’ll probably get some enjoyment out of the balls out action onscreen. The minimalist approach to the script does work in favour of those with limited attention spans. For the rest of us, what we get is nearly two hours of wishing we were at home playing with our joysticks.