If you haven’t read Stu’s review of the DOOM movie, I suggest reading it first HERE before reading my review. My one will be referencing back to Stu’s a few […]
If you haven’t read Stu’s review of the DOOM movie, I suggest reading it first HERE before reading my review. My one will be referencing back to Stu’s a few times. I’m not going to go fully into the story as Stu has already done that, I’ll just be pointing out certain plot points.
I’m going to start by saying this: The cast for this film is incredible. The Rock, who plays Sarge, Leader of the Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS). He was made for playing roles like this one on paper: He’s the well respected leader of a group of tough marines, he’s intimidating yet approachable, he’s friendly but also stern as you can see by him having to tell his team that their first leave in months is cancelled. He turns the bad attitudes of some of the marines into them falling in line real quick.
Raz Adoti plays Duke, the happy joker of the team who over the course of the film has some really funny lines with his best friend Destroyer (played by Deobia Oparei) who as Stu says is a big man with a big gun. Also in the team is Goat (Ben Daniels), a religious man who seems to enjoy his job, as you can see when Sarge cancels their leave Goat is smiling. The team is also home to Portman (the incredible Richard Brake), who Stu accurately described as a “sleazy loudmouth”. Portman is the character that you know from minute one is going to do some sneaky stuff and will likely meet an unpleasant end. Yao Chin plays Mac (who’s real name, Katsuhiko Kumanosuke Takahashi, I can recite from memory) the strong, silent one. New to the team is The Kid (Al Weaver), fresh-faced and nervous.
Rounding the team is Karl Urban who plays John “Reaper” Grimm, who later does point out “They’re Marines, not poets” when asked about his handle. Reaper is advised to take the leave as their mission will see them going to Olduvai, a research station on Mars where, many years before, John lost his parents in a mining accident.
The film opens with a group of scientists being chased by… something. Whatever is it, it has no qualms about murdering them. At the front of the fleeing pack is Dr. Carmack who in a moment of cowardice manages to de-arm his coworker with a door. He sends out a frantic distress call that ends up being the reason that the RRTS no longer get to go on a well deserved holiday. Turns out they have to pass through The Ark, a portal discovered years before that allows travel to Mars, how convenient! I could use a Tesco Ark so I can get my shopping quicker.
Upon arrival to Mars, a journey that Reaper has decided to come along for to “face his demons”, they notice that things are a lot more suspicious than they first thought. They seal off the Ark so nothing gets back to Earth, they give the cowardly Pinky (their eyes on the screen) a gun and set off. After meeting Samantha Grimm, who you might notice has a very familiar name (omg she’s Reaper’s sister?! okay so it’s not that big a deal), she informs them that there is some research that she has to collect. The team is split to look for survivors and to look for the research and the team is whittled down by one when Goat is killed in the sewers by an Imp.
The whole scene falls apart around the team as Reaper discovers that the scientists on Mars had been doing human experiments around an extra chromosome found in the Martian natives that gave some of them enhanced abilities and others it turned into monsters, which explains the horrible beasts slowly picking the team off one by one. They discover that the chromosome enhances good people and latches on to the inner anger and psychopathy of others. Basically put: If you’re a good person deep down – You get superhuman. If you’re a bad, evil guy – You’re gonna end up looking like a monster.
The team takes many hits: Goat comes back to life but is slowly becoming a demon, he realises this and takes his own life a second time to protect his team. Mac is beheaded out of nowhere, Portman is killed in the toilet, as he sends off a call for reinforcements against Sarge’s orders, by a Hell Knight while Pinky watches in amusement (as did I because Portman is gross), Destroyer’s death is truly sad as he goes hand to hand with the Hell Knight and very nearly wins (also the scene where Duke finds out is actually really sad too). A demon gets past Pinky and travels through the Ark, breaking the quarantine that they hoped would protect the Earth.
Sarge, The Kid, Reaper, Sam and Duke go through the Ark and find that a lot of people have been killed, everything is bad. All of this pushes Sarge to snap and come to a fairly evil conclusion: “We kill ’em all. Let God sort ’em out.” Yup, Sarge wants to kill everyone who was in the facility who went through the Ark as now any of them could be infected. The Kid finds a group of hidden survivors and reports back that while terrified, they are uninfected. Sarge tells him to kill them but The Kid refuses to murder people who are just innocent and scared so Sarge puts a bullet into The Kid’s throat for insubordination. This is the defining moment for Reaper, he realises that Sarge is too far gone. The group end up in a standoff that end when Pinky, finally getting a spine enough to draw his gun, is dragged away by a Hell Knight. They are attacked and Duke is killed through the floor, after a lot of genuinely nice interactions with Samantha her reaction feels real. Sarge is grabbed by demons and dragged off and Reaper and Sam escape but thanks to a nanowall (which I also won’t try to explain) Reaper ends up with a bullet in his gut.
Sam injects him with the C24 Chromosome and when he awakes we get to my favourite scene in pretty much any film: The First Person scene: Reaper realises Sam is missing and goes looking for her. We see through his eyes as he takes down imps, Hell Knights and an infected Pinky with his new enhanced reactions and strength. This scene is amazing because it really echos the games, the enemies are coming thick and fast, the gunfighting is crisp, the demons look great and like Stu said, it ends just before the novelty wears off.
Sarge makes his return when Reaper finds Sam and it becomes apparent he’s infected and not in the Good John Grimm kind of way. The two end up in a fist fight that feels meaty and STRONG and Sarge, in his final moments of humanity, impales Reaper’s hand with some metal but Reaper re-actives the Ark and throws an ST Grenade in after him, destroying the facility and Sarge’s gross demon face too. Reaper and Sam head back up the elevator, back to an Earth that will likely never know what happened on Mars, which is probably for the best.
NOW TO DISCUSS WHY THIS MOVIE IS GREAT.
The truth is: It’s not. Once you get past the thought that this film will be at the top of the pantheon of Video Game movies, it’s actually incredibly enjoyable. The characters are memorable, the film takes a lot of notes from DOOM 3 (which I know wasn’t the GOOD Doom game) in it’s pacing, tone and visuals. The demons are all equally gross and intimidating. The plot doesn’t need to be deep because nobody plays DOOM for a deep storyline, let’s be honest. The film has a lot of fun with itself, from the first person scene to the comical foreshadowing of the character of Pinky, one of the demons in the game.
The cast all gave their all to their roles, even Mac who wasn’t given much screentime sadly. If you find a copy of the DVD or BluRay then please watch all the work that went into making them a team, including a hilarious behind the scenes look of Deobia Oparei being taught how to fire a minigun without flinching. The violence in the film is gory and squishy, just like the games. even John Carmack, Co-creator of the Doom games, said “I liked it. Nobody expects a video game movie to be Oscar material, but I thought it was a solid action movie with lots of fun nods to the gaming community.“
I genuinely feel like people will not like this film because of the fact the DOOM name is attached and yes, if you remove the word DOOM from the name then you could actually have a totally different film, it would just be a monster movie set on Mars. The thing is though, the DOOM games are goofy. You spend your whole time just running face first into demons and turning them into red, bloody paste. You can’t make a movie of that. You’d lose interest after 10 minutes. They needed to add a story and do something new to keep people watching. I like what they did and I appreciate that they put a lot of thought into the film. You should go into this film with a friend and spend the whole time poking light fun at it and just try and enjoy it as a film that doesn’t often take itself seriously, that might change people’s view of the movie a little bit.
All in all I’d say this film is a lot of fun, a great film for fans of any of the cast, a great film for fans of shooting demons and fans of films that could have been better but most definitely could have been WAY worse.
I rate it: