continuing the tradition of one word video game movies is doom, starring the rock. this is one of the few video game adaptations where i’ve actually played the game. in the world of first-person shooters, doom is kind of like citizen kane or die hard. most adolescence males (regardless of age) in the 90s have probably played it at one point or another. mountain dew optional. i have fond memories of playing either doom or doom ii on my first computer, probably a 386 or 486 til the break of dawn.
obviously i’ve grown and matured since then. instead of staying up late to play video games, i now stay up late to watch movies like doom and write about them.
though i have played the game, i have pretty low expectation going in. other than the overall negative responses, doom: the movie is actually based more on the expansion pack ultimate doom, and the doom reboot doom 3. another warning sign is that it’s directed by cinematographer turned director andrzej bartkowiak, the murderer/manslaughter who’s at least partly responsible for the death of seagal and jet li’s hollywood career. in addition to romeo must die, cradle 2 the grave, and exit wounds, he somehow managed to get another job directing another video game movie: street fighter: the legend of chun-li.
on the other hand, maybe the whole idea of doing a movie based on a first-person shooter is DOOMed in the first place (requisite pun completed). other that the opening movie and a few cut scenes, most people play fps for the action. sure, a story may be nice but it’s the purest form of cutting to the chase. you don’t usually even see your character except for the hands and the weapons he’s holding. and fps fans are fine with it. to make a movie out of something that’s already lean and mean to begin with means that they would have to inevitably add things like characters, background, and a plot. and unlike games, you don’t get to control what’s going on, or skip the non-playable parts. it’s less entertaining than watching someone else playing a video game.
that’s a pretty accurate description of doom: the movie. except maybe i’ll change it to it’s less entertaining than watching someone play a bad video game. in fact, the rock’s character has a line that sums up this movie for me: “i didn’t see shit. and i ain’t paid to see shit.”
what they came up with is that some shit went down on a science research facility on mars and the rock and his team are sent there to investigate. that’s pretty much it. on top of that standard scifi movie premise, the team also consists of stereotypes such as the hardass leader, the hero with some kind of family issue, the religious guy, the pervy guy, although this time they have two black guys, instead of one. a big deal is made about the ark travel, which is just the transporter from star trek, with an unfortunate name. unfortunate because it reminds me of stargate, which is my pick of the worst movie of whatever year it came out. (i would have typed that in to imdb to find out but i hate that piece of shit).
i haven’t played doom 3 or ultimate doom but it kind of takes the fun out of things when there’s a whole team instead of just one guy like in the game. and they decided to go with a ragtag team instead of a team of professionals. i was thinking that maybe the team members get killed off one by one like in serial killer movies and the rock is the last man standing and guns down aliens and monsters but no, most of the team members live pretty far into the movie. i guess they deserve a little credit by not having one of the black guy die first.
i was unfortunate enough to get the unrated version of the movie, which is thirteen minutes longer than the theatrical version. the whole first half of the movie is just an endless loop of people walking in dark places, turning corners, holding guns with light bulbs attached. in a real movie, those scenes would probably have taken maybe 15-20 minutes. i don’t think i am exaggerating when i say that nothing happens in the first half of the movie.
by the time the second half finally rolls around, after what feels like hours, you realize that instead of the monster/alien movie that the game should have inspired, it’s more of a zombie movie. instead of one guy facing hordes of monsters, it’s a whole team facing a few predator look-a-alikes that turns human into zombies. i guess they don’t get zombie movies in the future. so we have to go through the usual zombie movie cliches. it’s definitely not a movie for fans of the game. nor fans of movies in general. on the other hand, if you’ve never seen a zombie movie before, or any scifi movies, you may like it. doom is so boring and dreary that it makes the resident evil movies look good (yes, even the third one). though to be fair, they do have milla jovovich.
a lot of reviews mentioned the opening universal logo and the first person point of view sequence as the high points of doom. i think they are just trying to cling to the silver lining of doom. the toying of the studio logo to fit the movie has been done numerous times before. it’s mildly entertaining here but no one would have mentioned it had the movie been any good.
as for the fps sequence, it comes near the end of the movie, following an hour and a half of non-events. i guess it’s supposed to make me happy that it’s something from the games. but at this point in the movie, it feels more like pandering and contractual than brilliance. to me, they are pretty much saying, “here you go game nerds, here’s hat you’ve been waiting for, it’s just like the game, here’s the damn chainsaw, here’s your bfg, so you game nerds won’t revolt against this crappy movie.”
and for fuck sake, how do you make a doom movie starring the rock with a fps sequence not from the point of view of the rock’s character?
they also repeat the same fps sequence during the end credit, where the names of the cast and crew are shot to pieces by a gun. whoooo talk about excitement. although the end credit sequence is set to a remix of nine inch nail’s you know what you are, so that’s a tiny point right there. trent reznor worked on the music for quake, another fps game from the company that made the doom games. a more doom-ish song choice may have been big man with a gun, demon seed, or help me i’m in hell, but hey i’m not complaining, it’s hard to find things to like in this movie, i’ll take pleasure wherever i can.
considering what they are given to work with, the rock and karl urban come out pretty unscathed. even though the rock was nominated for a razzie for this movie, i don’t think he was bad. but that’s the problem with the razzies, they pick on big stars who happened to be in bad movies, instead of picking actual bad performances. i also like the twist in the climax for the rock’s character. it’s kind of ironic that the highlight of a fps movie turns out to be hand to hand combat.
doom has essentially a first act that’s stretched out to 45 minutes and a mildly amusing final 20 minutes. it’s not necessary for me to name all the classic/better movies that it ripped off. i will say that no halfway decent movie should make you yearn for the quality of any works by paul w.s. anderson. i don’t feel as much hatred for it as say, indy 4 or the last airbender but it’s one of the most boring movie i’ve seen in a long time. it’s not bad or so-bad-it’s-good. it’s pure boredom.
doom is the second worst movie of 2005, right behind the dukes of hazzard movie with stifler and jessica simpson. interestingly, stifler and the rock co-starred in two better movies together, the entertaining the rundown and the so-wtf-it’s-interesting southland tales.
there’s talk of a 3D reboot of doom on the way, apparently because g.i. joe: rise of the cobra did well at the box office. the rock (and bruce willis) will appear in the g.i. joe sequel. i will never understand why anyone would want a 3D doom movie, since it’s available as a game and playing it will probably be way more fun. and when did the rock turn into a franchise rescuer?