Starring Karl Urban, The Rock, Rosamund Pike, DeObia Oparei, Ben Daniels, Raz Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Dexter Fletcher, Brian Steele, Yao Chin, Robert Russell, Daniel York, Ian Hughes, Sara Houghton, Blanka Jarasova and Doug Jones.
Screenplay by David Calliham and Wesley Strick.
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak.
Distributed by Universal Pictures. 100 minutes. Rated R.
There are very few things in the world more boring than watching someone else play a video game. Except, perhaps, watching a video game that no one is playing. This is why movies based on XBox or Play Station favorites never work.
Doubt that statement? Okay, let’s run down the rogues gallery. Resident Evil. Mortal Kombat. Super Mario Brothers. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Bloodrayne. Alone in the Dark. There are others, too, all of which my mind is mercifully blocking out.
Was there even one in that list that was any good? Tomb Raider was the only one that came close because it tried to graft a storyline onto the game, and even it was far from a masterpiece. Add into to that motley list the latest attempt at the conversion from arcade to multiplex: Doom.
The story of Doom – if there really is a story here – is that a group of soldiers from Mars have to go to a settlement that has been attacked. This protection essentially consists of shooting a lot of mutant monsters. The film is even self-consciously precious about its origins – twice in the opening scenes, the mission is referred to as a game.
They make vague attempts to give the soldiers personalities – or at least types – before offering them up as alien bait. We have the stoic sarge, the good soldier, the athlete, the tough guy from the hood, the pervert, the religious one, the brainy Asian, the beautiful-but-repressed female scientist, the green rookie… you get the idea.
The movie is so lazy in its storytelling that at some points they don’t even bother to pretend it is anything but a game. The audience is behind a gun blowing away mutants. In one section towards the end, we go about five minutes literally following the gun as it shoots things which jump out at us. Problem is, without the trigger in your hand it’s all rather boring. Video games are interactive. That’s why they are fun. If you just sit back and watch the mayhem it gets rather silly. (2/06)
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 5, 2006.