J.D. Lafrance
Doom Unrated Extended Edition DVD Review

Doom Unrated Extended Edition

March 30, 2006

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak,
Starring: The Rock, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Deobia Oparei, Ben Daniels, Razaaq Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Dexter Fletcher, Brian Steele, Yao Chin, Robert Russell, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again, just when will The Rock get a decent film to launch his acting career? Schwarzenegger had Terminator, Willis had Die Hard, and the Rock… well, he has Walking, um, The Run.. no, wait.

He has nothing.

Doom by the way, is not his ‘breakthrough’ film.

On a similar, but less optimistic note, how many more video game movies are we gonna get? Street Fighter and Mario Brothers should have killed the idea dead. Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider hardly suggested they were onto a winner, and Resident Evil just made us yearn for those original Romero movies, where everything was a little less polished but somehow made the point they were trying for.

It’s only really AVP that’s come close to being watchable, and that’s a movie based on a video game, based on a graphic novel, based on a movie. So that’s kind of come full circle anyway.

Doom is very much your video game movie, and it plays on it. In fact, the proverbial money shot of the film is a very entertaining couple of minutes played from the POV of the game player, where various nasties are dispersed and blind corners are navigated. This is very much the highlight of the film though.

The basis of Doom, as any PC video gamer knows, is that a portal to a Hell dimension has opened and very unpleasant things are spewing forward threatening to consume all life. Only one man and his very large gun collection can stop them, except in the film it’s a team of men purely so they can be picked off one by one so as to breath tension into the proceedings.

Also it’s no longer a Hell dimension, it’s all due to genetic engineering, but these are mere details. The fact of the matter is some nasties need destroying and the marines are called in to be gung ho and shoot things.

Led by The Rock, the marines are very much ripped straight out of other, better movies. You’ll recognise Mac from Predator, Hudson from Aliens and so forth. The only slightly interesting piece of characterisation is that the Rock himself isn’t as straight laced as he first appears, and succumbs to the pressure of the mission.

This works out quite well actually, as you’ll find yourself questioning his decisions long before he shows signs of cracking. Is he sending his marines out in groups of two, despite the presence of a huge violent monster, because he’s losing control, or because it’s an obvious plot device to allow the marines to be picked off?

My guess is the latter, but then I’m a cynic.

The pattern of the film is fairly mundane as well. Marines run around for ten minutes, monster jumps out, someone dies… repeat. It’s a recipe that fast becomes stale, and is livened only by the increasing size and violent nature of the monsters involved.

In fact, Doom is a bit of an oddity. It’s not so violent that it can be considered a horror, and doesn’t stand up to films of that genre, yet it’s certainly not aimed at young teens that would normally wish to see the Rock’s movies. For example, the Rock actually executes on of his own soldiers for failing to follow his sadistic orders!

It seems to fall somewhere in between the two audiences, yet appeases neither.

It’s a shame, because had they made their mind up what the film was supposed to be they could have had something quite decent on their hands. The Rock certainly has that potential, and the Doom franchise has the latent audience, but not with this film.

Special Features:

The DVD has the usual array of mini documentaries that are more advertising than informative.

There is a nice little piece on the film’s money shot POV scene entitled ‘First Person Shooter Sequence’. This is what the game fans will be most interested in seeing.

The other short films are less interesting showing the usual weapons training for the cast, effects sequences and a history of the video game itself.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 73%



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