|Copyright 2005 Universal Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 1 March 2008
- Reaper (John Grimm) - He is the only normal person in the whole Marine squad. OK, maybe being deathly afraid of archeology is not normal...
- Samantha Grimm - John's sister. I cannot decide if she looks more like a deer in the headlights or a panic-stricken mouse.
- Duke - He really needed to go out on more dates, because his idea of expressing romantic interest in a girl can be described in two words: ferocious begging. Dies Pvt. Hudson style.
- Destroyer - The squad's minigun operator. He hates monkeys. There is a mathematical equation to explain this situation. Monkeys minus minigun = no monkeys. Beaten to a pulp by a monster.
- Corporal Portman - He is the worst, and the oldest, corporal of Marines that I have ever seen. Smashed.
- The Kid - Everyone else is issued huge weapons, but he is forced to use a pair of bolt pistols. Man, it is always hard being the FNG.
- Goat - Talk about a bundle of contradictions. He is religious to the point of self-mutilation, a career Marine, and possesses the malignant EVIL gene in his DNA, but is also principled enough to destroy himself when evil starts taking over his body. Oh, and his combat nickname is Goat. This man was better off dead, because his life did not make sense.
- Mac - His birth certificate was printed on a legal-sized piece of paper. Loses his head.
- Pinky - A freak accident turned him into an unholy mashup of human and Segway. Yet another freak accident turned him into a naked mole rat from Hell.
- Sarge - The Rock! Maybe it is just me, but I fail to understand why the best special operations team in the world is being led by a noncommissioned officer who can only speak in military catchphrases. Is it really that hard to find a leader who is intelligent, capable of adapting to the situation, and possesses some measure of human decency?
- Dr. Carmack - Head of the United Aerospace Corporation (UAC) research team. He spent his whole life earning degrees in higher learning and putting money in an IRA so that he could retire in comfort. It is too bad that Dr. Carmack turns into a monster that looks like a bipedal piece of General Tso's chicken. Then a bald-headed, tattooed right-winger (who probably blows his entire paycheck on protein supplements and hookers) shoots the poor doctor in the head, with a completely unnecessary Desert Eagle .50 caliber handgun, no less.
|I loved the "DOOM" and "DOOM II" video games. I even upgraded my computer so that I could play "DOOM." It was a 486/33 with only 4 MB of RAM, and I remember being frustrated when the system slowed down. One minute everything would be fine, then the display would stutter and freeze (though the audio continued). By the time the computer caught back up to rendering the nightmare pixels of Phobos an Imp would be right in my face, scratching the heck out of me. The difference between 4 MB of RAM and 8 MB of RAM was one dead Doom Marine, and one very frustrated live Marine.
Something I loved about the games was the triple mix of high tech, sweat and blood, and the suffering-filled realm of demons and devils that everyone recognizes as Hell itself. A movie based on the game was a fantastic chance to mix horror and action, much like they did in "Aliens" (but heavier on the horror in this case). Unfortunately, movies adapted from video games always start out with two strikes against them. One of those strikes is that screenwriters always make changes to intrinsic elements of the story. Why? Why do they do that? The whole reason they are basing the movie off of the game is that it resonated with people. Casting aside a cornerstone of the game seems like an awful idea.
What I am griping about intimately applies to what they did to "DOOM." I will explain in a few paragraphs.
The opening scenes are acceptable, since they are only meant to get the story rolling. Mankind had discovered an ancient transport system called the Ark. It is buried under the desert near Las Vegas and links Earth to Mars. The Ark turns people into floating blobs of water and shoots them across the interstellar void where they reappear (as themselves once again) in the opposite Ark chamber. Being liquefied, squirted through space, and reconstituted causes severe nausea in most travelers.
Hey, maybe that is what happened really to Elvis. He got sick of being so fat, developed Bulimia, and discovered the ultimate enabler for his disease. The idea of Elvis glurping his way back and forth between Earth and Mars, and vomiting his guts out on either end, has a sort of poetic charm.
I have never been able to understand the mystique about Elvis. However, I am quite certain there are a couple of people with their mouths agape, index finger pointing at their screen, and doing the Donald Sutherland "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" scream. I just committed sacrilege, or hypocrisy, or one of those big words that people start throwing around when they get so mad that rational thought ceases.
Man, where was I? Oh yes, the Ark and Mars. Mankind discovered that Mars was once the cradle of a highly advanced civilization. An archeological research facility has been established there, in addition to laboratories that conduct experiments for the United Aerospace Corporation (which is a lot like the Umbrella Corporation, but on Mars). Something goes wrong in the lab, meaning that scientists start running and screaming.
Who gets called when scientists start running and screaming and sending short calls for help that are suddenly cut off? The Marines. Of course, as a Marine, quite a few things about this movie made me cringe. Calling the Rock "Sarge" was definitely one of them. The long-haired, completely rancid corporal was such a stupid character as to actually make me angry, and the Kid was so wet behind the ears that I doubt he would last five minutes in an infantry company, let alone be assigned to a special operations team. The size of the Marine force was another problem, because I cannot imagine them using anything smaller than a platoon to respond to a situation as serious as the plot creates. If some unknown threat suddenly manifested on Mars, you can be darn sure that more than eight Marines would be sent in.
Oh, and Marines say "Oorah," not "Hooah." The next time one of you moron screenwriters wants to use Marines in your script, I suggest that you do more research than watching "Black Hawk Down" - which is a movie about Army Rangers, just so you know.
After arriving on Mars, the Marines get a short briefing from Samantha, then they open the hatch to the quarantined area (the rest of the research facility is still normal). The Marines split into pairs and search the dark hallways and rooms. Pretty soon they split up again, meaning that there is one guy wandering around, looking for whatever Martian boogeyman it was that started eating scientists. It is pretty obvious that the Marines are expecting to find something human sized. You and I know that the threat is not something small, like a rabid Martian wombat, but the Marines have no clue what they are up against. They should be checking under all of the tables and chairs.
Eventually, the team discovers some survivors who are completely deranged and undergoing extreme physical changes. They also encounter creatures that are extremely fast and deadly. Overall, there is not enough action, I was practically begging for more encounters between the creatures and the Marines. It seems like they spend half of the movie chasing shadows, and just when you think the Marines are done chasing shadows and ready to rock-and-roll, they go back to chasing shadows again. Quite often they do this alone, and the number of Marines starts to dwindle as more and more of them become victims. Arrggghhhhh!
Samantha is able to determine that the brown slime-covered creatures were once human beings. UAC has been conducting experiments using Martian DNA (Martians have twenty-four chromosome pairs), and something went wrong. Now the genetic monsters that the UAC created are trying to make more monsters by infecting humans. The creatures do this by injecting select individuals via their mutant Martian tongues. Used tongues fall off, presumably requiring regeneration before another hapless human can be infected.
What? Surely there must be a better way to inject a small amount of genetic-modifying toxin into a target. Oh well, the main thing to take away from this is that Hell is not involved, just genetics.
In the midst of all my complaining I must admit that the movie did get one thing right: the sets. Whoever designed the sets did a fantastic job of preserving the look and feel of the games. There are dark corners, buffed steel surfaces, and a multitude of computer displays throughout the UAC facility. The "nano-wall" that separates one of the laboratories from the rest of the complex is novel, but not developed or explained well enough. Perhaps it is there as an added defense for airborne contaminants. I do not know. The only reason I can see for its existence is one or two spooky scenes as Samantha looks out through it and also to trap a creature halfway through the door.
My biggest complaint about the movie is the Rock. His acting is...not good, but it is hard to judge him when the dialog he is tasked with speaking is so atrocious. It gets even worse when Sarge starts to go insane and reverts to a "KILL 'EM ALL!" mindset. The writers gave up even trying to write lines that convey his descent into blood rage. Sarge's speech becomes a jumble of military jargon that borders on talentless parody. That is horribly lazy writing. I mean really freaking lazy. At this point I start cursing at the television.
I understand that cursing at my television is stupid, but I can not help it. Besides, I am not cursing at the TV itself. I am angry at the people inside the TV, and the people who are behind the people inside the TV - the ones that are making the TV people act this way.
Eventually, both Arks are compromised by the Martian genetic plague and crowds of mutating civilians rush the Marines; they are mowed down in scenes that are too "Resident Evil" for my tastes. Then Sarge completely snaps and starts shooting everyone, the uninfected and infected alike. He also gets infected. Reaper tries to stop the slaughter; but is mortally wounded by a ricochet. Desperate to save her brother, Samantha injects John with the Martian DNA. The secret to the DNA is that evil people become monsters, while good people become superhuman. By a stroke of luck, Samantha is right about her brother. Reaper becomes a 200 health, 200 armor killing machine. He charges through the facility in first person shooter mode, wasting Resident Evil quasi-zombies and mutants alike before facing off against the rapidly mutating Sarge.
Unfortunately, the twenty-four chromosome champions of good and evil immediately run out of ammo, leaving them with only their fists and boots to settle the score. Great, both men heal instantly, but they are trying to punch each other to death. Get comfortable in your seat. This could take a while.
Why wasn't a backup squad on the other (Earth) side of the Ark portal? Oh, because they would have wasted the infected Sarge when he came through. Then John could not have saved the day. Instead the hero would have been trying to explain to his fellow Marines what happened, along with why they should not hose down his extra-chromosome having self with a flamethrower.
Why the film makers chose to discard the basis of all of the Doom games, the opening of a gateway to Hell, is a mystery. I understand that John would not have been a match for the infected Sarge without the super juice. Easy enough to mitigate. In addition to the prototype BFG (there is a BFG), the UAC could have been playing around with a genetic serum based on the expanded genomes they found in the Martians. There, you still have your super juice and demons from Hell. Making the threat an actual invasion from Hell gives you plenty of atmosphere. In "DOOM 3" there is a great part where a researcher says, "The Devil is real. I built his cage." Instead, this plot reminds me of "Ghosts of Mars," and that is a bad sign.
March is Martian Movie Madness Month! Click on the banner for more reviews.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- The Marines will eventually do away with the Armory and just keep everything in a transport version of the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter.
- Mars is a couple million light-years from the nearest French bistro.
- Twist not your friends' tongues; American nicknames are pure simplicity.
- Humanity is one chromosome short of a full deck.
- The volume of sewage and graywater produced by eight scientists is mind shattering.
- French kissing can be fatal.
- Bulletproof glass is also, as might be expected, headbutt proof.
- The only difference between a 15" computer monitor and a flail is the maximum effective range.
- Marines are filled with tomato paste.
- The bigger they are the more of a mess they make when they step on an antipersonnel mine.
- Being punched by a guardrail sucks.
- 10 mins - It looks like every Marine carries a different weapon. Do they at least use the same cartridge? Please tell me that they all use the same cartridge. My head is going to explode if they don't.
- 15 mins - I see that bras finally became a thing of the past. Good riddance to those.
- 27 mins - Geez, why didn't you turn on the lights earlier?
- 42 mins - There but for the grace of lithium batteries go I.
- 46 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A STEEL CART!
- 56 mins - Who left that hatch ajar?
- 61 mins - The BFG looks more like a small-block V8 than a weapon.
- 66 mins - He should have another magazine in a pouch somewhere...like that one that is getting him stuck.
- 87 mins - Then go find some soldiers to lead! Those are Marines, you freaking idiot!
- 93 mins - Ha! Don't you feel dumb?
- 99 mins - What is it with these people and big weapons? I fully expect John to start whomping on Sarge with a stainless steel refrigerator any second now.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Samantha: "The fossil record indicates these people had conquered disease. We found no genetic disorders, no viruses, no cancers." |
Reaper: "So what, they were just naturally superior?"
Samantha: "No, not naturally. See, the earliest remains we found only had twenty-three. We suspect this extra chromosome may be synthetic."
Samantha: "That's a long word for a Marine."
||Duke: "So, what was he like before?" |
Samantha: "Who, John?"
Samantha: "Empathetic, sensitive..."
Duke: "It's kinda hard for me to imagine Reaper as sensitive."
Samantha: "Well, I knew Reaper before all the 'drop down, give me fifty, whooha' stuff."
Duke: "Yeah? Well, it's 'Hooah.'"
||Sarge: "It's irreversible." |
Samantha: "Not necessarily."
Sarge: "Dr. Carmack's condition is irreversible." *BANG* "Because Carmack's condition is that he's dead. Kid, you and Duke get back to the dig and you make sure that those other dead scientists are really dead."
||Sarge: "Your orders were to clear that sector. Is it cleared?" |
The Kid: "No, I told them to stay put. They're OK, they're just scared sh*tless."
Sarge: "We kill 'em all...let God sort 'em out."
The Kid: "This is wrong. I think..."
Sarge: "Son, you don't think! That's an order."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Yes, Pinky, there is something behind you...
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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