"Doom" The Movie ... or "Resident Aliens" - A Review

"Aliens" was a superb movie, defining that action/thriller genre. "Resident Evil" was a decent movie that was pretty faithful to the original concept. "Doom" borrows so much from both of these and utilizes so little of the original story that this movie could have been called "Bio Hazard: Quarantine Zone (pick your future-techno-industrial location)". The myopic and unimaginative"Doom" movie makes me wonder if the writers and directors spent more than 10 minutes playing the game and learning firsthand about what was truly scary about the original concept. My guess is that I'm being extremely generous in that regard.

"Doom" the game, IMO, was whored out to Universal Studios as nothing more than a gimmick. The only mildly interesting part of the whole event was the 5 minute first-person segment near the end, and even that was uninspiring. Yes, there were zombies, but the story focused on the "24th chromosome" that infected a normal human, causing him to evolve into a zombie, and eventually into a monster. The monster was recognizable as an ID creation, but where were the weird spiders? Where were the Revenants (skeletal creatures with rocket launchers on their shoulders)? Where were the imps? Lost souls? Giant RPG firing hoofed monsters? Where was the story? You'd think ID would have taken issue with "Doom" looking so much like a "Resident Evil" movie clone. Never mind the obvious "Aliens" ripoffs every few minutes.

They did the same thing to Doom that they did to "The Time Machine" and "Planet of the Apes", and it pisses me off. They used the few bits of the original concept that happened to catch their eye and wrapped them around their own story, which was a loose, hackneyed collection of events that fit nicely into the "vampiric infection" mold. That was "Doom", the movie.

Granted, the original storyline from the game was weak. It's main purpose was to set the scene for the player entering the "Doom" world. You don't really need a storyline when you're dodging cacodemon fireballs, firing wildly around corners, and trying to change clips while getting ripped to shreds in a broom closet by a gaggle of growling zombies. But there was enough to build on. There could have been a progression as we met more horrifying monsters, bigger threats to make earlier events pale in comparison. That's the heart of "Doom". You're doomed. As bad as things were five minutes ago, they're worse now, and it's your ass if you don't keep moving. Instead, it was just a rehash of old ideas, and it quickly became a boring and supremely disappointing experience.

I'm sick of going to see a movie that I've been anticipating for a while, and realizing after about 10 minutes that I've already seen this movie 50 times. Space marines armed to the teeth go into a hostile environment and get picked off one by one by half-seen shadows. An arm reaches down and pulls a marine screaming through the ceiling while the guy back at the "command post" watches from his monitors. The only difference is that the civilian in C&C is in a cybernetic wheelchair, and you're hoping he gets killed soon so he'll just...stop...whining. What an insult to Ripley.

I keep coming back to the same thing. "Doom" was just a name as much as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was cast as "Sarge" to sell tickets. The sets were beautiful, and they were very reminiscent of the latest "Doom III" game. The look was there, and the monsters (especially mutated Pinky) looked great. But I couldn't help but get the feeling that a roomful of executives decided, "Hey, we can use that half-cybernetic, half giant dog-looking thing as a model for mutated Pinky because of his cybernetic wheel chair." They couldn't wrap their heads around the original idea of scientists accidentally opening a doorway to hell, but they could show a dead woman with one breast exposed (hence the R rating). They couldn't understand the visceral experience of being alone and outnumbered by an overwhelmingly strong and supremely evil enemy. Instead, they scripted a few minutes of first-person-shooter action for no other reason than to "give them what they want to see, just like they're playing the game." This level of condescension is usually reversed in the movie-video game-tie-in with the game typically just a platformer with "Star Wars" or "Robocop" slapped on the box.  The writers/producers/whoever comes up with this awful crap managed to do the same thing in reverse.

When I went to see "Doom", I was prepared to watch a poorly acted, B-movie telling of "Doom". I was ready for a fumbling plot, and thin characters. Instead, we were treated to "Resident-Aliens". I guess it's my own fault for expecting the writers to actually put some thought into why "Doom" the game has continued to be popular enough that countless mods of the original game engine are being traded and played on the internet, or to think that maybe, just maybe "Doom III" the game would have served a more active role than as a model for the movie sets. This was nothing more than suits attempting to cash in on a name. Bah.

If you want a fun, eerie, sometimes downright frightening experience, play "Doom III".  If you're the type who takes a trip across the country, but orders the same value meal from McDonald's that you can get down the street from your house, then this is the movie for you.  Enjoy your warmed over burger and fries.    </rant>