Doom

I’ve been informed that Doom takes place on Mars. It could take place in the desert here on Earth for all that matters. We get to see a desert area at one point, but it isn’t used in any way that one could consider useful. The rest of the time, we’re spent in a dark venue that consists of corridors and other rooms where the lights have been removed so that not a lot of money needed to be spent on special effects.

The plot begins with something terrorizing a group of scientists in this remote research facility that happens to be on Mars. We don’t get to see what it is, although we can assume it’s pretty strong — it does manage to tear through steel doors, after all. The lead doctor gets to a computer and says that they’re in trouble, claiming that some help would be nice. We then cut to a team of soldiers who are waiting to go on vacation. They don’t get to, as they’re called in to go deal with whatever threat there is on Mars.

This group is led by a man called “Sarge” (Dwayne Johnson), although none of these men have real names. There’s a guy called “Reaper” (Karl Urban), one named Goat (Ben Daniels), and countless others all with just as ridiculous nicknames. They go inside this facility, evacuate the other occupants, and begin searching the corridors. They’re helped out by Dr. Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), although why she remains isn’t a point that’s focused on. She’s the sister of Reaper though, so that connection is given attention (although still not much).

Inside, they find scientists, as well as some creatures. How the creatures got there on the supposed “dead” planet gets explained later on, and that’s just about the point I stopped caring. Before it’s explained, we are dealing with monsters we don’t know anything about. That makes them kind of creepy and interesting. After we learn how they’ve come into being, and what their purpose is, I was no longer interested in Doom. It’s also at this point where we see more of them, and more bullets are fired, and this might have had something to do with my waning interest.

There are a lot of rounds fired, and a lot of people/creatures killed throughout. It would have been nice to actually see during most of the action scenes, but instead, we get short bursts of light let out by the gun, and a bunch of blurred action that makes little coherent sense, because we can rarely tell what’s going on. And then there is the final fight scene, which, I kid you not, is a fist fight between two humans. You have a gun that can acidify two floors of a building, and you end with two humans duking it out. What a joke.

So the action scenes aren’t great, that’s fine as long as it’s scary. It’s just too bad that this isn’t the case. The monsters are more interested with hiding around corners and jumping out to say “boo” than actually being terrifying. We get a lot of jump scenes and a dark atmosphere. It’s got a descent tone, but since the monsters aren’t all that scary, and they’re more concerned with scaring us than killing the characters, we’re not frightened often during Doom.

The story is as simple as you come, with one twist near the middle. I sincerely hope that this twist won’t fool you, because it would mean that you either haven’t seen, or don’t remember, many movies. It’s the most obvious twist you can have in this type of film. In fact, if the story would have just had a bunch of monsters attacking a group of scientists, it would have been more surprising.

There’s one scene in Doom that works, and it takes place right near the end. We’re given a first person shooter style view, where one of the characters manages to gain superpowers and apparently so does his gun. He gets to go around corners, not even blinking when a monster jumps out at him. Then he shoots them and kills them with only a couple of bullets. Entire clips were emptied into these things earlier, so I’m not sure how he managed to get a stronger gun after being injected with a serum, but there you go. But at least this scene was different, despite potentially being a lot more fun if it didn’t feel like you were just watching someone play Doom, the game this movie is very loosely based on, really well on your computer.

I can also describe the characters in one or two words, which is rarely a good sign. Sarge is “loud”, Goat is “religious”, Reaper is the “good guy”, the doctor is “annoying”, and so on. These aren’t developed characters or even ones that have much of a personality. They are soldiers, they have a job to do, and they shoot guns. Oh, and I’m not kidding about Goat’s one personality trait being his religion, because that’s all he gets to differentiate himself from the others.

If you’re a fan of the Doom games, then you’re better off just going to play those. If you’re not, and are just looking for an action-horror movie to pass a couple of hours, look elsewhere. Maybe go try the Doom games; I’ve heard they’re pretty fun. This is a movie that isn’t good, although it is loud and might allow you to escape from reality for a couple of hours. It has monsters, it has guns, it has soldiers, but that’s all it has. The action scenes are poor, the horror is lackluster, and it’s just not all that exciting.

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