The Rock cooks a bunch of zombies
Just kidding. “Doom” is about lots of blood, lots of guns and lots of monsters jumping out of dark corners. And The Rock. It’s all about The Rock. Go into it with those low expectations and its flying flesh and vicious demons won’t disappoint. Expect something like plot, on the other hand, and you may feel tempted to tear through the screen like a Martian zombie.
The team of marines, led by Sarge (The Rock), is as cliche as can be: Portman (Richard Brake) is the creepy slimeball, Goat (Ben Daniels) the Christian who supplies the shallow religious undertones, Pinky (Dexter Fletcher) the snarky tech and The Kid (Al Weaver) the kid. Then there’s John Grimm (Karl Urban), the estranged brother of one of the researchers. You can tell he’s the main character because he’s the only marine who gets a full name.
Most of the movie is spent cutting from pitch-black corridors where the marines are killed one by one to the laboratory where Grimm’s sister (Rosamund Pike) gradually uncovers just how terrible these demons are. With the exception of the bone-crunching final battle, the action sequences are nothing new. Almost all of the actors and all of the plot in this film are better suited to an “Outer Limits” episode than to the big screen.
So why bother? The Rock. The former pro wrestler is an expert at making the borderline ridiculous into the badass. A lesser action star might lose his cool prancing around with huge, obviously fake guns spouting lines like, “If it breathes, kill it.” But The Rock says everything with such conviction that it’s hard not to enjoy all the dumb moments along with him.
There’s just one problem: he is so much better than the rest of the cast that even when vile DNA turns him into a bad guy and he tries to kill the hero, you still want The Rock to win. C’mon, who would you rather cheer for? The angst-ridden momma’s boy or the Scorpion King? That’s what I thought.
There is one other good thing: the much-ballyhooed first-person scene, in which James becomes like the player in the “Doom” game, breathing hard over a long POV shot with a bouncing gun in the frame. As someone who used to play “Doom” in the computer store for hours (my dad wouldn’t let me buy it ― too violent), it is a guilty pleasure to see all the old baddies again. It’s also fortunate that only a short scene is done like this. I’d much rather be playing a game than seeing a movie simulate the experience of watching someone else play a game.
If you’re a fan of either “Doom” or The Rock or both and need a stupid action movie to empty your brain, you could do worse than “Doom.” It’s got chainsaw-wielding wheelchair monsters, mindless scientist zombies and giant squishy Martian creatures. It’s got The Rock. And he’s got a BFG.
Action / English
by Ben Appelegate