Doom was and is an awesome first person shooter. I spent countless hours of my misspent youth watching the barrels of pixellated weapons as I strafed, ran and grunted down lengthy corridors, taking on deadly foes that me and my housemates gave monikers such as ‘ghost-dogs’ and ‘ghost-goats’.
I ultimately mastered Doom and Doom 2 on the original Playstation that I could enter any level and ‘clock’ the stage while almost on autopilot, even if I hadn’t picked up the controller in months. Now a solid decade since I played the game I reckon I could do it now…
With the number of game to movie conversions made in the last few years it was inevitable that a bona fide classic like Doom would have its day.
The pluses; Doom is bloody, gory, profane and violent, just like the game. In Sarge it has a character as beefy, tough and driven as the buzz-cutted game hero – only in the game you only saw his mug in the middle of the bottom of the screen, with his expression indicating the level of punishment that your character had taken.
The minuses; the film is long, dull and confusing.
It is 2026. In a cliched hook used better by genuinely awesome films such as Predator and Aliens a crack team of elite soldiers are sent in to investigate a distress message from a research group of scientists stationed at Olduvai.
What you haven’t heard of Olduvai? It’s on Mars silly. You remember that we settled Mars not long ago right? Didn’t you get the memo?
Anyway the seven man team consists of Sarge (The Rock), John Grimm (Karl Urban), and five faceless interchangeable boneheads who might as well be named Fodder, Expendable, Insignificant, Worthless and Mittens, such is their value to the story.
And when I say ‘story’ I am referring to the hour or so of growls, quick blurry cuts, grunting, yelling and blood soaked hallways that precede the main event; a 5 minute sequence shown from the point of view of a soldier that unfolds as he traverses an area full of beasties, bullets and otherwise perilous possibilities.
You know, like a game!
The Rock is suitably Rock-y but not nearly Arnie enough for my liking, Karl Urban does the ‘5th wheel in a B movie’ thing that he has been doing for the past few years and as alluded to above there are a few more victims present to be chewed upon and yelled at along the way.
Doom isn’t entirely awful and in fact as video game adaptations go I have seen a lot worse. But if I have to spend two hours experiencing blurry vision and listening to blood-curdling screams and death gurgles I would rather be playing the game; or drinking heavily and going to a death metal club.
There’s a reason Vin Diesel turned down this film.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. The incursion team are told to ensure the safety of Earth ‘by any means necessary’, the resulting film is OK, but by no means necessary.