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Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak.
Written by David Callaham and Wesley Strick.  Based on the game by id Software.
Starring The Rock, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike and Dexter Fletcher.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  10/18/05


Thanks to my friend Kerner, I got the chance to catch another freebie on Tuesday night--"Doom."  Since I had one person to invite on my admit-two pass and a freebie to see a movie starring The Rock, there was only one man to invite on this bad boy:  Charles "Chuck" Longer, the man, the myth, the mesh short legend.

Chuck and I love movies with The Rock...this is mostly because we think the guy is cool and because most of his movies are over-the-top action films that are glorious in their shittiness.  This go-round, our man (aka Dwayne Johnson) plays Sarge, the leader of a special Marine unit that apparently only deals with quarantines of medical research facilities that can be dealt with in small teams.  Sarge, along with his second-in-command, Reaper (Karl Urban, from the "Lord of the Rings" films and late of "The Bourne Supremacy"), lead the seven-man unit into a remote research installation on Mars, where they find a whole lot wrong with the experiments that are going on in the lab.  Naturally, after nasty mutations, zombifications and a ton of gunfire, we start to get to the bottom of things and learn the true secrets of what has driven these experiments to go so horribly wrong.

The best thing about the video game "Doom" is the best thing about the movie "Doom"--it's mindless, gory, profane fun with almost no story whatsoever.  Director Andrzej Bartkowiak--the directorial genius that has given us "Cradle 2 the Grave" and "Exit Wounds"--sure knows how to give us violence without anything close to a real plot, and he gives it to us straight with no chaser at all.  It's for the best--much like the similarly violent-yet-average "House of the Dead", "Doom" sticks to the basics by giving us a horror/action hybrid that involves big guys, big special effects, and big guns (including the Big Fucking Gun, the BFG from the game made famous for ripping holes through entire sections of real estate).  Good guys are killed off one by one, and the mountain of horror-movie clichés (don't peek into that air duct!  what is that thing with the green eyes?  don't go anywhere alone!) made Chuck howl almost all movie long.

"Doom" is certainly a better movie when you invite five of your friends to laugh at how bad it is; on its own, it has enough going for it to make it fun if you can get past its high level of gore.  Bartkowiak was smart to let his writers put in just enough game stuff--the famous chainsaw, naming the lead scientist "Carmack" after the game's lead designer John Carmack, getting the design of the main machine gun and chainsaw to look just like they do in the game...all of these things just make for a cooler experience.  The Rock's line delivery is fantastic in this movie, mostly because he MUST know how bad the material is; by the time he is spouting off to a subordinate to "Kill [the zombies]", everyone in my audience had lost their mind.  Also, lines like "Shut the FUCK up!" get mucho mileage here, because again, The Rock is so damned funny.

And likable.  This is why I keep coming back to watch his films, and he's got a ton more coming.  I don't think any sane individual would make another one of these films, but at least the first "Doom" isn't a total embarrassment.  It sticks to the original game's format of "enter room, kill bad guy, move to next room" very well and there are enough decent performers to make it watchable.  Other than that, keep moving to the next theater!

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09