Ever watch someone play a video game poorly, wishing you could be the one in control? That’s how this film is; a terribly played-out concept that makes you want to grab the controller and turn off the power. As far as video game-to-film adaptations go, Doom might be one of the worst.
The Playing Field
R for strong violence, gore, language
Being a proud player of the original 1993 game by id Software, I can say that Doom was one of the greatest video games to come out in its time. It revolutionized the first-person shooter and started a franchise that was played on over nine different gaming consoles. The idea of someone trying to spin this into a movie, while still attempting to live up to the game’s legendary reputation is silly.
In a cruel act of fate, masterful cinematographer turned crappy director Andrzej Bartkowiak took the reins of this project and drove it straight into the ground. His history of bad direction includes such films as Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Cradle 2 the Grave. It’s not much of a range, but at least the quality is consistent. Why he strayed from Jet Li and DMX, no one will know.
The screenplay was written by Dave Callaham and Wesley Strick, who write like they’ve never even heard of the game. Back when the game was first released, Strick was busy penning the film where Jack Nicholson turns into a werewolf. In the ensuing 12 years, it seems he failed to put down the pen and pick up the controller.
In the original game, no real plot or story line was offered; you’d be in different locations every level, blowing away monsters with an assortment of guns that would be collected along the way. The film invented a story that seemed simple enough to follow, yet subplots were so illogical and unexplainable, they seemed to go way over my head.
Dwayne Johnson, who has shamelessly asked everyone to call him “The Rock”, co-stars in this artistic tragedy as the character “Sarge”. He is the commander of a team of marines sent to Mars orbit to investigate what went wrong on a space station laboratory. Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings) is Reaper, a member of the team with a shady past and a penchant for the dramatic. His sister, Samantha, is played by actress Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, The Libertine), whose performance comes straight from Stepford.
Samantha is the only surviving scientist on this space station, and when the Sarge and his posse get there, she can’t really explain what happened, only that a creature had gotten loose and killed everyone on board. The team of marines search the entire building, killing various beasts, only to discover that the things they are killing are the other scientists who have come back from the dead in monster form. Does any of that ring a bell?
Okay, so maybe the story isn’t quite as enticing as one would hope — in fact, one could even say there isn’t one shred of originality in the entire picture. But Doom may have one trick that will grab the audience: the much-advertised first person shooting camera angles. So far, in the trailers, television spots and posters, this video game-like view has been exploited in a way that assures the audience that they’re in for a wild ride. Don’t get too excited; this camera angle is used one time, for three minutes, during the film’s finale.
In essence, there really is nothing to see here. So maybe this one was a complete disaster, but hopefully they’ll get it right in Doom: Resurrection, or Doom vs. Predator, or maybe Doom of the Dead.