REVIEW: “Doomsday”

Posted: April 30, 2008 by V in Review
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(At the risk of sounding repetitious, this is a previous post from my main blog. I’m cross-posting this lightly edited, abridged version despite its dated status. It is, after all, the original contribution to my half of the glory that is “Arterial Spray”. Skip this one if you fear spoilers. – v )

My opening review is the recent theatrical release of “Doomsday”. When I saw the preview for Doomsday I naturally assumed that it was a bastardized jumble of 29 Days Later, Escape from New York, RE:2, and Murderball. There’s no way I could pass up a combo like that. I will not be denied.

Doomsday opens like any other plague movie with citizens scrabbling like rats to escape their city which is rapidly degenerating into a sucking mire of disease and chaos. You know, typical pustule bursting, projectile vomiting, grotesque illness in tandem with the generic panic and lawlessness assigned to every cinematic civilization come unhinged. One little girl (Sinclair, played by a life size puppet according to my expert judgment of emotion, personality, and neural reactions) first gets hit by a bullet across one eye, then by freak luck is set on the very last helicopter to leave a permanently quarantined Scotland.

Fast forward 20-some years into the future where an buffer, older, hotter Sinclair is some sort of officer in special ops. Bitter, hardened, and equipped with an inexplicable and unnecessary magic eight ball video camera eye, Sinclair is cold as ice and angrier than a hive of bees.

Sinclair is to investigate Scotland to determine if there is a cure for the plague, now reemerging after 20 dormant years. For this, they assign her a perfectly balanced squad consisting of a cute mechanic chick, a bravo technician, a naive believer, macho bad-boy, nervous sharpshooter, and a competent black guy. To meet futuristic expectations they are then given all sorts of cool future technology and body armor that will be used once for a gimmicky escape. This crack team, on a top secret mission, into a completely isolated area, with no chance of backup, and only one possibility of extraction, seem to be physically and mentally incapable of FOLLOWING ORDERS. It is a terrible and unexpected tragedy when they all die ‘cept for Sinclair, competent black man, and naive guy. Way 2 go crack team.

Captured by an entire CITY FULL of cannibalistic fetish scene rebels with crazy hair, and pretty bad-ass tattoos, Sinclair escapes her holding cell by sheer dint of her jailor’s idiocy. See that chick with the facial tattoos on the poster? Front and center. Yeah, Sinclair bumps into her on the way out They have a grungier version of a high school cat fight, and then she bites it. I believe most of that chick’s screen time was played in the trailer I watched.

Proceeding with the getting-away plan, the remainder of the team escape using, wait for it, a TRAIN! Best getaway vehicle, ever. You never know where a train will end up, and surely the power of several tons of steel powered by steam will be speedy and useful when fleeing from a vicious slavering mob out for bloody revenge. Go go miracle train acceleration!

After the Great Train Escape, the urban sci-fi post-apocalyptic future reverses itself and our party lands in the hands of a kook set up as feudal overlord in a medieval society. Rank is obvious as everyone has procured for themselves a status and period appropriate style of hat. As a side note, he hates our protagonist party too, and also wants them dead.

The adventure in medieval land culminates in a disappointingly un-titillating gladiatorial pit fight, yet another escape into a mine, and a Bentley. Now see, up until the Bentley, the movie could still be rescued. This should give you some measure against which the rest of the movie should be judged. The movie drags its grotesque genre spanning bulk along, and brings back Sol (the leader of the city cannibal crazies), the head of his girlfriend, and his inexplicably mobile group of motorized thugs (where did they get the petrol after 20 odd years?). I believe I saw a postal truck among Sol’s baddies. A postal truck. Chasing a Bentley. The ensuing end action scene is an occasionally exciting, occasionally humorous vehicular chase/fight sequence. There is an explosion. Are you surprised to hear of it?

Final Score: Two out of five bullets. Gravity defying leaps of logic, gross cliches, rampant freak luck, and mediocre fight scenes bring the rating down. Okay, who am I kidding, its the mediocre fight scenes that earned “Doomsday” this low of a score. Its a sci-fi themed excuse to make a collection of escape and chase scenes strung together with fairly decent sets, costumes, and makeup, assisting are bonus irrelevant technological additions, and crowd pleasing barbaric marathons. A half bullet of that score is for plague, cannibalism, and dingy post-apocalypticism, I’ve got a soft squishy spot for those — taste is one of many things that wont be promised in this blog. Not on my watch.

I’d say this is best watched as a drinking game. Heres a couple suggestions:
Take a drink when

1. You ask yourself “Where are they coming from?”.
2. There’s a scene that has no other purpose than to make the viewer wince.
3. Implausibility happens and you saw it coming.
4. Promises are unfulfilled.
4. Spittle happens.

  1. Hello! I’ve been a long time fan of your site, but this is my first time leaving an entry. I just want to say you got everything about Doomsday wrong. It is supposed to be a political satire, where the stuffy medieval people are the republicans, the ravenous cannibals are the democrats, and the plague represents fiscal responsibility. I don’t know how you could have missed this. Please rewrite this entire post.

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