- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Universal
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he history of the video game-to-film adaptation is almost too brief to comment on, but we’ve certainly come a long way since the days of “Super Mario Bros.” and Dennis Hopper’s tacky dinosaur transformation. If you really think about it, the sudden turnaround in the genre is all thanks to "Resident Evil." It was the first to successfully translate a game into a movie, so it makes since that the studio behind "Doom" would be so keen to emulate it as much as possible. It also helps that both stories are so much alike, because if this is any indication of where the video game genre is going, the future looks bright.
Now for the bad news: “Doom” is a great video game movie, but it is by no means a great movie. With that said, this is definitely a film that fans of the series are going to love, even if the original story hasn't exactly been preserved. Instead of the gates of Hell being opened to the human world for demons to wreak havoc on, the monsters are a result of a science project gone wrong located on Mars. Some overly complex information about a bioengineered super-chromosome is also mentioned sometime during the course of the movie, but that’s not important, is it? All that matters is that big, ugly monsters are running wild on a space station, and a group of Marines (complete with witty codenames) have been sent in to take them down.
Dwayne Johnson may get top billing as Sarge, the badass leader of the group, but it's John Grimm (Karl Urban) who is the real hero of the story since he’s the closest tie to the original game. Grimm isn’t without a fancy codename, either, and is nicknamed Reaper because, well, his last name is Grimm. In fact, this is one of many references to Hell in the script, which is curious since the whole Hell on Earth plotline was dumped in favor of a slightly less corny setup. Still, despite the silly name-calling and the disregard for any real military strategy (who honestly sends one guy out on his own and expects him to come back?), "Doom" has its moments.
By far the most enjoyable of the bunch is the big finale, a sequence filmed completely in first-person that showcases John Grimm fighting his way through a horde of familiar demons. Designed to replicate the feeling of playing the game, the high-adrenaline scene had the audience clapping and cheering throughout and was exactly what "Doom" needed to stand out from the pack of all the other sci-fi action movies currently collecting dust at the local Blockbuster. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but slather on some butter, sprinkle on a little salt, and enjoy.
Unrated Extended Edition Blu-Ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of “Doom” may just be a carbon copy of the original DVD, but the extras hold up pretty well. Along with an unrated extended cut of the film, the single-disc effort includes a behind-the-scenes look at everything from weapons training with the actors to make-up and creature effects. The highlight of the disc is a 14-minute documentart on the history of the video game (“Doom Nation”), while a brief making-of featurette on the first-person shooter sequence rounds out the set.