Published Nov 01, 2005Videogame fans still waiting for Hollywood to actually make a good adaptation pinned a lot of hopes on Doom, the filmic translation of the seminal first-person shooters (we're up to three) where you play as a lone space marine battling Hell's unleashed armies with shotguns, machine guns, chainsaws and, of course, the BFG (the Big Fuckin' Gun). Sadly, they're still waiting.
It seems inconceivable that while, with the insanely fast advances in computer and gaming technology, computer games get more immersive, cinematic and plot-driven by the day, Hollywood's attempts at adapting them keep getting worse. Actually, "keep getting worse" implies that somewhere along the way there was a good one. There wasn't. Sadly, the best VG adaptation is still the first Mortal Combat, and we all saw what Paul W.S. Anderson did to Alien vs. Predator, which was also a hugely successful videogame turned into a giant shit sandwich of a film. And, oddly, while the VG industry has taken a lot of flak for cash-grabbing film adaptations, that trend is slowly being rectified (The Warriors, Jaws, Starship Troopers), while Hollywood keeps getting worse and worse, which brings us to Doom.
Of course, we shouldn't have expected much from the director of such cinematic dross as Cradle 2 The Grave and Exit Wounds, but no one thought it would be this bad, especially not Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, who plays Sarge, the leader of a special military unit sent to clean up Mars when something goes "wrong," or Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings), his left hand on the team, two actors who actually don't totally suck in the film. They lead a group of, well, to call them stereotypes would imply more character development than is on hand, so cardboard cut-outs will do, with jolly pirate club names like Reaper, the Kid, Destroyer and, um, Duke.
If at this point you're thinking: "it's the worst rip-off of Aliens and Predator I've ever seen," well, you're right. Only, again, rip-off could imply they came close to capturing some of the greatness of those two films they so heavily sodomise. They didn't. The creatures in Doom look atrocious (you've had 20 years to improve on Cameron's vision, and you still can't do it!!!), the dialogue is, even for this type of film, just banal, the action is so jump-cut and frantic that it's almost impossible to discern and the effects and sets are usually half-assed, if they use any ass at all.
Of course, most people are talking about the "first person" segment of the movie, which is obviously a homage to the game, where the camera takes on the role of the central character while he goes around killing everything in sight. Unfortunately, while it's cool seen out of context in a trailer or at a con, it doesn't really work in the film, making you wish you were at home playing Doom instead of watching a very poorly done interpretation. And for shit's sake, they don't even muster up a proper boss battle at the end of the damn thing.
It seems crazy that something taken from a hugely popular and financially successful license could suck this hard. It's a straight to video movie that somehow got a theatrical release. Well, at least there's the Halo adaptation on the horizon. By sheer luck, eventually they have to get one right, don't they?