Wednesday, October 26, 2005


DOOM (Andrzej Bartkowiak, 2005)

The Rock leads a tactical fighting unit to a research base on Mars in DOOM. The station is locked down until the squad can locate and eliminate whatever is wreaking havoc. These elite fighters are loaded with weapons capable of dealing with whatever alien predators they may encounter. The compound even has a few extra-lethal guns stashed away for the cleverest to find.

DOOM originated as a first person shooter video game, but what makes such games fun to play does not translate into compelling viewing. The characters are merely slight variations of one another, with Rosamund Pike’s blonde scientist in the mix in to provide relief from all of the raging testosterone. Although the film spends an inordinate amount of time attempting to develop them, the results are the most boring cut scenes a gamer could watch. The Rock is wasted, employed more for his physical stature than his comedic abilities. A film this humorless is in bad need of the charisma he has demonstrated time and again, whether as a lead in THE RUNDOWN or as a supporting player in the dud BE COOL.

Considering that DOOM and other first person shooter games thrive on constant ammunition firing, there’s surprisingly little action for much of the film’s running time. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak, responsible for helming two of Jet Li’s worst American films, repeats scene after scene of the squad creeping around dark, dank corridors that lead only to brief engagements in combat. The action finally gets ratcheted up in the end, which includes the one noteworthy sequence: the game’s first person point of view with the gun bobbing in the lower center of the frame. Gamers would be better off playing DOOM or sitting in front of a blank screen than wasting time with this incredibly dull ALIENS rip-off.

Grade: F

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