Doom (Unrated Extended Edition)

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Rating: Unrated

Starring:
Karl Urban as John Grimm
Rosamund Pike as Samantha Grimm
Deobia Oparei as Destroyer
Ben Daniels as Goat
Razaaq Adoti as Duke
Richard Brake as Portman
Al Weaver as The Kid
Dexter Fletcher as Pinky
Brian Steele as Hell Knight
The Rock as Sarge
Yao Chin as Mac
Robert Russell as Dr. Carmack
Daniel York as Lt. Huengs
Ian Hughes as Sandford Crosby
Sara Houghton as Dr. Jenna Willits

Special Features:
Basic Training

Rock Formation

Master Monster Makers

First Person Shooter Sequence

Doom Nation

Game On!

Doom 3 XBox Demo

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language Track
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Synopsis:
Doom is based on the first-person shooter game from the 90′s. The following text is from the DVD cover:

“A frantic call for help from a remote research station on Mars sends a team of mercenary Marines into action. Led by The Rock and Karl Urban, they descend into the Olduvai Research Station, where they find a legion of nightmarish creatures, lurking in the darkness, killing at will. Once there, the Marines must use an arsenal of firepower to carry out their mission: nothing gets out alive. Based on the hugely popular video game, Doom is an explosive action-packed thrill ride!”

This is the unrated version of Doom, but the theatrical version was rated R for strong violence/gore and language.

The Movie:
When a section of the Olduvai research station on Mars suddenly goes into quarantine, the Rapid Response Tactical Squadron is sent to find out what’s going on. As members of the team are picked off by the creatures infesting the station, John Grimm (Karl Urban) must deal with the horrible memories of what happened to his parents at the station years ago, and the growing realization of what exactly is attacking him and his men now.

The long, long in development film adaptation of the classic video game shooter, “Doom” is a decent enough action film as long as you don’t expect too much out of it.

Doom has a fairly slow build. Most of the major action set pieces are saved for the last act, which gives the climax a fair amount of juice, but at the expense of the rest of the film. Director Andrezj Bartowiak (“Cradle 2 the Grave”) spends most of the first two thirds explaining what is going on and building situational suspense amongst the characters; the first half of the film veers quite a bit between a suspense film and an action film. And, just as it finally does reach a sustainable level of tension as the commanding officer starts killing civilians, and anyone who gets in his way, in order to contain the outbreak, it quickly switches to action mode and suspense is largely tossed out the window. For suspense to work it needs strong characters and character dynamics to build off of, and characterization isn’t really “Doom’s” strong suit. With the exception of Grimm himself – whose story is nicely underplayed by Urban in by far the strongest performance in the film, and never hammered home in the kind of clunky exposition that is usual in these types of films – the various soldiers are fairly lightly created with character ticks standing in place of true characterization. It’s just enough to tell them apart from one another when the shooting starts, but not enough to build adequate suspense from and occasionally is quite unbelievable as this supposedly elite military unit of professional soldiers very quickly begin behaving quite unprofessionally and turning on each other. The Rock, usually a strong screen presence whether he’s being intimidating or funny, is left unfortunately bland for most of the film, and Rosamund Pike as the story’s scientist is relegated mainly to being an exposition device.

Once it does finally get rolling, however, it’s quite a bundle, occasionally reaching levels of adrenaline brilliance. The First Person Shooter sequence really and truly completely captures the feel of the game – sometimes a bit too well – and brings the audience into the experience in a way action films have never really attempted, especially when it goes hand-to-hand (or hand-to-claw as the case may be). There are few too many tries at cool action movie lines – something that should have been written out of the Hollywood playbook a long time ago – but nothing horribly laughable.

If you’re any type of gamer, and even if you’re not, the First Person Shooter sequence is worth seeing at least once. If only the action had been spaced out a bit more, or the truly suspenseful moments had been zeroed in and played upon earlier, it could have been more than it is, but what it is isn’t too bad, and there may be a fair amount of character gold to mine from John Grimm in the future.

The Extras:
Doom initially appears light on the DVD extras, but what is included is pretty good. It’s quality over quantity:

Basic Training – This featurette details the training the actors went through with military consultants. They trained in weapons, tactics, and generally worked on looking convincing (and not flinching when shots are fired). It’s kind of odd to hear the actors with their real world British accents.

Rock Formation – Spoilers ahead! This featurette shows The Rock’s transformation from the climax of the film. They show the development of his look and the actual application of the prosthetic from the set. Fans of makeup will enjoy this one.

Master Monster Makers – The creation of the monsters by Stan Winston’s Creature Shop is shown in this featurette. Brian Steele and Doug Jones get to show their faces outside of the monster suits for once. The computer animated creatures are also shown. If you enjoy movie monsters you’ll get a kick out of this.

First Person Shooter Sequence – The elaborate first person shooter sequence is explained here. They show all the work that went into the scenes. They really used every trick in the book to pull this one off.

Doom Nation – The game of Doom itself is celebrated in this featurette. The creation of the original video game is explained and various hosts from G4′s TV shows talk about how it revolutionized the gaming industry. Even if you never played Doom this is an interesting look at the game phenomenon.

Game On! – A gaming expert walks you through the new Doom 3 video game. While joking around, he gives you tips and tricks for winning the game. If you’ve never played the new Doom, this video might make you want to check it out.

The Bottom Line:
If you’re in the mood for an Aliens homage or ripoff (depending on your point of view), then Doom will suit your needs. Fans of the video game will enjoy it more than non-fans, but it is some decent mindless horror/action. Fans of The Rock might be disappointed by his otherwise unremarkable role.

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