“Doomsday” is the one film I’ve dramatically changed opinions on from my first viewing in theaters.
That doesn’t mean that I disagree with my brutally harsh review – that all pretty much stands. It’s just that once you get past the absurdity of it all — severed heads, knights, Mad Max rip-offs and even exploding bunnies — I somehow ended up admiring “Doomsday” for being the most unapologetically ridiculously, preposterous action movie I’ve ever seen. Anyway, here’s my original “un-enlightened” take:
I hope I’m never as cursed to watch a movie that has such out and out disgust for my intelligence as “Doomsday,” a debacle that achieves the rarefied air of being so terrible its great.
Set in 2035, a flesh-eating virus has spread in Scotland and English leaders decide to seal off the area and make it a no man’s land. Eventually the virus resurfaces in London and the Prime Minister wants a special force group to go into Scotland and retrieve one of the survivors who may have the key to the cure.
Sinclair (Rhona Mitra, who with her shoulder-length dark hair and penchant for expressing emotion by pouting comes across like a poor woman’s Kate Beckinsale) is tasked with leading the force and bringing a survivor back at all costs. [2012 FF: A year later, Mitra was cast to play the mother of Beckinsale’s character in the “Underworld” prequel “Rise of the Lycans” so I wasn’t the only one who noticed the semi-resemblance.]
Director/Screenwriter Neil Marshall adheres to the more is more philosophy regarding violence and leans more to the torture-porn style made popular in films like “Saw” where the more gore theoretically equals a better movie. He leaves nothing to your imagination. If a speeding car is coming up on a person, Marshall feels it’s necessary to show the car rolling over the person with blood and body parts squishing out. In showcasing the perimeter defenses, Marshall has an automated gun sentry blow a rabbit to bits. Nice. Couldn’t be something that most people don’t like anyway like rats, nope Marshall decides to off Thumper!
The setup is very similar to James Cameron’s masterful “Aliens,” where the confident military special ops unit discovers they’re hopelessly outmatched by the area’s more ruthless inhabitants.
Only in this case, they’re makeup-clad rip-offs from Mad Max. Their attire represents anarchy, you see, because if you’re a raving lunatic wearing Sean John [2012 FF: Hooray for dated references!] just wouldn’t work. They even have a gimp for added weirdness.
For a military group, Sinclair’s squad is frighteningly inept and dispatched with little ease.
And in case you weren’t creeped out by the survivors and over the top violence up to this point, Marshall decides to have one of the captives get burned at the stake, decapitated and then peeled away for dinner.
After escaping, Sinclair and her crew encounter another band of survivors but unlike the punks they just left, this group is adorned in medieval armor and live in castles. I’m still shocked that Malcolm McDowell and Bob Hoskins graced this movie with their appearance. [2012 FF: I’ll just go ahead and assume they didn’t work for free…]
At the start of the car chase on the highway scene complete with gimp fastened to the front of a car, I found that my jaw could actually hit the floor given adequate reason.
In case you’ve missed the point thus far, “Doomsday” is an abomination of a movie and is epic in its ineptness that it will hold a special place in my heart as “The Godfather” of amazingly awful movies.
When I originally rated this, it was one of the few films I’ve ever given 0/10, but it was one of those “bad” movies where I felt like I may have missed the point of it and knowing the craziness that awaited me, I was able to see “Doomsday” in a much different, enjoyable light. It’s a travesty of filmmaking, but it’s so crazy that once you just go along with it, you’re likely to have a blast with the spectacle that is “Doomsday.”
Rating: 7 out of 10