Review: DOOMSDAY (2008) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Review: DOOMSDAY (2008)

RATING: 2.5/5

Neil Marshall's highly anticipated follow-up to his critically-acclaimed horror movie, THE DESCENT (2005) is certainly his most ambitious project to date -- a nasty homage to the violent, post-apocalyptic epics once made popular by movies like MAD MAX: THE ROAD WARRIOR, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (both 1981), 28 DAYS LATER (2003) as well as blood-soaked medieval epic like FLESH + BLOOD (1985). Suffice to say, DOOMSDAY is the ultimate 80's rewind to the heyday where action is lean, mean, brutal and exploitative. The result is definitely a good news for fans out there clamoring for taste of bloody thrills, but too bad it's also a half-baked effort that doesn't exactly live up to its anticipation.

In 2008 Scotland, there was a massive outbreak of the deadly "Reaper" virus that ultimately caused a catastrophic disaster across the nation and death toll is simply beyond imagination. Since the virus is incurable, the English government build a 30-foot armored security wall across Britain and leave their neighbors to the north to die horribly of disease or starvation amid total anarchy. Twenty-seven years later in 2035, the hot zone city of Glasgow is now being quarantined and the virus has subsequently subsided. But it's not until during a routine drug bust, a team from the Department of Domestic Security discovers a room full of Reaper victims deep in the heart of London. Prime Minister Hatcher (Alexander Siddig) immediately declares a state of emergency and calls in his right-hand man, Michael Canaris (David O'Hara) to brief DDS chief Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins) for a top-secret meeting. Canaris wants Nelson to send in his elite team, which includes Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), a tough soldier who separated from her mom (Emma Cleasby) when she was only a child. Their mission is to journey across the barrier wall and locate Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell), their one and only hope to seek for the cure.

Neil Marshall's previous two efforts, DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT are simply horror-movie masterpiece that he knows well what make the genre work for the fans. It's just pity that his third effort, DOOMSDAY, misses most of the mark. No doubt there are high-level of gore on display -- severed heads and hands fly in all directions, bodies gets smeared and crushed across highways during high-speed chase and a particularly memorable scene where an unlucky victim gets part of his face accidentally blown off into chunks by a shotgun. The action are also top-notch, especially the spectacular highway chase finale obviously inspired from the famous ending of MAD MAX: THE ROAD WARRIOR. For this department alone, Marshall has nevertheless delivers them with maximum excitement that hardly a dull moment and he's definitely milked the movie's $30 million budget well-spent. All the production values are first-rate as well.

The bad news is, Marshall's screenplay is painfully derivative and no cliches you've ever come across are unturned here. The story is mostly weak on execution, while the film's subsequent sense of humor every now and then are unfunny and awkward. Then the movie is also a bit lengthy and there's plenty of scene in the middle part is too sluggish for its own good. Characters are zero development, in which of all of them only good at face value and hardly anything else. While you can never do wrong picking Rhona Mitra as a tough and sexy chick on full-action mode with her great physical prowess, she is just simply a strict caricature. It's pity that veteran actors like Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell are elegantly wasted in their thankless roles that doesn't leave much of an impression.

Strictly for die-hard genre fans who fancied this kind of movie.

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