The Rock In A Hard Place

Columbus Alive | October 20, 2005
It’s a challenge inherent in the adapted-from-a-videogame genre that no filmmaker seems to have figured out: Videogames are an interactive medium that requires audience participation, while film is one-sided, passively experienced by the audience. Granted, no one’s tried very hard to solve this problem, and no one involved with Doom seems to have tried very hard to do anything at all.

Based on the premiere first-person shooter, Doom suffers somewhat more than most videogames in that it consists of so little plot—just walking around blowing holes in things. Certainly there’s nothing as cinematic as what can be found in Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy or even Mortal Kombat.

Director Andrzej Bartkowiak does a pitch-perfect job recreating the experience of playing Doom in a too-long climactic scene, in which the film’s POV shifts to that of hero Karl Urban and we see the action from his eyes over the barrel of his gun. It’s sort of neat, right up until he battles the mini-boss, a half-naked mole rat/half-wheelchair monster, and the action becomes completely incoherent.

The rest of the movie, however, is just filler around that one sequence. Like a first-person shooter in which there’s nothing to shoot for the first 40 levels or so, Doom plods through the introduction of Urban, his commanding officer Sarge (played by the usually charismatic Rock, who’s badly miscast here), and a few futuristic marines who might as well be named Casualty Number One, Casualty Number Two, and so on.

They’re sent to a quarantined high-tech research facility on Mars, where an experiment has gone awry, and ordinary scientists and lab animals have started turning into zombie-like infectees and muscular rubber monsters.

If that sounds familiar, it’s also the plot of 2002 videogame adaptation Resident Evil, which at least had Milla Jovovich and some creative gore going for it. It’s a rare, rare movie that actually suffers in comparison to Resident Evil, but Doom manages to burrow far beneath even that lowest of bars.

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Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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