For fans of the game, Doom: The Movie is a lot like a particularly vile fart; it is tragic that it was ever released, but it has been, and we all have to deal with it. Released after years of being optioned by various picture houses and then left well alone, it eventually clawed its way out of production hell in 2005, stinking of rotting flesh, and with ‘The Rock’ in tow.
I consider myself one of the world’s leading experts on this movie. Firstly, because I love Doom. It is my favourite game. I’ve finished countless versions of it and know my way around its labyrinthian maps better than I know around the city I live in. Secondly, because I once got wasted and watched it six times back-to-back. Six times. The devil’s number. Over this period, the room went from being full of people who were largely complaining about the movie, until only two were left standing, myself and someone who actually likes the movie. Both of us were also pretty annihilated by that point, suffering from sleep deprivation at 5am. Throughout this period, with these different environments, people and my state of consciousness changing, one thing remained true throughout - Doom utterly fails at everything it sets out to achieve.
First of all, it fails immediately as an action movie. There’s only a handful of actual action sequences, all of which suffer with dreadful jump-cut editing that makes everything a nightmare to follow. The acting isn’t Oscar-worthy like Van Damme’s turn in Street Fighter or at the very least hilariously awful. Even The Rock, a man who normally pisses entertainment sleepwalks his way through clumsy dialogue and boring shootouts in the dark. The CGI effects are little more than ‘alright’. Everything about it is just so breathtakingly mediocre. I’d be willing to forgive a lot of this if it did the source material justice. For instance, Mortal Kombat isn’t exactly the greatest martial arts movie ever made, but you can’t fault its accuracy.
Unfortunately, it fails even harder at being a Doom movie. It roughly follows the plot of Doom 3, which itself is just a more fleshed out version of the wall of text that provided a backdrop to the original game, only completely stripped of the massive satanic theme that makes Doom what it is. I do understand that, as a largely Christian nation, America was always going to have an issue with all of the hell stuff; bloody pentagrams smeared onto walls, crucifixions and all that awesome shit, but honestly, can you think of a better way to celebrate your faith than having The Rock and Karl Urban stamp the piss out of a bunch of the devil’s minions? Maybe having Stallone die for our sins?
So, instead, we’ve got BIO-WEAPONS gone wrong. Essentially, the scientists are experimenting on teleportation and martian DNA, and this Martian DNA turns people into horrible monsters depending if they’re - ready for this - genetically good or evil. Which is everyone except Karl Urban and The Girl Who Plays His Sister. This is a plot that is a bizarre combination of the ones from Aliens and Dino Crisis 3. Ultimately, it is a rubbish premise and completely devoid of any personality.
LOOK at this guy. The iconic ‘Pinky’ demon. Getting surrounded by these shits in the original Doom meant almost instant death, whilst in Doom 3 it was transformed into a gigantic tank of a creature; a cyber-satanic rhino that smashed through doors and mauled anything that got in its way. In the movie, it was Dexter Fletcher. Wheelchair-bound due to a teleportation balls up, he is transformed into what is apparently meant to be this beast and unceremoniously offed during the film’s final action sequence. Oh yeah, his character was nicknamed ‘Pinky’. THAT IS THE LINK. DO YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE? Fucking hell.
Alright, so you could say the game is way too light on plot to carry a 90 minute Hollywood movie. I point you towards the legendary Doom comic. That, right there, is a better script. There is a pretty excellent five minute first person sequence right at the very end. It isn’t enough.
Doom is a pretty bad film. I’ve tried to like it - I really have - but I just can’t. It sucks. The director, Andrzej Bartkowiak, somehow managed to make a worse film that this by going on to direct Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; a film that makes both the Tekken AND King of the Fighters movies look like the Citizen Fucking Kanes of beat ‘em up videogames made into movies.
Eight times I've seen this film, now. I've never seen Citizen Kane. Eight.
Watch Event Horizon instead. It is a much more convincing Doom movie, sharing the ‘hell as another dimension’ motif that was sorely lacking from this disaster. That film also has Alan Grant from Jurassic Park pulling out his eyes, which is an added bonus. If it had The Rock in it it’d be PERFECT.