In 20o7, a deadly virus pandemic breaks out in northern UK. The British government’s solution is a massive quarantine over all of Scotland. Those left in the quarantine area are left to fend for themselves, which doesn’t go over so well.
Fast forward about 20 years later and enter our badass leading lady, Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), complete with eyepatch. The Reaper Virus is back, and the Big Kahunas send an elite group of soldiers into No Man’s Land formerly known as Scotland to see if they can find anything that might lead to a cure. Who is selected to head up the task but our one-eyed heroine… who, coincidentally was one of the last few lucky people to make it over the wall the night they put the quarantine into effect.
I was mega excited to see this “Doomsday“, having enjoyed both of Neil Marshall’s previous films (“The Descent” and “Dog Soldiers“). The opening scene had my interest piqued- massive disease pandemics are high on my creep list. About twenty minutes in, the movie takes a more bleak, post-apocalyptic angle. Right on! I’m thinking “Fallout 3 meets Half Life 2: The Movie”, and I’m ready for some action! About thirty minutes in, the movie makes a 90 degree turn for the 80′s. Complete with the psychotic bad guy, Sol, with his silly punk rock hair-do and spiked jacket. Sol does a jig on stage, eats some human flesh, and I’m lost.
TV Casualties Rating:
|Run Time: 105 minutes|
|Directed by: Neil Marshall|
|Written by: Neil Marshall|
|Starring: Rhona Mitra, Craig Conway, Sean Pertwee|
|Theatrical Release: 03/14/08|
|DVD Release: 07/29/08|
|Production Budget: $33 million|
|Domestic Gross: $11 million|
|Metacritic Score: 51/100|
|Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 48%|
The confusion doesn’t end there, either- there’s still a “Gladiator” scene, a car chase scene that looks a little more like a car commercial than anything else, and the neatly packaged ending.
There’s so much wrong with “Doomsday“, and so much that could have been right. Either the disease pandemic angle or the bleak post-apocalyptic angles could have been awesomely scary. And if Marshall wanted to do an 80′s action/apocalypse homage, that’s cool, too, but pick a genre and stick with it. I’m not necessarily a big fan of the medieval-meets-cheesy-punk-rock apocalypse style, but I’d tolerate it if the movie at least made sense.
“Doomsday” has a disconnected feel, as if it were written in 10 or 20 minute chunks that wind up not really corresponding to one another. Eden’s eye patch, for example, disappears after her first scene.
This was Marshall’s first big budget movie, and think a lot of directors get dollar sign fever when they finally get the big budget. They forget the old adage that “less is more.” Hopefully Marshall will get back to basics for his next feature.