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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Video Game > Doom - Unrated Extended Edtion (Widescreen)

Doom – Unrated Extended Edition (Widescreen)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: D



In the most embarrassing cycle since Hollywood tried to do “virtual reality” films, video games are becoming feature films and it is not working out anywhere as well as those films and even TV shows becoming games.  The videogame Doom is one of the most popular and exciting on the market; the kind even non-gamers have likely seen or played over the years.  With that in mind, you would think any studio who took it on would go out of their way to make a smart, fun film that is as exciting and enjoyable as that game.  Instead, it gets treated like junk and Andrzej Bartkowiak’s film Doom is an absolute catastrophe.


At the very beginning, the insults to the intelligence begin as some innocent scientists in a spacey corridor setting are begin hunted by a deadly, danger, vicious, evil, killer creature that later turns out to be a very, very, very bad digital effect.  Even worse, the following scene is supposed to be the response, and that brings us tired wrestler The Rock as a the poorest excuse for a marine in cinema history dubbed “Sarge” (Yawn!!!  No wonder we’re having trouble fighting terrorists!!!) getting instructions in one of the most intelligence-insulting scenes in years.  It is sickening to offensive the trivialization of the military, as well as its selling as if it were a game.  The politics of this, along with other racial and gender issues are too much for this review, but the film has major issues in all fronts.  The use of the term “extreme prejudice” as a passive term of extermination is particularly offensive, especially in a post 9/11 world.


But that’s not all!  The film wants to be a “bug hunt” film like James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) or Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers (1997, both reviewed elsewhere on this site) and cannot begin to even come close.  It is not even a good Horror film, or a good “Boo!!! Movie” as Pauline Kael once dubbed Ridley Scott’s Alien.  Bartkowiak was once a great cinematographer (Prince Of The City, The Verdict, Terms Of Endearment, Falling Down) who did decent commercial fare (Speed, Species, Lethal Weapon 4) so it is not like he does not know good film work.  As a director, he has been a disaster and this is easily his worst film yet, which says something.  The rest of the cast comes from previous genre film and TV projects, but this is another one of those awful productions where people yell their lines at each other and talk at each other in a way that is embarrassing.  I guess they are afraid the audience will fall asleep, while the creators take this approach to telegraph to the assumed young audience “Hey, this is a tough action film!!!”


Then there is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the wrestling sensation who has been the total opposite in feature film.  In Hollywood’s desperation to find a new action star that they can accept as corporate-safe, but audiences can smell what The Rock has been cooking and are staying away in droves.  The more he shows up in prefabricated garbage, the more he becomes a symbol for bad cinema, a sort of “Vanilla Ice” of the action genre.  Each succeeding bomb compounds the problem.  He is not even interesting enough to be Jon Bon Jovi to Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel and Bruce Willis.  Like Freddie Prinze, Jr. and now Paul Walker, it is the epitome of why Hollywood is losing the young male audience, maybe permanently on some levels.  It is about being so condescending to who they want quick money from and could really care less about the audience, unlike the 1980s when the films had stars the customer wanted with a good script and fun production.  Now it is just product.  As for Johnson, the same facial smirk grew tired many years ago.  Maybe Gary Coleman should be in action pictures?


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is actually shot by Tony Pierce Roberts, B.S.C, who shot the Merchant-Ivory classic The Remains Of The Day and boy oh boy is this the opposite end.  This was shot in Super 35 and digitally decolorized into the usual cliché that even a great cameraman like Roberts cannot survive.  It is ugly, tired, lame, boring, dull, stupid and another reason people are staying home.  The digital creature effects are a new low, looking older than the first version of the original videogame.  The original game is very violent and this film is clueless on how to make that aspect work on screen.  This unrated version is very bogus.  Wow, it is that bad!


The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is punchy, but Universal oddly did not include a DTS track.  Maybe the image could not match the sound.  Maybe they did not think it was worth it.  It would not have saved the film anyhow.  Extras include an X-Box playable piece likely far more entertaining than the film and six featurettes that try to legitimize this mess.  Play the videogame, don’t see the movie!!!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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