Doomsday (2008): Breakdown by Rantbo
Studio Head: So, what’s your idea?
Neil Marshall: Well, I want to make an homage film to 80s sci-fi, set in a post-apocalyptic UK.
Studio Head: Hmm, and who do you see starring in it?
Neil Marshall: OK, my idea on that is—wait do you know who Snake Plisskin is?
Studio Head: Of course.
Neil Marshall: OK. Picture him in your head. —Now imagine that he’s a super hot chick…
Studio Head: Sold.
DOOMSDAY chronicles the first (and sadly, most likely last) adventure of Sinclair (that hot chick Kevin Bacon raped in HOLLOW MAN), a child survivor of a deadly virus breakout in Scotland. Now in her early thirties, she works for the Department of Domestic Security (DDS), basically kicking ass and killing criminal scum. When news comes from her handler, Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins) that the virus responsible for killing millions is back and in London. She is then asked by Nelson to lead a team beyond the barrier wall dividing Scotland and Britain, where there is reason to believe immune survivors exist amongst the rubble of Glasgow. Sinclair accepts and the game is on.
Hmm, a rag-tag team of soldiers and scientists lead by a strong female character, that happens to know the territory of said excursion from a long time ago—whom is known only by her last name, are sent into a danger zone of unknown hostile activity to search for survivors in large armor plated tank-trucks. Sound familiar?
As for the film as a whole, I think they really should have called it:
HOMAGEDAY: Originality has a expiration date.
There really isn’t an original idea in the entire film. It just lifts a bunch of them from other movies, including, but not limited to: 28 DAYS LATER, ALIENS, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, MAD MAX 2 and THE WARRIORS. And with 28 DAYS excluded, it never even come close to being as good as any of the films it re-imagines. But the truth is, I fucking love these referential movies. Before the eighties there really wasn’t much of a “pop-culture”, at least not like there is today with the internet and home video. You could say that STAR WARS was the first big casserole of film homages, but I think Tarantino is the most responsible for creating the “genre”, if it has indeed become that. Every film he has done has lifted heavily from the films that he loved growing up and DOOMSDAY is more of the same. Of course with an 80s, rather than a 70s, twist and certainly not as well shot or well written as a Tarantino joint, it’s still a really fun picture even with all of it’s little flaws.
My only real big complaint is the god damn editing. Using the slow-mo button, you’re able to see what I think Marshall had intended: a string of re-enacted action scenes featuring the best the 80s had to offer. But, apparently this was not exciting enough, so they took a pair of scissors and went to town on the print. The action is quick-cut to annoying levels and it makes the sequences seem like they are trying to hide a lack of professional stunt talent. This is made worse by the fact that the supporting characters are almost all indistinguishable from one another, are poorly developed and all but two of them die literally 10 minutes (or less) after being introduced. Sure, they add to the body count, but it’s frustrating as you never really care when they get picked off. It would be like if the team from ALIENS were all introduced mid-way through the film and all but Hicks, Ripley and Newt were killed off ten minutes later.
In closing, the sum of DOOMSDAY’s many parts never live up to the random sequences it’s paying homage to, but at the same time, it was just so much fun to watch a movie made by people who love the same films I do. So I dug it. And as long as you don’t watch it with hopes of it being better than the films it lifts from, I think you’ll have a good time also.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Rhona Mitra is Maj. Sinclair
“What did they call you before Major?” – “Eden.”
Take a bunch of cool aspects from some of the best 80s sci-fi action heroes and put it into a model/actress and bingo—you have Eden Sinclair. And I love her. But, I can’t really put my finger on why, as she doesn’t bring a whole hellova lot to the picture. Eden sports a black tank-top and rocks an eye patch like Snake, but she never really deliverers his likability and I never saw her as the “Anti-Hero” like I did Kurt Russell or Mel Gibson. But I think a large part of this goes to her lack of witty dialogue.
Eden says stuff like “Bollocks” and “There’s something you don’t see every day” but it’s always delivered in a deadpan that I just don’t find humorous. The only thing that Mitra really does to sell the character well is leave us with a self-satisfying smirk in the final shot of the film. I figure it’s that look, the circumstances as to why she gives it and the fact that she is unbelievably boner inducingly hot, that attracts me so much to her character. I guess I’m just a sucker for skinny brunettes in tank-tops. And I feel no shame about it.
[THE BODY COUNT: FUCKED IF I KNOW]
More than D-Day, but less than Judgment Day. I tried to count the kills, but got frustrated with the bad editing. It was hard enough trying to keep track of Eden’s, which I believe was 39, give or take a couple. Pretty good numbers for a chick, especially by this decade’s pussified, child-friendly, PG-13 action movie standards. On top of the massive body count, we are given multiple explosions, car chases and hand-to-hand combat sequences that build and build to a pretty satisfying ending. If this film is good for anything, it would have to be its non-stop hard R violence peppered throughout. It’s a bloody good time.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]
Just before Eden is sent onto a medieval gladiatorial battlefield, (don’t ask, you just need to watch) she has a chat with the castle’s ruler, Kane (Malcolm McFuckingDowell). Kane explains his newfound psychotic and religious outlook as a result from losing his family in the outbreak and asks “What have YOU ever lost.” To which Eden replies, “…”. Um, OK?
Eden coldly marches out to her fate and proceeds to kick ass against all odds. After disarming her executioner she says, “I’ll tell you what I’ve lost—I’ve lost my bloody mind” and buries his own pike deep into his mongoloid melon.
This is as cool as her character ever gets, (until the very last scene) and it is a pretty big let down. It’s not a terrible line, but the delivery is WAY off. It was no mistake that I quoted it without an exclamation point, that’s just the way she says it. Quietly and so only the gladiator could have heard it. But he isn’t that one who asked her, it was Kane. Why she didn’t shout this as a warcry for Kane to hear, I’ll never understand, as it really would have improved the badassness of the fight. But regardless of the missed opportunity, it’s still the best of the film. It’s fun to watch and not as badly edited as the previous ones. It’s reminiscent of Snake’s fight in EFNY and one of the few times Mitra sells her stone-cold cynical Plisskin-esque demeanor.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Aside from the legions of shirtless cyberpunks, I didn’t notice any. You might think that all the bare skinned cannibals would be enough to orbit this movie into the homoverse, but these creatures are far from appealing. Stringy, tattooed, covered in their own feces… This is not attractive and thus renders this film almost completely hetero.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
I’m glad that even in a post-apocalyptic society, the ladies never lost the tradition of shaving their armpits and legs. And that’s a good thing. But sadly, much like their male counterparts, the fine young lady cannibals only seem interested in teasing us with exposed mid-riffs and some occasional sweaty cleavage.
There is however an instance near the beginning of the film where Eden shotguns a naked female human trafficker while she’s taking a bath. Which was pretty sweet, but that’s it as far as nudity. Thankfully though, this flick doesn’t skimp on the feminine torture. Despite the fact that the women of the film are tough-as-nails, take-no-shit leaders, it doesn’t stop them from getting tortured and scarred for being defiant in the eyes of their male overlords.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Mad Eden: The Road Dominatrix
Sol and the cannibals are waiting with a caravan of cadaver-filled, carnage-creating, death machines as Sinclair makes for the Scotland-England border. The high speed chase that ensues is as fast and furious as it is unbelievable and nonsensical. It powers along, crescendoing to the film’s moneyshot, and even though they blew their wad in the trailer, it still pumped my nads. It caps off the end of the race with a big satisfying bang and aside from the digital fire, was done practically and it really shows.
The one-liner I took the liking to however, did not belong to the heroine, but to Malcolm McDowell. When expressing his feelings toward the suffering public of London and their need for a cure, he exclaims:
“They started this fire. They can BURN in it!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
In the land of the infected, the immune man is king. And if you’re hungry, have a piece of your friend.
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season [Doomsday]*
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
*Cheap? Maybe. Funny? Definitely.
“It’s Feeding Time At The FUCKIN’ ZOO!”
Doomsday (2008) © Rogue Pictures and Universal Studios Home Entertainment