Doomsday (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Doomsday</strong> (2008)

(On DVD, December 2009) I suppose we shouldn’t begrudge the boys a bit of fun when then set out to make a Scottish post-apocalyptic horror/action film featuring a gun-toting babe.  Still, Doomsday most often feels like a tedious rehash of about half a dozen far better films, made with mechanical skills and little inspiration.  The plot points are so painfully contrived that they create resentment and very little viewer buy-in.  (A plague contained by locking off Scotland?  Uh-huh.)  By the time we reach the cannibalistic barbarians inspired by Prodigy videos and then a pseudo-medieval tyrant, it’s obvious that if Doomsday has anything left to show us, it will be in bits and pieces of direction, not in the overall script or end result.  Director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) is lost in the woods during most of the film, but from time to time there’s a striking shot or action set-piece that reminds us of his past successes and makes us wish this was a far better film.  Rhona Mitra (presumably standing-in for Kate Beckinsale) is the only one besides Bob Hoskins who emerges from this film with even a smidgen of respect left.  The action tends to be on the splattery side, something that the “unrated” DVD version tends to maximize to very little improvement over the theatrical version.  After a ludicrous car chase that is still better than most of the film, the ending fizzles off –much like the rest of Doomsday.  It is what it is, one supposes –but there’s a reason why it disappeared from North American theatres in mere days. The DVD extra features make it clearer that the picture was aiming for a deliberate hommage to SF exploitation pictures and is reasonably entertaining in describing how to do wide-scale action on a budget… but don’t redeem the end result.

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