DOOM: Where's Tron when you need him?

By sizemore Last edited 157 months ago
DOOM: Where's Tron when you need him?

Keep your head down and hit the doors running, a quick 360 around the foyer... nothing. You're safe. Check behind the counter for supplies. Take what you can carry and leave the rest in case you have to double back. Sprint forward towards the escalators. Keep moving until you get to the 4th floor. Another set of double doors in front of you. Slowly this time, edge your way in. Stealth. There's something moving up ahead to your right in the dark. Duck left and jump into the centre of the room. Lights come up. Did you trip something? Idiot. A screen grows bright ahead and something behind you screams "Sit down, you arse!" You duck and popcorn and M&M's rain down around you. You look up and realise you're trapped. The word DOOM fills the screen. Game over... Sorry, but you don't get to start again outside the cinema and pick the Rowan Atkinson movie.

You've gotta have pretty low expectations already to go see a big screen movie based on a first person shooter and one starring The Rock no less, but director Andrzej Bartkowiak takes any small glimmer of hope that something of the gaming experience will survive the transition and kills it stone dead.

For those of you that have never fiddled too much with your joypads 'Doom' the game is to shootemups as 'Diana' the princess was to skiing holidays. A pretty big deal. Plot wise it’s mostly about hefting something heavy and shooting, bashing and exploding whatever drops in front of your first person perspective - mostly shooting. Now with so little mythology to get out of the way (basically you just need some big lunks, some monsters and a lot of guns - set it on Mars and make at least one reference to Hell) a better director and team of writers could have done a lot of interesting things here. Maybe develop the characters a little more, perhaps even try and make us care a little about them before churning them up... maybe just sit the fuck down and watch Aliens first.

Sadly what we are served up lacks tension first and foremost and has not a single likeable character. Resident Evil was better than this and that movie sucked worse than a collapsed lung. The actors do what they can, but everyone's role is to just run around a lot, mostly in the dark and try and react to the CGI. Naturally then there's a lot of "Jesus!" and "What the hell was that?" which quickly resolves itself into sci-fi plot number 45 - 'lets run away and blow things up'. The Rock apparently passed up on the role of 'hero' thinking the role of Sarge to be better - it isn't. Although he does get to play with the BFG (which in the fanboy universe is like getting to second base with the chick from the Harry Potter films), but here is a damp squib as one pull of the trigger means that some badly rendered CGI is wiped over with another van load of pixels while The Rock gets to utter the line "Big. Fucking. Gun" but is mostly heard to remark "Ah shit!". We're not talking Robert Towne here. Of course the whole thing finishes on the expected low note of extended fisticuffs and over the top wrestling moves that the 14 year target audience will probably yawn through too.

Karl Urban as Mark Grimm has the sad task of taking a role that The Rock passed on and while he was great in Lord of The Rings and especially good in The Bourne Supremacy here he's got very little to play with - apart from his sister. Rosamund Pike, our favourite Fanny in Love in a Cold Climate, gets to play THE GIRL and point out, quite literally, that bras aren't part of the fashionable scientist's wardrobe on Mars.

The hype - if there is any - is all about the fact that some scenes are shot from the traditional first person shooter perspective... if this is the only reason you want to see the film then walk in about an 15 minutes from the end and you'll be treated to the best bit of the trailer - although it's oddly dissatisfying - like when your younger sibling walks in, grabs the control and finishes a level for you without even trying.

Worst of all Dwayne doesn't even get to raise his eyebrow like he did in The Scorpion King.

We'd love to say that this will be the final nail in the coffin of such nonsense, but worse is yet to come. At least here The Rock gets to play a character who had a whole arm on view in the game - in the upcoming Spy Hunter he'll be playing a character normally hidden underneath the roof of a white car. At least with a downward spiral like this we can hope for a buddy buddy team up with Vin Diesel as two mismatched cops somewhere down the line... CSI: Testosterone or something.

Doom opens tomorrow.

Last Updated 01 December 2005