Doom is an uninspired film that has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The original Doom was one of the most controversial video games ever created as it used satanic imagery and had high levels of violence and gore. But when it was first released, the game was also one of the most engaging pieces of software anybody could experience on a personal computer. Because of this, Doom quickly became not only one of the most installed games, but also one of the most important titles in gaming history. Ironically, the game’s story was quite simple and even though it worked really well for it, it doesn’t seem particularly suited for a film adaptation.
As most people know, Doom’s first iteration followed the story of an unnamed soldier, who also happened to be the sole survivor in a base on Mars. Apparently, some scientists were making some weird experiments and they accidentally created a portal between Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ moons. As a consequence, a myriad of fearsome monsters invaded the facility, killing everyone in sight. The basic plot of the film seems to be loosely based on these events, though some minor changes have been made to try making it a little more appealing to people who aren’t familiar with the game.
In Doom the movie, a group of deadly marines, called RRTS (or Rapid Response Tactical Squad), is sent to solve a “hostile situation” in a scientific facility in Mars, a placed commonly known as “UAC Ark Facility”. The members of the squad are: Sarge (The Rock), Reaper, Destroyer, Mac, Goat, Duke, Portman and The Kid. These marines have to rescue all the survivors along with a female scientist, called Samantha Grimm, who is sent with them to retrieve some valuable data. Soon after this and as you may expect, dozens of gruesome creatures make an appearance and they start killing marines.
In fact, the presence of monsters is explained over and over in the movie, but even after these explanations the whole matter doesn’t make any sense at all. Apparently, scientists have created humanoids, which were able to develop an extra chromosome. As a consequence, they are faster, stronger and smarter than regular human beings, and they can also regenerate their health almost instantly. The problem is that this DNA carries “evil” and if the person who is injected these chromosomes isn’t apt, he or she can be transformed into a monster. The whole explanation just feels lazy or even confusing and most fanatics of the games would have probably preferred that the original story had remained untouched.
The film is loosely based on different concepts from the original Doom, its follow-up Doom 2: Hell on Earth and on Doom 3. The problem with the plot is that it doesn’t necessarily translate very well into a film, mainly because the most important elements of the games have always been their engaging gameplay and their huge sense of immersion. Additionally, there are many references to the games, for example, one of the key characters in the story is called Dr. Carmack, just like the lead programmer of Doom. The futuristic weapon known as the BFG (Big Fucking Gun) is also featured in the film for a few minutes.
Furthermore, an important problem with the movie is the characters. It’s quite difficult to care about the characters because we never get to know anything about them. There’s never any tension, drama or even some back stories to know their main motivations. They just seem unidimensional, extremely stereotyped, simple and their dialogues are terrible and pretty predictable overall. Many clichés of the horror and science fiction genres are included and soon you’ll feel like the movie is trying too hard to frighten you. Moreover, the movie also has a really weird sense of humor, but it doesn’t seem self-aware or anything remotely similar to that. As a result, most jokes not only end up being unfunny, but they are also poorly delivered. These are immature jokes dealt in a really immature way.
In addition, it seems as it took the director almost two hours to make a statement that the game clearly explained in only two minutes. Marines want to kill monsters in Mars (no alliteration intended)! Also, at times you’ll feel like you’re watching a science fiction movie and at other times you’ll feel like you’re watching a horror movie. The problem is that these elements never blend in an elegant way, so the approach of putting both together seems woefully defective. Eventually, viewers will get to the conclusion that apart from the title, the film doesn’t relate to the video games in any other meaningful ways.
Another flawed aspect is monster design, as it seems to be taken directly from the video games and most creatures look really appalling. All the other special effects are also awful and seem really out of place. The techno music used for some fighting sequences is terrible, but probably the sequence that stands out the most is the one trying to emulate a video game itself. When the main character wakes up after receiving the injection with the extra chromosome, the movie follows him from the first person perspective as if you were the one controlling him. For some minutes, all the dialogues are abandoned and the only thing you can see is this character shooting barrels and all the terrible-looking monsters around the base. This is arguably the worst scene in the whole movie.
In conclusion, Doom the movie has simple characters, some terrible first person sequences, a confusing plot and a weird sense of humor. This is an uninspired film that has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. If you’re a fan of the games you should simply stay away from this movie as it doesn’t add anything new to the franchise. Watching Doom feels like watching the video game being played, but unfortunately it’s never your turn.