'Doom' lives up to name on screen

JANE STEVENSON - Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:38 AM ET

PLOT: Marines head to Mars to investigate a mysterious, turns out, deadly occurrence at a research facility in the year 2046. Based on the popular video game of the same name.

Doom, the latest video game-turned-movie, follows in the path of most of its predecessors in terms of being a downright stinker.

That's not to say, however, that fans of the hugely popular Doom video game won't get a kick out of this futuristic sci-fi horror action adventure. It is chockablock with amputations, gore, monsters, body parts, gunplay, gadgets, marines, bad dialogue and an attractive researcher played by former Bond girl and British actress Rosamund Pike.

Doom stars wrestler-turned-actor The Rock as Sarge, the head of an elite group of marines known as the Rapid Response Tactical Squad that lands on Mars where things have gone horribly wrong at a research facility -- when don't they?

The RRTS is made up of a crew of eight men, the studliest of which is John, whose handle is Reaper, played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban, best known for his role as the Rohan warrior Eomer in the The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

He is possibly the only actor who manages to make it through this mindless movie with his dignity intact. There's a subplot that involves John's strained relationship with Dr. Samantha Grimm (Pike).

Otherwise, providing some much needed comic relief is the greasy-haired, yellow-toothed marine Portman (Richard Brake), whose idea of a good time is holing up in a hotel room with "a bottle of tequila and three she-boys."

Hey, if it got me out of watching this movie, I'd join him.

Ostensibly, The Rock is the lead character but all he's given to do is bark at his men, drop the f-bomb liberally, blow away hellish creatures and upgrade his weaponry to the BFG -- big f---ing gun from the video game -- that can impressivly do some major damage.

The filmmakers -- led by cinematographer-turned-director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds) -- earn some credit for coming up with some cool looking gadgetry, futuristic imagery, frightening monsters, and a forboding atmosphere in the research facility's dark corridors and rooms.

The marines travel via a liquid-looking circular portal to The Red Planet, while solid walls at the research facility can instantly become passable via the touch of a button.

The portal is not perfect, however. Pinky (British actor Dexter Fletcher), is a plucky wheelchair-bound communications officer at the research facility who is basically a torso attached to wheels. "He went to one galaxy, his ass went to another," is the explanation given his botched travel via the portal.

Thankfully too, the filmmakers also keep the first person shooter perspective -- a popular aspect of the video game -- to a mininum, using it only during a five minute sequence toward the end of this already too-long movie.

BOTTOM LINE: Gamers will probably eat this up the first weekend. Everyone else, avoid like the plague.

(This film is rated 18-A)


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