Doom is, hands-down, the best video game-based movie ever - by far.
If you don't play video games and the above sentence means nothing to you, you can still be sure that Doom is a darn good action flick.
If you aren't an action movie fan, then don't even bother with Doom. It's full of cheesy dialogue, bad acting and plenty of sci-fi movie ripoffs.
Yet it's also full of endless faithful visual recreations from the games, top-notch special effects (thank you once again Stan Winston Studios), and even a cool plot twist.
Doom incorporates every action film stereotype under the sun, from malfunctioning flashlights to people investigating dark areas when they should be moving away from them.
The fact of the matter, though, is there's much more good in Doom than bad and it's a whole lot of fun. Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. WWE's The Rock) is the perfect man to play the quiet, brooding leader Sarge.
If you're a fan of the Doom series (more specifically, the most recent addition, Doom3), you won't go more than a few minutes without picking out something that comes straight from the game. It's unbelievably refreshing to see how well the director and special effects guys put everything together to move everything from your living room to the theatre. The security screens at each door are perfectly recreated and the guns look and sound awesome in all their chest-thumping, bone-shattering glory. All the big artillery is included too - the BFG, the shotgun, chain gun, machine gun, grenades, the chainsaw - it's a sight to behold.
Again, for the pure action movie fan, the plot is simple to follow, though this is the area where followers of the game will see one glaring difference. In the Doom games, creatures are transported straight from hell to a space station on Mars where humans are conducting secret research. In the movie, the year is 2046 and the monsters aren't really demons, but human science experiments gone horribly awry (though things are still set on the big red planet). The good thing about this is that it allows for both fans and non-fans of the games to jump right in to the movie on the same page. Just remember, Doom game fans - you can't have everything, but what you are given is superb.
There is a secondary plotline involving John Grimm (or 'Reaper' as he's known to his fellow Marines) and his twin sister, the scientist Samantha Grimm. Things between them get a little hokey and this is another area where the movie suffers. Thankfully, the writers don't focus on this too much and the next head shot or monster isn't too far away.
If you haven't guessed by now, Doom is definitely not appropriate for youngsters. Once again staying true to the games, there is no shortage of gore to keep fans of this genre quite happy. Adolescent guys who go to this movie are going to love every shotgun blast to the head and extremity being torn from a body, but it'll be way too much for a kid in the single-digits age range. 'Doom' blurs the line between movie and game.
The Doom game has very little dialogue (in fact, the Sarge character doesn't speak a single word in Doom3), so when anyone does open their mouth in the movie it's liable to get some unintentional laughs from the audience. There is plenty of purposeful comedic bits to keep things light enough while the main characters are walking around in almost perpetual darkness.
Another superb point that must be singled out is the extended 'first person shooter' sequence. It is such a faithfully recreated and spot-on homage to the game that the creators of the movie can breath a big sigh of relief if they were ever worried about what the fans would think. This alone is worth the price of admission if you have ever played one of these types of games - flammable barrels are shot and explode on enemies, the gun carrier reloads and strafes realistically around corners and enemies' blood splatters with every bullet. It's all so perfectly recreated that it actually sets a precedent for future video game-based films and it's a sure bet that upcoming first-person shooter-based movies (hello, Halo) will rip this off.
It's blatantly obvious that the Doom movie is aimed at all of the males who love playing these games and that was one of the smartest things the creators did, considering just how many people are now playing video games. They're tapping a very loyal market that has money to burn. If the movie wasn't true to the game, it would likely crash at the box office. I'm guessing we'll get a sequel within a year and a half.
(This film is rated 18-A)