Considering the iconic status Doom has enjoyed since its release in the early nineties it’s somewhat surprising it took as long as it did to spawn a big screen movie outing. That said the game was never big on storyline, so beyond the setting of blowing the shit out of monsters on some alien planet filmmakers never had much to work with. The arrival of a more story driven third videogame outing back in 2004 set in motion this movie incarnation about a tactical response squad sent to Mars where all hell has broken loose in an apparently innocent research lab. Of course they’re up to no good, experimenting with human subjects and their wrong doings have come back to literally bite them in the ass. This all adds up to a very simplistic action film with some science-fiction twists and a tagged on back-story involving one of the marine’s family who were lost to the desolate Mars surface many years ago. Although a little forced the relationship between said marine and his estranged sister who just happens to work in the research facility does provide the backbone of the story, bringing them together in the face of adversity and, well, you know the drill. The real question is – are the monsters up to scratch and do we get some quality action? The answer is sadly no on both accounts, with the majority of the monsters simple human deformations with no real memorable attributes, while the action is often too brief and hazy to really appreciate. Even the selection of marines is woefully inadequate, all typical stock figures unable to inject any humour into the stale dialogue while The Rock fails to show any of the charisma he had alluded to in previous outings at the time. His character also manages to move rapidly from understanding honourable leader to corporation controlled soldier all in aid of moving the plot along. Only the FPS gimmick will really stay with me after seeing this film, as it’s well implemented and done so with good reason as opposed to throwing it in there for none at all.
Director Andrzej Bartkowiak does however keep things moving along at a good pace and the cast – particularly Urban and Pike as the siblings – are solid enough. Combined with the relatively high budget and a balls-to-the-wall heavy metal all-out-action approach this goes someway to explaining how, for all the areas Doom finds itself lacking, it manages to remain fairly engaging on a basic level.
The Disc: A predominately very dark film Doom never really jumps out at you but this Blu-ray does feature a nicely detailed transfer with good contrast and no obvious compression issues. The primary English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is probably the highlight of the disc, as Doom features a very active and aggressive sound mix which is brought to life exceptionally well. This one is loud, so crank it up and enjoy the film how it was intended to be experienced.
The extras on the disc (all SD NTSC format) match the previous DVD releases and consist of 6 reasonably short featurettes. In the order they’re listed below, these focus on the weapons and tactics training the actors underwent, the make-up process for The Rock, creature design, the FPS sequence, the history of the videogame series, and a Doom III tips featurette. With the exception of the last featurette which is really of very limited interest, these are all good examples of how to do a short featurette, light on promotional talk and heavy on content.