I have to say that when Doom was being developed my expectations weren't too high, after all there wasn't much of a story there. Oh yes there is a backstory to the videogame, but it really is a means to an end and is there just to get the characters in situ for the impending shooting and destruction.
So what could you really expect from the film version? Not that much, especially with the lead being the Rock. Action is what you wanted, action is what you'll get.
The reviews didn't do any better and pointed out how dire it was, but when I watched it I got quite a surprise, it's much better than it was made out to be. In fact it even makes a good attempt at expanding the storyline.
The first section of the film is strong and leans surprisingly away from the shoot everything that moves idea. It's slower, dark, and really does try to give more of a Predator or Aliens feel to it. I'm not saying that it manages it, but it does take a good shot.
We're introduced to mysterious events on Mars, the distress call and the marine team all rather quickly and then it's down to business, and that business is killing.
The opening of the film is a lot stronger than you're led to expect and it doesn't descend into the poor territory you've been led to believe. It's certainly on par with Resident Evil and other such films, but what this does better is it really does try to create something a little different from the source material and deliver a movie from the shallowness of the game.
Rock and Karl Urban are good, with the other team members delivering fun performances of their stock character types with cliché filled lines and delivery. What is good is that Rock has a harder edge to him, and isn't exactly the character you expect him to be. With that the storyline does deliver some moral ambiguity and thoughtful pause on what it is to be a soldier, this certainly surprised me.
However, Rosamund Pike must seriously be questioned about her acting commitment to this role. For most of the film her character delivers a generic accent with a continually aghast mouth and no facial expression. Quite poor indeed.
The scenes of corridor sweeping and action sequences are good fun, and I was surprised how much I was taken into the whole feel of the film through these moments. What is perhas most interesting is the sequence of first person that's in the film. From the moment the good guy takes off w enter the game mode of the film and stay with this for a few moments.
I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't really that bad. The action was strong and the use of the view to provide frights and horror was very well done. Hugely aided throughout by good lighting, although sometimes just a little too dark to follow all the action.
The effects are very well done from the creatures and gore through to the futuristic touches of such things as the solidifying invisible wall which went from translucent to solid at the flick of a switch.
The ending though is a tad confusing. Not the fight but the sudden understanding of what is the underlying cause of the events in the complex and who is, and how they are, affected. This touched on some really interesting ideas and seemed like it could setup a strong area of conflict to misdirect the audience and then surprise them later. Yet this seems to have been slightly misplayed and the affect lost.
Overall I would say that it gave Doom fans just what they wanted, and more. It also gives action-horror fans a nice little film. Given a revisit by the editing team I think we really could see a better, more thrilling and suspenseful ending, which could build tension better than it did.
As it is, it's not as bad as the reviewers made out when it was released and does give that Dom feeling along with plenty of Rock action. If only there were more of that BFG.