(2005)  1/2 R
100 min. Universal Pictures. Cast: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike.

In a presumably unintentional irony, one of the worst movies of the year (Doom) is set in 2046, the partial setting of one of the best films of the year (Wong Kar-Wai's 2046). 2046 is about the mysteries of love; Doom is about firepower. 2046 promises visual splendor and ideas; Doom is truth in advertising. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die) makes "B" movies with "A-" budgets, and he knows it, but self-aware crap is, after all, still crap.

If Doom were legitimately entertaining instead of a sleep-aid, I would be swift to recommend it. The audience at which Doom is aimed will presumably get what they deserve and not much mind that it's entirely bereft of original ideas. At the introduction, by way of a caressing camera, of the Bio-Force Gun (a.k.a. The BFG a.k.a. The Big Fucking Gun), Doom's audience will presumably cheer while tourists like me roll their eyes.

Doom is based on the third in a series of popular first-person-shooter games with a science-fiction angle. In this installment, a Marine Rapid Response Tactical Squad takes advantage of a portal to the Martian Olduvai Research Station to investigate a massacre there and shoot whatever they find.

Ranking Marine "Sarge" is played by none other than The Rock, whose heroic stance gradually erodes as he clashes with Karl Urban's "Reaper" (you can't go teleport to Mars without first acquiring a cool nickname). Trying to connect the dots between the chaotic opening massacre and the rather calm scene to which the Marines arrive is a fool's errand; nothing in Doom makes much sense. Reaper has a Personal InterestTM in the mission—his sister is stationed at Olduvai—but characterization has never seemed less important in the rapidly growing genre of video-game cinema (and can anyone name me a good video-game movie? I won't hold my breath).

As far as character goes, one Marine snarls a lot and scars himself for every sin he commits, and Reaper muses, inaccurately, that "ten percent of the human genome is unmapped" (could it be a soul? could it be eeevil?). Mostly, though, Doom concerns itself with artillery motifs: selecting weapons and blasting them at beasties. The Rock delivers the film's most nonsensical line just before toasting a creature: "Semper Fi, motherfucker!" That'll teach the genetically mutated monster!

Eventually, Doom delivers its inevitable first-person shooter sequence. Though Bartkowiak wittily begins the sequence with the shooter looking in the mirror before the audience becomes him, I won't take responsibility for this sort of mindless entertainment. As far as I can tell, no one is at the controls of Doom.

Share/bookmark: Digg Facebook Fark Furl Google Bookmarks Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo! My Web Permalink Permalink

Aspect ratios: 2.35:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio

Street date: 2/10/2009

Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Given that Doom is one of the darkest (in a literal sense) Hollywood releases I've ever seen, the Blu-ray picture is somewhat miraculous. Low light often creates havoc on home video images, but Doom looks solid as the Rock. It's a clean and detailed image unmarred by digital artifacts. The DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 is reference quality, pounding away with plenty of immersive action.

In the extras department, you'll find "Basic Training" (10:33, SD), a behind-the-scenes look at the actors' education in weaponry and the ways of the warrior. The Rock, Richard Brake, military advisor Tom McAdams, Raz Adoti, Karl Urban, and Deobia Oparei are interviewed.

In "Rock Formation" (5:37, SD), animatronic and makeup effects supervisor John Rosengrant, make-up artists Jeff Dawn and Richard Alonzo takes us through the application (and design) of the Rock's special makeup.

"Master Monster Makers" (10:55, SD) explores the special effects with producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, ID Software lead artist Kenneth Scott, Rosengrant, The Rock, Doug Jones, Rosamund Pike.

"First-Person Shooter Sequence" (5:56) takes a closer look at the signature scene, with special effects supervisor Jon Farhat and Di Bonaventura.

"Doom Nation" is an entertaining look at Doom enthusiasts. Participants include Attack of the Show host Kevin Pereira, X-Play hosts Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler, The Rock, ID Software co-owner/CEO Todd Hollenshead, Di Bonaventura, Scott, ID Software co-owner/technical director John Carmack, ID Software co-owner/artist Kevin Cloud, ID Software co-owner/lead designer Tim Willits.

"Game On!" (6:47, SD) offers up tips on Doom 3.

Universal also offers up its My Scenes option, share-able through BD-Live.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

Share this review:
Share/bookmark: Digg Facebook Fark Furl Google Bookmarks Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo! My Web Permalink Permalink
Sponsored Links