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Andrzej Bartkowiak, USA, 2005

Rating: 3.0


Posted: October 30, 2005

Special Ops marines with state-of-the-art firepower are sent to a Mars research facility to eliminate mutants. Man, the plot just about writes itself! Of course, the story is all too familiar to you armchair warriors who have played the video game. Oh yes, baby, itís another video game thatís been turned into a movie.

I gotta admit that when I saw The Rock on various talk shows promoting Doom, even I was taken in by his sales pitch. I mean really, people! The Rock, strapped to the max with the BFG, hosing down monsters. He promised me a quick start and non-stop action. But I gotta tell ya, about forty-five minutes into the film, I learned something that bruised my soul: The Rock lied to me! If I canít trust The Rock, then where do I find my touchstone of humanity?

All right, before The Rockís legions assail me, lemme tell ya, this movie ainít all that bad. Doom does deliver some pretty sweet action. It just takes awhile to get going. Look, when you're making a film of the video game Doom, any time spent on plot development is time that you could be firing machine guns.

I wonít even dignify the plot by attempting to explain it here, so letís just say The Rock does deliver a little twist, dipping his toes into the anti-Tom Cruise pool of cinema. The Rock is secure enough not to have to be the pretty boy who does everything better than anyone else. If there was ever a place to turn this man loose, Doom was it. For most of the film, however, he's just waiting to break free (not like breaking free in the Queen song, I mean breaking free in a hurricane of gunfire and explosions). When The Rock gets his chance, though, it is a little bit of a letdown. The character twist is cool, but let the man work his art! Let him crack some skulls and kick more ass, dammit!

Kudos to the first-person-shooter camera angle used late in the film. It works! Unlike House of the Dead, which spliced in lame video game footage and relied only on the heaving cleavage of Ona Grauer to carry it, Doom thinks outside the box here, and that alone is reason to celebrate. Chances are you know what you're in for when you go see a film based on a video game, especially Doom. The only fault here is that one gets the feeling that the film left a bit on the table and didn't give the audience all it could have.

Of course, there are those out there that will read a moral message into it pertaining to steroids, as the film shows the potential hazards of altering human physiology. In a world where the pharmaceutical industry spends about 94% of its research on how to give 85-year-old men erections, I say what the hell! If you can come up with a drug to give me superhuman strength and the only downside is that I occasionally freak out and pull out the hearts of some timid eunuch standing in line to see a Julia Roberts film, then that is a risk I, for one, am willing to take. But Iím funny like that.

Look, Doom gets the nod just on the fact that over a thousand rounds of machine gun ammo are fired. There's a lot to be said for that. Even if this is not a prime example of The Rock stretching his acting legs, he ainít here to play King Lear for me, you feel what I'm sayin'? Now that I've put everything into its proper perspective, Doom has my endorsement. And that alone is reason enough to see it.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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