Doom And Gloom

British writer and director Neil Marshall announced himself as a potential B-movie auteur with 2005’s queasily claustrophobic horror The Descent, but squanders all of that promise, along with his bigger budget, in the dispiritingly derivative adventure Doomsday.

A lumpy splicing of all the best bits from Mad Max, 28 Days Later, Escape From New York and Aliens, Doomsday opens with a familiar set-up for the post-apocalypse when something called the Reaper virus sweeps through Scotland, causing everyone to break out in oozing boils and fall over dead. Rather than effect a rescue, the quasi-fascist British government decide to quarantine the entire country by building a huge wall around it and waiting for things to get quiet. Thirty years later, a spy satellite shows signs of people back on the streets of Glasgow, so slimy government gonk Canaris (David O’Hara) sends crack one-eyed super-agent Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) over the wall to check it out.

After losing most of her squad fighting off a rampaging horde of futuristic cannibal punks led by the unhinged Sol (Craig Conway), Eden arrives at the medieval castle of mad scientist Kane (Malcolm McDowell), who takes her on a guided tour of the plot. Following a few tedious battles with anachronistic knights, she makes her escape in a handy if somewhat miraculous sports-car, being chased by the yodelling punks in their modified Mad Max motors. Meanwhile, in a poorly realised split narrative, back in London Canaris has taken power in a coup d’etat, despite the fidgety attentions of rain-coated copper Nelson (Bob Hoskins).

Take the endless references and inspirations away, and there isn't much left in Doomsday; the entire thing plays out without a solitary line of decent dialogue, a memorable character or single frame that wasn’t larcenously acquired from another, far superior, movie. Even the numerous action sequences, the main draw for genre fans, are scuttled by poor photography and inattentive, stroboscopic editing. The whole shuddering shambles plays out like a 1980s action movie clip from Be Kind Rewind; a dilettante attempt to pass someone else’s work off as your own.

1 comment:

squire23 said...

An hour and a half of life robbed. Worst film since 10,000BC. Rhona Mitra looked like the kinda cheap version of Kate Beckinsale from Underworld you'd buy on Moore St.