Setting out to prove that it is impossible to make a decent film if the script stunk in the first place Doomsday is a dog of a film. Derivative to the point of cheating, If a film constanty reminds the viewer of other films that are much better and one of those films is Matrix: Reloaded then that film has lost. Totally. Probably pitched as Braveheart meets Mad Max with Lara Croft, this got the studio executives masturbating furiously and allowed Neil Marshall time to sneak off and make the damn thing.
After the original, deliciously schlocky Dog Soldiers and the knife edge, taut as a wire The Descent it’s difficult to see what attracted Neil Marshall to Doomsday, but given that he wrote it it seems to be a case of the blind leading the blind in an ever decreasing circle. Sealing off Scotland because of the reaper virus outbreak then having a special ops team try and make it into Glasgow twenty years later to find a cure isn’t a bad idea, it’s just executed poorly. Really poorly. Throw a brick at any post apocalyptic movie of the last forty years and you’ll hit an idea that has been bastardized here, including Stalker. Seriously.
Assembling a brilliant sounding cast for this slight, B-Movie fare (Hoskins, McDowell, Lester, Siddig, Pertwee) then cramming their mouths full of clunky, almost entirely expositionary dialogue seems cruel. Then sticking Rhona Mitra next to them to point out the obvious is tantamount to torture. Forcing them to endure a punked up, kilted, post apocalyptic, cannibal rave is grounds for a UN Intervention. The cast want scenery to chew and hams to eat but they’re given scraps, lines that Lucas would balk at.
Films like this exist to sell a lie. Not a plausable concept to begin with, the structure had better be airtight or people will not follow you. Like a spoof, a tongue in cheek horror had better stick to it’s own rules or it’s in serious trouble. Doomsday falls apart from the off. Continuity errors and impossibilities creep in and break the fourth wall so fast it’s stillborn. Never given a chance to breathe, Doomsday drowns in a puddle of yellow liquid that it produced itself. Not content to be solely a bad film, Doomsday then becomes a company shill…..
Who allowed the extended scene in which a Jaguar glides around picturesque corners in the highlands that could be lifted out and used for a commercial with no cuts or changes whatsoever? It makes the Volksvagen that features prominently in Knocked Up look low key and realistically placed. Films should not be shop windows, but if they have to be they could have the fucking decency to look embarressed about it.
With an ending that doesn’t make sense (or be good or bad), a restricted zone that looks more picturesque than the crammed metropolitan hellhole we’re supposed to be rooting for (Stalker..see?) and a directionless sense of momentum that seems bent on getting us nowhere Doomsday is shitty, self destructive moviemaking. A real shame from one of cinema’s good guys. Sorry Neil.