A fun tribute to 80s action classics like Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, that’s like a time capsule trip back to the that era of movies. Those who call it unoriginal and a rip-off, don’t understand that a rip-off wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious and downright giddy about wearing it’s influences so proudly out in the open. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of those two 80’s classics and with nods to other flicks like The Warriors and even Excalibur. Doomsday is a homage, and director Neil Marshall never intended it otherwise. I am a big fan of Marshall and I get exactly what he was doing here. The similarities are all deliberate and taken as such, this film is a nostalgic blast.
Doomsday tells of a near future where a horrible and deadly virus has broken out in Scotland and the British government walls the country off and leaves the survivors to die. Britain is reviled and exiled by the rest of the world and now is becoming one giant slum. When the aptly named ‘reaper virus’ returns to London, the bureaucrats send loose cannon, Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) into Scotland with a team of scientists and soldiers to find rumored survivors and thus a possible cure. What they find are a number of living and dangerous threats including a vicious gang of punk rock cannibals and a society of people reverted back to medieval times, castle and all. Even if they find a cure they may not survive the inhabitants of Scotland’s wasteland to bring it back.
Marshall fills Doomsday with a lot of action and some of it very bloody and gruesome at that. The film rarely stops moving and delightfully spills plenty of gore between the fight scenes, zombie-like plague victims and hungry punk cannibals. The FX are all very well done, as are the stunts, and the cast, including Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell, are all playing it straight, yet having a good time. Let’s not forget to mention that Rhona Mitra makes an ass-kicking and smoking hot, female Snake Plissken/Mad Max mash-up. And if you haven’t gotten the point, Tyler Bates delivers a nice score that pays homage to those before mentioned 80s classics, as well. If you are a fan of 80s action flicks, especially Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, then pull up a chair, open a beer and relive the spirit of those genre classics that is so perfectly recaptured here. A fun retro blast of a movie from Neil Marshall.
A fun bit of trivia: Actor Craig Conway who plays the gang leader “Sol” also played one of the creatures in Marshall’s The Descent and a camper in the opening sequence of Marshall’s Dog Soldiers.
MonsterZero NJ Rant: I know how things work. If a movie doesn’t do well…and Doomsday didn’t…there is little or no chance of a sequel. But I really loved the character of Major Eden Sinclair and thought Rhona Mitra really pulled off the female Plissken/Mad Max hybrid while yet making the character her own. I would love to see Eden Sinclair return in another film adventure, but especially now years later, there is little or no chance of that. Bummer! A great character that would really rock in another adventure set in Marshall’s grim future, but alas, it most likely will never happen! Too bad! End rant!
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) Eden’s