Based on the legendary monster murder simulator DOOM, 2005 saw the release of a movie adaptation-of-sorts to the series’s then-newest iteration, DOOM 3. Starring Karl Urban and Dwayne “Just ‘The Rock’ Back Then” Johnson, it wasn’t a critical darling on either side of the aisle, be it sci-fi movie fans or die hard DOOMheads. If I had any semblance of shame, I’d say it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, if for nothing else than getting to see The Rock in a heel (wrestling lingo for a villain) role.
Much like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation before it, Doom: Annihilation has almost nothing in common with its predecessor. No cast members, no story references, not even a whimsical first-person POV chainsaw slaughter scene. It’s an entirely new movie, brought to us by the director of… Soccer Dog: the Movie… not to be confused with “Soccer Dog: the Erotic Novel, Soccer Dog: the Game Based on the Movie, or Soccer Dog: the Life Raft.
Lt. Joan Dark (who’s an ‘N’ and an ‘A’ away from a lawsuit being filed by the creator of the game Perfect Dark) and her squad of US Space Marines are sent to the Martian moon of Phobos (a.k.a. “the Doom Moon”) as punishment for an insubordination charge levied against her by her superiors. What about? It doesn’t matter. Said squad members are none too happy with being assigned guard duty out in the shit-ass middle-of-galactic-nowhere, so tensions between them and Lt. Dark aren’t the best. Speaking of tensions, they’re also joined by a movie assigned science nerd of their very own, who just happens to be an ex of Joan’s that looks like a compressed version of Jonah Ray. Anyway, what exactly are these mas macho he-men and she-women being sent to guard? A big deal research facility. What are they researching there? Ancient alien gateway stones that open portals to Hell. Yep, that Hell.
Needless to say (yet here I am, saying it anyway), by the time they reach the science factory its been turned into a demon farm, infested by possessed white coats who look like the offspring of Count Orlok and Yondu Udonta, as well as big rubber suit monsters that sorta resemble the titular terror from the 1997 Breeders VHS box art. As with any Aliens wanna-be, guns are fired, lifeforms are de-lifed, drama is had and the obviously evil human character turns out to be evil. Obviously.
Even with low expectations, Doom: Annihilation couldn’t limbo itself into my heart. With a budget likely akin to an episode of “Stargate SG-1”, these intergalactic bad-asses are all decked out in little more than leftover S.W.A.T. uniforms and wield, oddly enough, basic ballistic firearms. You’d think a society that has perfected space travel and cryostasis would have lasers or phasers or whatever kinda of advanced combat weapons “OF THE FUTURE!” at their disposal, but fuck Star Wars, I guess. On the plus side though, at least the US military was able to find a use for all of those unsold pairs of Google Glass(es), as the Marines are each outfitted with their own set that are clearly NOT just cheap, re-fashioned safety glasses from Home Depot. Oh, and don’t get me started on this movie’s “big silver-painted Nerf gun” incarnation of the video game’s fabled BFG9000 plasma cannon, otherwise I may not stop until I’ve broken every TV screen in The Tomb.
What the movie lacks in financing, writer-director Tony “Not a gigolo” Giglio does his best to make up for with Easter Eggs for the audience of presumed gaming geeks to proudly declare “I get that reference!” to. In addition to our protagonista’s none-too-subtle nudge to heroine Joanna Dark, we get an ancillary character named after DOOM co-creator John Carmack (I guess the obvious John Romero gag ended up on the cutting room floor), a dead Marine whose moniker is taken directly from the Wolfenstein game series (where in Satan’s unkempt goat haunches is our friggin’ Wolfenstein movie?!), and numerous nods to the game itself with color-coded key cards, a random cameo by a chainsaw, the previously mentioned BFG, and I’m sure more of said ovum that went over my head because I’ve never been a major sponge for the games’ lore. One thing sadly missing? Aside from a good movie? Any use of the classic DOOM theme. The omission of which is a CRIME AGAINST INHUMANITY. [Editor’s Note: I prefer that the classic Doom theme didn’t make an appearance in this shit buffet of a movie. Then we don’t have to be reminded of this egregious waste of our time when we invariably listen to said classic theme for over an hour again. Some things should remain unsullied.]
All said and done, I was glad when Doom: Annihilation finally finished. Those end credits couldn’t have come soon enough. If the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” rule applied here, well, let’s just end this review now!
One BFG out-of-Five
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