The Red Right Hand

Hell Breaks Loose

Andrzej Bartkowiak
The Rock
Karl Urban
Rosamund Pike

Defilement thy name is Doom. The trailers left me bitter, the reviews left me scarred yet I still remained hopeful that this on-screen adaptation would be worth a watch and worthy of the timeless first-person-shooter video game that I invested (wasted) so much time on as a young man. 105 minutes later I was on my knees, fists thrown high in the air, screaming, "You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn youse! God damn youse all to Hell!" ...then I was asked to leave. I was genuinely disgusted by way I saw; every cliche played to death, every line sending you recoiling into your seat. It's difficult to know where to begin with this review, I think the best way would be to say I hated this film more than House Of Wax (which I loathed) - if you read that review (before it was banned) and didn't like the bashing I gave it then there's no point in reading on because all I'm going to do is moan. With that warning out of the way, let the critical dissection commence!

One of the worst parts is that the film didn't actually start off terrible, like a mountaineering expedition that ends up going horribly wrong; lives lost, friendships torn, dreams decimated.... but I digress. The first thing I liked about the film was the Universal logo (the rising Sun on the spinning glove, followed by the word UNIVERSAL) replacing Earth with Mars, just a little touch but still rather impressive. Following the standard running and devouring of random scientists, we're served another standard introductory session; the first shown is 'Sarge' [Rock, The] with Semper Fi (I find it amazing that at no point through the course of the film do they explain what the latin phrase means -for those new to the genre.... or girls- yet they call upon every other overused phrase and gimmick available to them; it's "Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful" by the way) tattooed across his back - oooooh, loyal to the corps, orders and mission objectives.. the plot clearly unravelling before us - receiving a message to retrieve and search and destroy if necessary; think Arnie in Predator but without the moral values. Then you have the black guys (I'm not a racist, but that's all they are in the film), the hip/quirky one who exclaims 'DAMN!' at any given moment [Duke-Adoti] & the big silent one who just beats people up and carries a large gun [Destroyer-Oparei]. There's the God-fearing Jesus freak [Goat-Daniels] who gladly cuts himself for taking the Lord's name in vain (smart idea for a marine facing a biological contagion, give them an open wound), the new rookie [Kid-Weaver], the horny southern grease-ball [Portman-Brake] who says one of the worst lines in the film, "I'm gonna lock me in a motel room with a bottle of tequila and three of them boy-ladies! Whoo!" and the guy who's good at heart but has seen and done some bad things, Reaper [Urban]. Oh! There's also an Asian-American guy [Mac-Chin], this proves just how forgettable his character really is. As with modern sci-fi/marine epics it's another Aliens rip with less than impressive results.

So this team (the Rapid Response Tactical Squad) of elites, made up of various Americans, is sent to Mars via 'The Ark' -a bubble transportation gate between Earth and Mars- where they meet 'Pinky' [Dexter Fletcher], a wheelchair-bound scientist who works on the archaeological outpost and Sam Grimm [Pike], Reaper's twin sister.. apparently. I could easily go on ranting about every single scene -and in one edit of this review I did just that- but that would be dull, instead I shall list my most detested elements of the film and the 2-3 saving graces.

The first problem I had was with the claim that the First-Person view would revolutionise cinema. The actual scene was good, a little glitchy but on the whole pretty impressive, unfortunately it only lasted five minutes and felt very tacked-on at the end - such a wasted opportunity. Another major problem were the marines, they really annoyed me. 'Monsters eating your scientists? Need help? Look no further! They fall down holes, they kick barrels down stairs, demonstrating stealth and finesse; they make rude comments to your female members of staff, take drugs, shoot monkeys and call for help at the first sign of trouble - which is if they don't kill you all first! The RRTS Marines! America's finest!' The plot -more in-depth than anything the video games offered- is nothing more than a horrid mix of worn out threads and some nonsense about the mysterious 24th chromosome turning people into super humans; to be honest I would have been happier watching some fat, neck-bearded geek playing the 1993 PC edition (the one littered with corpses but you can't tell what they are until you step away as the huge, chunky pixels fill the screen*). The monsters/aliens/demons were nothing like in the game, except for Pinky turning into the Pig demon thing (called the Pinky Demon... see what they did there?). The whole range of evil characters from the classic shoot-em-up and the modern bed-wetting horror that is Doom 3, gone to waste because they wanted to use people-monster things, BORING! Reaper's, sister, Samantha Grimm: Interstellar Archaeologist (or whatever) and the whole concept of beautiful scientists in space - no offence, I know I'll get flooded with e-mails on this, thousands of Physics students saying, 'Actually, we have many attractive ladies in our field.' Yes, yes, whatever. The point I'm simply trying to convey is that they're not blonde, busty models who don't wear bras, so when the aliens come tearing through the corridors ripping heads from shoulders they can conveniently slash at a girl's chest revealing her breasts for al those who happen to pass by - ah, gratuitous corpse flashing. I would love to go on, I really would but I have neither the time nor the tolerance to bother. Some of you may go see this film for comic value alone (laughing at not with), if you do this may I point out a few things worth looking out for; firstly the closing credits, they're nothing special but the music playing over them is Nine Inch Nails - that's always a good thing. Secondly, The Rock; he plays a good & bad guy and although his script confines him to 'Semper Fi, Motherfucker' and 'Awww Shit!' he really has kicked up his acting just another notch. Hopefully he'll have a few more films to give him a chance to improve before taking on Terminator 4. Finally, the fact that the Rock says a Duke Nukem line made me squeal with boyish delight (so much so that it's my Highlighted Quote).

Release Date:
2nd December 2005

The Scene To Look Out For:
The FPS scene. I know it doesn't last long and the super-healing thing is a little irritating but it still looks fantastic - not the part where zombies pop and impersonate the Fonz by saying 'aaaeee' but the fight with the wheelchair'd pig and a chainsaw, ah glorious!

Notable Characters:
It has to be said, I liked The Rock's performance. Obviously he's not the greatest actor in the world but I think he's better than Vin Diesel - and I respect Mr. Diesel for Pitch Black and being a big geek.

Highlighted Quote:
"Kill them all, let God sort it out"

In A Few Words:
What have you people done!? You've made a film that's pissed me off more than House of Wax and it doesn't even have Paris Hilton - whom I HATE!

Total Score:

Matthew Stogdon

{*Thanks to Mr. Wickham for that bit}