There are Serbian dog-food commercials that would have made more sense to me than Doomsday, the quarantined-country-reverts-to-barbarism epic that opens today. It starts out as an engaging action-horror blend with a nice touch of future dystopia (and huge servings of gore), and then slowly unravels until the ending is basically pure Dada. We just saw it. Click through for the whole brain-shredding carnage [spoilers ahead].
I mentioned the other day that Doomsday wasn't screened for critics, and it's easy to see why. I had to go see the first showing at our local theater, which was at noon — exactly 12 hours too early for this sort of movie. If you don't care about logic, or story, or characters, or pretty much anything except for seeing a hot woman dismember people in a tanktop — punctuated by some really, really over the top musical segments — then you'll love this film. It's not Shakespeare. It's not even Shakespeare In Love. But it's better than Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the last film on this level that I saw.
Here's the plot in a nutshell: in April 2008, a deadly virus (The Reaper) breaks out in Glasgow and spreads like wildfire. The authorities decide, in a very 28 Weeks Later sequence, to quarantine the country and shoot down anybody who tries to get out. But then, 30 years later, a deeply dystopian and slummy London sparks a new outbreak of the virus (which feeds off poverty and overcrowding). The government sends a team up to Scotland to find out why some people survived the virus up there, led by Rhona Mitra's super-commando. Unfortunately, the last survivors of Scotland have fallen into total barbarism.
Doomsday won me over the moment I saw Rhona Mitra's removable eye. Rhona plays Eden Sinclair, who loses an eye as a small girl during the final evacuation of Scotland. When we see her as an adult, she has a prosthetic eye, with a tiny camera inside. The camera goes to a video screen (and digital recorder) in her wristwatch. So she can take her eye out and use it to look around corners, or make secret recordings of whatever she sees. It's really the only scifi-ish thing in the movie, but the first time we see it in action is (sorry) literally eye-popping.
And I'm happy to report that despite all director Neil Marshall (The Descent)'s talk about Mitra's character "keeping her femininity," she's a total hard-ass who doesn't give a shit about anything. We see plenty of scenes of her being a crazy bad-ass and not giving a shit, but just in case we miss it, Marshall has several characters look at her and say things like, "You don't give a shit, do you?" Right at the start of the movie, there's a great scene where her boss, played by Bob Hoskins, smokes with her and tells her that if she keeps going like this, she'll wind up one seriously fucked-up individual. Good to know, Bob. (The great joy of Hoskins these days is watching him slowly morph into Ed Asner.) She does cry once, right at the end, but it's brief and actually appropriate under the circumstances.