Review: ‘Doomsday’

Get your Mad Max mutant-maniacs-in-monster-machines on.

In the not-so distant future, a contagion called the “Reaper Virus” breaks out in Scotland with such force that the best recourse is to wall up Scotland and let the virus die off with the locals. 25 years later, the virus appears again and in a place it cannot be easily contained. A specialist with a history connected to the original outbreak named Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) is assigned to infiltrate the walled area on a daring mission to find a cure. The only questions is, why would anyone be sent into a plague zone to find a cure unless the government already knew that someone inside had survived the plague?

From Mad Max to Escape from New York to Outbreak, Doomsday gleefully borrows from everything, even it’s Kate Beckinsale look-alike Underworld heroine (no, she’s not a vampire this time). Still, with above-average effects for a small budgeted film, the action is plentiful even if the story is obvious. After all, you’ve seen bits and pieces of it everywhere already. If you miss the days of Mel Gibson being chased down by Aussie mutants in makeshift killer cars, you’ve found your new favorite film.

When new-found would-be action star Rhona Mitra arrives on-scene at the films start, she immediately establishes that she’s no pushover and spends her “vulnerable” moments quiet and alone. While the character herself isn’t overly complex, it’s always interesting to see how much more a female has to dish out to be taken seriously than her male action-hero counterpart. Whenever a woman shows vulnerability, she too quickly becomes a damsel in distress (even Underworld let this slip), but in Doomsday, the heroine keeps her private life private and her professional life on the edge. While the story doesn’t always make the best use of her decisions, it’s refreshing to see this kind of originality with what could have been a one-dimensional Beckinsale clone.

With plenty of action, earth-shaking implications, and over-the-top humor, Doomsday is more of a love letter to the apocalyptic action genre than anything attempting to be an original piece of cinema, and there’s plenty to enjoy for that reason alone. Sure, it’s open for a sequel and darn those clever bad guys for being so stupid at the same time, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen this kind of pointless carnage and only the remake of Death Race 2000 coming up in the foreseeable to satisfy it. Until then, enjoy.

(a three skull recommendation out of four)

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