It is important to note that should the swine flu, bird flu, or some other virus finally wipe out an entire nation’s population, ‘80s hairstylists will still be needed to dress up those who are immune. At least someone will have work.
Doomsday is an obvious knock-off of Escape from New York and Mad Max, taking place in that proverbial apocalyptic world humans keep finding themselves in. When a cure is possible, Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) must head into a closed off portion of Scotland to secure a former scientist who may hold a clue.
Doomsday is absurdly violent, relishing its ability to continually show graphic gore from humans being roasted alive, cows being run over, heads chopped off, and countless other acts of inhumane violence by a group of surviving ‘80s punk rockers. Frenzied car chases, gun shootouts, and sword duels are fun, but director Neil Marshall keeps them going past their prime. They become exhausting, numbing if you will.
The film has all of the class of a ’70s exploitation film, and doesn’t strive to be anything more. There is a weirdly bizarre introduction sequence for the survivor’s leader Sol (Craig Conway). He comes on stage, surrounded by strippers and men in kilts, his voice drowned out by the Fine Young Cannibals “Good Thing,” which is apparently the joke considering what this deranged group is celebrating.
However, this group lost to a bygone decade is only one part of the movie. After Eden takes what is left of her crew through an abandoned military base, they end up in a lost Robin Hood movie with another civilization, where apparently their ‘80s hairstylist was not immune. They live and die by the rules of a medieval generation, although why they chose this lifestyle is never clear.
This group is led by a doctor, Marcu Kane (Malcolm McDowell). Their dress and sophistication with a bow must be an attempt to make them appear civilized, although that is tossed out the window when Eden is thrown into a pit to fight an executioner, beginning a massive action sequence that last at least 20 minutes.
Doomsday also uses a third villain, that of a corrupt government who of course fails to see the point in caring for a global populace. This is a busy film that crams in a lot of information despite that it is not supposed to be taken seriously.
It causes little involvement on the part of the viewer, and you feel the same way about the action as you do to ’80s hair: numb. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Movie]
For the most part, this is a strong, bright, and crisp VC-1 encode. Detail is excellent, although inconsistent. Drops are prevalent inside the government complex, immediately apparent during the conversation at 16:30. These continue for much of the film off and on.
Some minor edge enhancement and a hot contrast are mostly forgivable. Black crush is noted although infrequent and likely part of the source. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
The movie carries an aggressive DTS-HD mix, one that fills the sound field with constant audio. Surrounds are notably cranked up, giving them a stronger, unnatural presence. A scene with Rhona Mitra and Bob Hoskins in a canal is a perfect example, with falling water dominating from the left rear instead of the actors in the center. Dialogue is quieter than the action, although not significantly so.
Bass delivers a solid crunch when called upon. Explosions are meaty and clean. Despite the pumped up rears, audio is impressive, capturing panicked crowds, gunfire, and even blood splatter wonderfully. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
A commentary, loaded with director Neil Marshall and actors Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Rick Warden, and Les Simpson is the only thing in the extras menu.
For the rest, you’re stuck using Universal’s U-Control, something we cannot stress our hate for enough. Three pop-up features exist, one detailing the virus, the second delivering geeky tech specs for the weapons, and the third a fine making-of unfortunately impossible to watch straight through. Instead, you need to either slog through the chapter select or watch the entire movie and wait. Stupid. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]