Friday, January 29, 2010

“Doomsday” – Great Britain needs its shots.

Have you ever had a movie trick you into thinking it will be good, even when you know it won’t be good? The previews alone screamed that this would be a terrible movie, not to mention that the title is pretty much a big warning sign itself. I started this film just looking for two hours of post-apocalyptic madness. You know; blood, violence, a group of people trying to survive. What I got was a deja-vu of “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

Do you remember “From Dusk Till Dawn?” It started out as a decent film, with a lot of promise. You get in about half an hour and you think you’re going to enjoy the film. Selma Hayek is dancing half-naked on a table when, suddenly, she turns into some ugly vampire thing and starts attacking people. At that moment, you realize that Quentin Tarantino just stole ten dollars from you. Just so you know, that’s the movie that turned me against Tarantino and made me realize he was just a one trick pony.

A half an hour into “Doomsday” I found myself thinking that it was actually turning into a watchable movie. It was unfolding much like a video game, along the lines of games like “Resident Evil.” They give us the basic plot, the back story and introduce us to the main characters. The ugly Selma Hayek moment comes when the good guys run over a cow with their armored car. It was like the filmmakers realized they were making the film too good, knew the rest was shit, so came up with a wake-up call for the audience. How else can an endless herd of cattle be explained when they went out of their way to tell us that the people were starving to the point they became cannibals? I’d like to say they converted to Hindu, but these people were anything but pacifists.

By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, Great Britain has become the land of apocalypse in film. It’s almost as if Hollywood decided that New York’s contract has expired and signed Great Britain to a ten-year deal.

Anyway, after my slap in the face, courtesy of the cows, I fell back to my original reasons for watching this movie and tried to enjoy it again. Little did I know, there was a second ugly Hayek moment coming, which we’ll get to in a moment.

In a nutshell, the movie is about a random virus infecting Scotland and killing nearly everyone. The English build a giant wall to isolate the Scots, which works for twenty-seven years. When they discover the virus has made it to England, they reveal that there are survivors in Scotland and they put together a team to go into Scotland to find a doctor who they believe found a cure. Why it never occurred to them to just go snag a survivor is probably the dumbest part of the writing, especially since that’s what ends up happening anyway.

After surviving the herd of cows, the team is captured by the cannibals. It was at this point I wished that they were all zombies or infected or something. That they are still completely human actually takes away from what little story this film tried to maintain. Naturally, the team leader and a couple of helpers escape with a girl who says she will lead them to the doctor. On their way to meet the doctor, they are attacked by a suit-of-armor wearing guy on horseback. You’ve just been Hayeked. Somehow, they went from “Mad Max” to “Robin Hood” passing through a fallout shelter in between. If this wasn’t bad enough, the doctor has made himself king, holed up in a castle, and made everyone dress in medieval clothing (I am not making this up). The doctor tells them what they already should have known, that the cure is in the people who are immune, and tries to execute them. Naturally, they escape and have a car chase through the Scottish countryside.

Hah! You just got Selma’d again. This film was basically a series of those moments, interspersed with violence, blood, Malcolm McDowell voice-overs and Bob Hoskins. If there’s anything to take from this film it’s that America is now immune to world-ending viral pandemics. Please enjoy your hamburger.

Rating: Do not pay for this movie. Do not add it to your Netflix queue. It is not worth an Icelandik dollar (sorry Iceland).

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