Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Next Gen

Category : Movie Review

Director: Kevin R. Adams, Joe Ksander

Starring: Charlyne Yi, John Krasinski, Jason Sudeikis

Year: 2018

I don’t think that Big Hero 6 got enough credit.  I’ve seen it a couple times now, and each time I appreciate it more for what it is, and I forgive it a little more for what it isn’t.  The story is spectacular and engaging.  The characters are varied and entertaining.  The animation is impressive.  And Baymax is a once-in-a-lifetime creation, a scene-stealing entity that comes to life in a purely magical way.  The movie works from many different angles, and it also catches lighting in a bottle, flying mostly under the radar but with an inherent quality that’s there if you know where to look.  Next Gen tries to capture the same mini-genius, but only proves that it’s not that easy.  Instead, it comes off as a cheap copy with few new ideas, a second-rate animated action flick without much extra to offer.

In the future, robots are the new pets, the news maids, the new cars, the new friends, and humans can’t live without them.  A massive robotics corporation produces bots for your every need, and the new Generation will be the best one yet.  Mai’s mom is totally obsessed, standing in line to be one of the first for the new model, ready to take it home and watch all her dreams come home.  But Mai isn’t interested, she’s tired of bots taking over, and so she goes exploring during the big corporate reveal party.  What she finds is something she was never supposed to see.  A new project has just been brought online, a new machine with martial capabilities and AI technology that make it something extremely special and expensive.  It follows Mai home, and they begin a strange friendship, but it was built for a very specific, very dangerous purpose, and she’s about to be caught in the middle.

Next Gen is way too much like Big Hero 6 to be ignored, from the big bot and its friendship with the kid to the evil business tycoon and his futuristic cityscape.  I guess the former waited a while and the latter wasn’t a huge hit anyway, but to me they’re still too similar, because I liked the content better the first time I saw it.  But there are some differences, and some positives, so it’s not all a carbon copy.  The action is packed in from the very beginning, and it’s a little more comic book firefight than animated scuffle, so make sure your kids are ready for it, but it’s pretty impressive.  So are the jabs at our iPhone culture and our dependence on technology, so look for the nods and for the critiques.  But despite a nice start and a pretty awesome ending, the middle of the movie left a lot to be desired.  That’s when the action dragged, that’s when the relationship between the girl and the bot was the highlight, and it’s the slowest part, really slogging for a solid 45 minutes.  You can’t have a great film if half of it is dull, even if some other moments are impressive, and you can’t simply cast name actors as voice overs and call it a day.  More was needed to make Next Gen great; as it is it’s only fine.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – The Predator

Category : Movie Review

Director: Shane Black

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn

Year: 2018

The original Predator is such an icon, even if it is slightly campy.  It could have been worse, they definitely didn’t jump the shark, and the team even supported the film with great music, cool sets, memorable weapons, and one of the best movie monsters to ever hit the screen.  The acting might have been bad, it’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie after all, but it hardly mattered, the sci-fi content being enough to bolster the story through murky waters.  Sequels have been attempted, crossovers have been crossed over, but nothing has ever compared to the first, and I don’t think anything ever will.  But, I do think that The Predator gave us its best shot, not even caring how many sharks it jumped or lines it crossed on its way to becoming an intentionally bizarre and unintentionally strong take on the franchise.

Having known about the Predators for decades, the US Government has kept a close eye on the sky with an appropriately named Stargazer program, designed to keep a watch through the long night.  And good thing somebody’s up, because we just made contact, again.  A rogue Predator comes crashing to Earth, ruining a special ops drug bust in the jungle, and leaving some of its gear in the possession of Quinn McKenna, a soldier who now has seen things he wasn’t supposed to.  The government boys sweep in quickly, detain McKenna, capture the Predator, discover that it came to our world for some purpose, but can’t quite figure out what that purpose is.  Scientist Casey Bracket will help unravel the mystery, until the Predator breaks free and starts on the rampage.  She’ll have to team up with McKenna, whose son has gotten his hands on the missing alien technology, in order to save the day, the planet, and our species.

The best way to make a genre flick is to commit totally, to hold nothing back when it comes to the style, however insane that style might be.  That’s what The Predator does right, it refuses to apologize for being dumb, for being a gory, silly, bumpy, mostly-ripoff of movies we’ve seen a thousand times; the point is that no one involved seems to care.  They just don’t care, it doesn’t bother them that their product is wacky beyond even the level that alien sci-fi is usually wacky, and more than that, they ran with the style in a way will make audiences want to run right along with them.  The action is overt and in-your-face, the firefights are wild, the creatures are grotesque, the weapons are plentiful, the comedy is forced, nothing is offered politely, and we all go home happy.

In a shocking turn of events, and apart from the inherent camp of the story, the acting was perhaps the strongest part of the film, and yes that feels as weird to type as it does to think.  I don’t mean to say that there are Oscar-worthy performances here, I mean that the actors throw themselves completely into their characters is such a way as to win audiences over, and that other casting choices might not have worked out as well.  Holbrook is the real deal, not just a comic book or sci-fi guy, but a real, high talent professional who can do anything.  Sterling K. Brown is on the same level, a transcendent talent who doesn’t feel out of place in any role.  Even Olivia Munn was on point, and she’s no good at all.  They worked because the movie worked, because it was obvious that everyone involved was simply having a wonderful time, and didn’t really care if their product was half a joke, because the other half was pure entertainment.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Predator

Category : Movie Review

Director: John McTiernan

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura

Year: 1987

I’m old enough to remember the Nintendo video game; that’s where I learned to spell Schwarzenegger.  This film was a big deal in the late 80s, and even into the 90s; Arnold was an action star on a level of which I’m not sure we’ve seen since.  Not in pure, unmitigated, unapologetic adrenaline anyway; modern action movies seem to be focused on ridicule and farce instead.  Very recent action films have pushed toward actual, high-quality entertainment (take Fury Road for example), so maybe there’s some hope, but there’s still no dude like Schwarzenegger.  He was big stuff, literally and figuratively, a colossus on screen, and it didn’t matter that his accent was weird or that his acting wasn’t amazing, we loved watching anyway.  Thankfully, Predator revisited is just as awesome as Predator remembered.

When the US government finds themselves in a tricky situation in a foreign jungle somewhere, fighting guerrilla soldiers and propping up a friendly dictator, they call in Dutch & his team of special ops, because they know he can get the job done, no matter how messy.  Dutch has been in many a tough spot, has blown his way out of many a deadly trap, and can be trusted to get in & out quickly without exposing his government to political fallout.  His most recent mission is to extract hostages from deep inside a South American rebel camp, or so he is told.  But there’s more going on than meets the eye, as Dutch’s old buddy Dillon well knows, since he’s no longer a soldier but a CIA operative.  He’s not telling the team the whole truth, and even he doesn’t know that there’s a wild card roaming the jungle, a hostile, other-worldly entity that means to kill every human it meets, regardless of which side they are on.

Predator is Rambo meets Alien, which is exactly as cool as it sounds.  Don’t think about it too much, or you’ll end up liking this movie less, since it’s an obvious and laughable theft of plots that have come before.  But although that’s undeniable, it’s also somehow forgivable, because the melding of these ideas led to a film that would become a decade-spanning franchise, which is hard to fathom in itself, since the original is so trashy (in a good way).  It’s bloody and gross and violent and creepy and cool and muscular and you can almost smell the heated gun metal, which was pretty amazing when I was a kid, and really hasn’t lost much of its glory in the years since.  Arnold is terrible/great, Carl Weathers is a fine good/bad guy, the side soldiers are a bit throwaway, but somehow they work as a unit.  The music is incredible, I had forgotten about that, creating a perfect mood from start to finish, and the scenery works wonderfully with the plot, every fern fan a potential hiding place where death might be lurking.  Predator is a cult classic that spawned generations of mimicries, but it stands out and holds up in a way the others can’t, with a nostalgia for the era that makes me want to binge-watch.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Rob Roy

Category : Movie Review

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Starring: Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth

Brian Cox, John Hurt, Brian McCardie, Eric Stoltz

Year: 1995

Rob Roy was released one month before Braveheart, and was nominated for 1 Oscar (Tim Roth, Best Supporting), while its competitor was nominated for 10.  Both are based in the Scottish Highlands, both focus on strong, long-haired, hero characters, who both have affronted wives, both fight the Englishmen, both value honor; I could go on and on.  This happens sometimes, two movies come out in the same season, are essentially the same film, and audiences are forced to pick there favorite, I guess.  In this case, there’s no one on the planet who would pick Rob Roy over William Wallace, but that doesn’t mean that the former has nothing to offer.  Rob Roy is a very good war drama with some excellent and exciting aspects; the fact that it’s not as perfect as Braveheart shouldn’t be held against it.

Scotland in the 1700s is a land where tradition battles change, and mere men don’t dare stand in the way.  The English nobility rule the land and the Scotsmen work it, tending it for their liege lords but mostly going about their own business.  One such clan leader, Robert Roy McGregor, the head of a respected family in the Highlands, might herd cattle for the British, but he also has plans of his own.  He borrows 1000 pounds from his lord Montrose, in order to buy his own cattle, but the money is stolen, and now Rob owes a debt he cannot pay.  But the money was taken in a plot involving Montrose’ own nephew, the evil and foppish Archibald Cunningham, who Rob will have to confront.  His honor is being affronted, his family is being threatened, and any man who thinks a McGregor will back down from a fight is sorely mistaken.

I know that some people don’t like Braveheart, but they’re ridiculous; it’s one of the best “movies” ever made, especially if you separate it from “films”.  You know what I mean, there’s a different between the two, and Braveheart is an epic war story like very few others.  Rob Roy can’t compete with that, and it has to, because it’s so similar and was released at the same time, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  It’s still a very exciting and interesting drama, filled with fights and insults and plans and escapes, a classic David vs Goliath struggle that we don’t quickly tire of.  Liam Neeson is an awesome Scottish badass, John Hurt is a wonderfully hateable villain, and Brian Cox plays a simpering sycophant that is so not his usual style and so great.  But Tim Roth really does steal the show, he’s other-worldly as the detestable Archie, a role for which he definitely deserved his nomination.  You don’t have to pick; you can like both of these movies, they both have strong qualities, and Rob Roy is fine historical fiction if you give it the chance.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Land of Steady Habits

Category : Movie Review

Director: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Thomas Mann, Edie Falco

Year: 2018

I heart Ben Mendelsohn, and it would take me forever to list all the movies in which he is great, so do yourself a favor and look up his filmography, watch his films, search my reviews for the ones that feature his great performances specifically; just watch the guy.  He’s brilliant, so talented, can do anything, can be a villain, can melt your heart, you just can’t go wrong watching his acting; it’s top level when compared with anyone currently active in Hollywood.  He’s an Australian actor, sometimes he hides his accent, but that doesn’t usually dampen his skills, at least not any more than it naturally does to anyone else.  My point is, he’s reason enough to see this movie, and any feature that he chooses to be a part of.  But that’s doesn’t make the entire project a success, there are too many moving parts for that, and Steady Habits is a prime example.

Anders has recently decided to free himself of his burdens.  He quit his lucrative finance job, he left his wife, he gave her the house, and he’s moved into a condo to retire and to chase random women.  To some that would sound like the dream, but of course in reality Anders is rather lonely, hates decorating his new place, just wants his son Preston to come hang out, and can’t seem to let his ex-wife and his ex-home go without a twinge of both jealousy and anger.  But hey, it was all his decision, he’s the one who wanted a fresh start, even though he’s no longer a young man, and he’ll have to live with the consequences.  But doing drugs with Preston’s friend Charlie isn’t a great beginning, especially when Charlie ODs and later goes missing.  Anders needs to start acting like an adult for the first time in his life, needs to take some responsibility for his stupidity and childish behavior, needs to settle the debts of his past so that the future can be something clean and bright.

Mendelsohn is fantastic yet again, there would be no reason to predict otherwise, but the rest of Steady Habits falls decidedly flat.  Ben is great in any role, and he plays the part of a wealthy asshole very well, showing signs of kindness but ultimately reverting back to the fucked up safe place that is his baseline.  It’s a fascinating character, and I saw a lot of truth in it, especially as a child of divorce who watched his own father attempt to become something completely different for the second half of his life.  I didn’t see myself in Preston though, and I think the blame for that lies on Thomas Mann.  He was not strong, and neither was his character, it needed to be either off to the side or more utilized, not stuck somewhere in the muddled middle where it could only get in the way.  Edie Falco was also rather horrible, which shouldn’t be a shocker, she’s never proved that she could support such a dramatic character in a heavy film such as this.  None of the weight was ever supported by anyone other than Mendelsohn, and the director never seemed in command of the direction the plot was heading.  The result is a weak film with a few strong moments, not one of Netflix’ best and definitely not something to go out of your way to make time for.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – White Boy Rick

Category : Movie Review

Director: Yann Damange

Starring: Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley

Year: 2018

White Boy Rick is painfully mediocre, and anyone who says differently is selling something.  This is a true story, and it’s hard to believe, so that’s an immediate boon to the film, a plot that’s so outrageous it must be true.  Throw in Matthew McConaughey for good measure and you’ve got our attention, but our attention isn’t enough.  You need to get our approval as well, and that can’t be earned without some hard work and some real talent.  The story is there for the telling, but it lacks the punch needed to surprise us.  The setting is as desolate as you can imagine, but we need the action therein to be more than predictable.  And the outcome is far from terrible, but that’s not enough, audiences need more in order to go home happy and spread the word that this film is something special.  It isn’t, which is the heart of the issue, and, looking back, I don’t think it ever had the potential to be.

1980s Detroit wasn’t exactly a sparkling kingdom, and you did what you had to do to get by.  For Richard Wershe Sr. that meant buying overpriced weaponry at gun shows across state borders at discounted prices, and then selling them to drug dealers throughout the city who needed the protection.  He was good at his job, had a good eye, but of course what he was doing wasn’t exactly legal.  When he got in trouble with the Feds, his son Rick Jr. stepped in to help, being all of fifteen years old.  Rick bought drugs for the cops so that they could pinpoint the dealers, and he was allowed to sell drugs for his own profit as a way to cover up his narc-centric activities.  When he became an underground kingpin known as White Boy Rick, the FBI also descended upon him, their old friend, with the same mercy they showed to all the drug dealers in the decade of the crack down; none.

The only other film directed by Yann Damange is ’71, another gritty drama attempting to unfold a morality tale with a young man as the lead.  So he hasn’t had much experience, and I think it shows early and often.  It’s clear what type of movie he’s attempting to create from a screenplay crafted by three writers and based on real events, but it’s not quite as clear where he ever thought he was going, or how he planned to get there.  More accurately, audiences never know where they’re headed or what the ride is going to be like, which is fine for thrillers, but works less effectively with this type of period drama.  The plot meanders and views unfocused, like there were either too many cooks in the kitchen or not enough talented minds bent on the final result.  The run time feels much longer than it really was, and by the end I was ready to leave, not hooked into wanting more.

Even the moral of the film, the whole pivotal point, wasn’t strongly touched on until the very end, like the meat of the movie didn’t matter, only the last sip of wine at the end was supposed to deliver anything other than tasteless mediocrity.  The message was clear and it resonated, I simply wish it had been more in focus earlier on, or that all the steps leading to the final destination had been better polished.  A lot of the blame lays at Richie Merritt’s feet; he’s a first-time actor, that’s a strategy I guess, but the only thing that worked for him was his accent, he just couldn’t keep up when called upon to actually act.  Matthew McConaughey could, he was brilliant, and was the film’s star if you look at it from a certain angle.  He was definitely the strongest actor, carried many scenes, stole more, and is perhaps the only reason the movie worked at all.  Missed opportunities and a lack of vision marred White Boy Rick, while a solid true story and one great performance smoothed the flaws over, the resulting combination being a feature that services but never had the chance to shine.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Upgrade

Category : Movie Review

Director: Leigh Whannell

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson

Year: 2018

Upgrade has been called Knockoff for what are not completely ludicrous reasons, each viewer noticing different pieces and certain aspects as being lifted from other, perhaps better films.  It reminded me most of Blade Runner 2049, with its look into the future and its enhancement of humans, but also a bit of Mute, a Netflix flick that didn’t do so hot.  A movie with some RoboCop action and some Saw gore, Upgrade is never entirely its own picture, which is its biggest failing but perhaps the only reason it was made in the first place.  The plot isn’t an original idea, it required the service of others, but no one is overlooking or apologizing for that fact; it’s simply how the feature was built.  But putting that aside, the execution earns a watch, as the construction of the Frankenstein monster may not have been electric, but the animation was.

In the cities in the near-future, we are all connected by computers.  Of course, we all are now, but not quite in as literal a sense.  Police drones patrol the skies, humans can be read by their digital tags, driverless cars roam the streets, and corporations have made technology their only priority.  The way of the mechanic, the artist, and the dreamer has gone by the wayside, to be replaced by advancements in humanity, as if evolution wasn’t currently on the job.  Grey Trace hates this new obsession with machines, would rather continue his old obsession with muscle cars, and stays as far away from automation as he can.  But when his wife is killed in a tragic accident-turned-robbery and he is left paralyzed, technology will be his savior.  A cutting edge device gives him back control of his legs, and also gives him abilities he’s never known before.  On the track of the men who murdered his love, Grey will stumble upon secrets that connect himself with his enemies, a sentient program called Stem that now lives inside his own mind.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi, Upgrade has you covered.  The futuristic aspect is well done, it’s an interesting world that the characters live in, if, again, not the most original.  There’s a Blade Runner element, super humans and enhanced humans and weaponized humans; it’s a thing.  And there are other aspects taken from other films, that’s where this one gets in a little trouble, but the genre is one that often borrows from itself, so that won’t come as a surprise.  The action, violence, and blood are a little unexpected, and morph the feature into something other than science fiction, less than drama, creating some new kind of category.  That’s all fine, but perhaps this category needs a little refining.  Audiences won’t be sure what kind of film they’re watching, and the quality takes a few dips along the way, mostly in the acting of anyone involved other than Logan Marshall-Green.  He’s great, he plays a difficult part well, he simply isn’t surrounded with much of a supporting cast.  Had he been, and had more attention been paid to the nuances of this story, Upgrade would have been a legitimate step up, not just another linear move.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Category : Movie Review

Director: George Roy Hill

Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross

Year: 1969

One of the best Westerns ever crafted, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is also a perfect depiction of the era in which it was made, the switch between the 60s and the 70s that ushered in an extremely unique time in art, music, film, and expression.  It’s a cowboy movie and a 70s flick wrapped in one, not a Western using old, warbly guitar music and archaic phrasing, but a breath of fresh air that still holds true to the style that Americans were born to love.  I’m not sure a film has ever straddled two styles so perfectly, without making any missteps or leaning too far in one direction.  I guess that’s what makes it a masterpiece, and a standout among classics.

Butch Cassidy leads an outlaw gang whose specialty is robbing banks and holding up trains, although they’re not especially good at it nor do any of them hold onto their money for long.  His right hand man is the Sundance Kid, a gun fighter and gambler who can out draw and out play any man who dares give him a challenge.  The two are as close to friends as criminals can be, and when a special posse of lawmen arrive on the scene of their latest job in order to catch them once and for all, dead or alive, the duo high tail it out of there together, unsure of where to hide.  With enough money to travel and the sweet Etta at their side, the now-trio head to New York City, and then to Bolivia, a land that Butch believes will be the answer to all their problems.  But once an outlaw always an outlaw, and problems have a way of finding you no matter where you hide.

The thing that tickles me the most about this movie is the music.  It’s so 70s, so perfect, B.J. Thomas, Burt Bacharach, and Hal David joining together to create original songs and a wonderful soundtrack that’s as timeless as the film itself.  The songs are just so wonderful, and it could have gone so disastrously wrong, trying to make a Western fit the time the movie was made, instead of the other way around, but it didn’t, it all works seamlessly.  The story is great, the friendship is real, Etta adds an important piece, and the comedic timing is the key to the whole thing, working in tandem with the action flawlessly.  Newman is absolutely amazing as Butch, playing the part with a humanity that goes beyond the genre and enters into dramatic legend.  Redford is less astounding perhaps, but god is he handsome, and he always brings that special something that has enthralled us all for years.  There aren’t many iconic features more outstanding that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a Western and a drama that somehow showcases too distinct time periods at once, doing them both incredible service.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Cool Hand Luke

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin

Year: 1967

“Sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.”  So says Luke, Cool Hand Luke, with a line that would define a film, not just because it gave the hero his nickname, but because it summarized the entire essence of the picture.  Sometimes you are dealt nothing, but when you have nothing to lose, you are finally free to do whatever you choose.  That might seem like a strange theme to be placed inside the barbed wire walls of a prison, but perhaps no place better exemplifies both the feelings of desperate hopelessness and of astounding faith.  Shawshank Redemption would perfect the plot in later years, but Cool Hank Luke experimented with the idea and gave us a character we’ll never forget.  For that, we hold it among the classics, and very few films in cinematic history deserve the recognition more.

Busted for destroying municipal property and disorderly conduct (aka breaking parking meters while drunk, just for kicks), Luke Jackson is sentenced to two years in a Southern labor camp, becoming a part of the chain gang community overnight, a place where men go to work off their time along the highways and in the ditches.  Luke is a bird not meant to be caged, his song to the world is so sweet, and the rules of the camp begin to chafe him immediately.  Escape attempts are punished by leg irons, time in the Box, extended sentences, or a combination thereof, but Luke can’t drown out the Siren call of the open road.  For his refusal to conform and for his unbreakable spirit, the prison gang begin to love Luke, piling their own hopes on a man who seems above the law, who embodies all they wish they could be.

If you know the films of this time period, you will expect something slow and methodical, focused on atmosphere and content over speed and overwhelming action.  Cool Hand Luke delivers the best of what this era and this genre have to offer, a story like none other that takes its time to unfold.  The weight of the plot gets heavier and heavier as the characters get more and more desperate, and the conclusion is something you will never forget.  But there is also comedy sprinkled throughout, enough to keep audiences engaged when the going gets tough.  Nominated for four Academy Awards, this is a classic among classics, and it definitely deserves the spot.  Amazing music, an excellent locale, memorable characters, iconic scenes, and Paul Newman in his prime; what more could you ask for.  Cool Hand Luke is both a pillar at the base and a step toward modern masterpieces, with enough experimentation to impress but also a grounded firmness that you can sense from the very beginning.  You could watch this movie any number of times and still come away impressed; it has that much to offer and is that well-made, a spectacularly dramatic look at a life led freely, even while in bondage.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Doom

Category : Movie Review

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Starring: Karl Urban, Dwayne Johnson, Rosamund Pike

Year: 2005

I’ve played my fair share of shooters, though I’m sure I’m nowhere near the level of many men my age.  We grew up in the Nintendo Revolution and were the first gamers, we remember having to blow in cartridges to get them to work, we remember tapping keyboards to make our men move forward toward their certain deaths.  Doom, Duke Nukem, later Half-life, even this strange but awesome first-person alien battle called Area 51; I know what’s up.  These games have a certain quality that we will always remember, and they sparked the fire that lit up the gaming world.  So if you wanted to get romantic you could call Doom a frontrunner, a trailblazer, and even this film fills that role somewhat; Hardcore Henry wasn’t the first movie to put the audience in the driver’s seat of a killing machine.  But that’s only if you wanted to get a little ridiculous; I don’t think Doom was shot with artistic history in mind.

Some years from now, humans discover an ancient, alien artifact in the American desert, a portal that will transport you to an abandoned civilization on Mars.  These Martians were apparently very similar to humans, but had the ability to tap into their genetic material, to make themselves better somehow, to turn themselves into super humans.  What we wouldn’t give to harness that power, so a team of corporate scientists start a small colony on Mars, researching the potential of advancing human biology.  But it’s never a good idea to mess with Mother Nature, especially far from home, and something goes deathly wrong.  Quarantine is called, and a team of special operatives is sent deep inside the facility to find out what happened, why the scientists aren’t responding, and who the hell is killing who.

Apparently Rocks, like wine, improve with age; see what I did there?  But seriously; this was one of The Rock’s first roles, right after his Scorpion King days, and you can easily tell that he’s progressed as an actor, a real actor, especially compared to whatever it was he was supposed to be in this movie.  Again though, I don’t think anyone was confused about what they were doing here; Doom exists to have a good time.  Its homage to the game is brilliant, even doing a small first-person scene, and I loved the running scientists, the gross creatures, the trips down the tunnels, it all worked swimmingly.  But only if you want it to, because, let’s be honest, no awards are heading this film’s way for anything other than its nostalgic qualities.  It’s silly, it’s nonsensical, it’s not well-acted, but I honestly didn’t care.  I had a shocking amount of fun watching, and that’s all I wanted from this throwback.  Urban is a terrible actor, always has been, but Pike isn’t, she just isn’t really asked to do much other than scream.  No one is asked to do too much, which was probably a smart choice, and so no one completely fails.  Doom is something to enjoy if you know the structure of these games, and something not to take too seriously; let it entertain you, that’s all it wants.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆