Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dumbsday!


I remember seeing the trailer for Doomsday and really finding it quite attractive. It seemed to be a post-apocalyptic thriller with some panache and some real style. It turns out I was mostly wrong about that.

I finally caught this flick on TV yesterday afternoon. Now I admit that seeing a movie cut up by commercials and edited for television does potentially undercut a film's potential, but since I think this movie was too long anyway, I can't imagine any edits for TV hurt it all that much.

The story is a simple one, so that explains why they spend so much damn screen time explaining and re-explaining it over and over. Anyone who has seen more than two sci-fi movies will have no problem staying with the premise of this one, but for some reason the creators here were uncertain, so they keep telling us the premise.

Scotland is overrun by a plague and in an extreme move isolated from the rest of Britain by a giant wall and sealed off for over two decades. A little girl who was rescued when the wall was erected grows up to become a cop who is tasked to go back into Scotland searching for a cure when the virus reappears in London. It seems not everyone died in Scotland and some hope exists. She and her team go into the macabre world of post-disease Scotland and meet up with a hodge podge of medieval and punk-rock populations who all seem to be out for blood. A bunch of carnage ensues and eventually after much too long a time, the story winds to a close.

It's pretty basic post-apocalyptic stuff, and clearly the director was inspired by many a previous such flick. In fact that's the main problem with the movie, it's too much inspired by other movies and doesn't really spend sufficient time developing its own tone and atmosphere. If the movie sounds a lot like John Carpenter's Escape from New York you'd be right. There are echoes all through the movie of that great actioner. There is also an extended (and rather dull) chase scene seemingly stolen from Road Warrior. It's got some of the same beats and at times seems to almost be lost footage, though that's not the case.

The movie can't make up its mind what it wants to be, so it becomes many different flicks in one, and while there are some clever scenes there are equally scenes which fight against the overall atmosphere of the movie. The off-putting humor of the punk-cannibals works against the thriller tone established pretty well in the early going once the team gets over the wall. There is even a medieval knight story within a story right in the middle of the thing which gives us a good fight, but little else. The ending of the flick is forced a bit, since so many disparate elements had to be forged together by the end.

This could've been a real rouser, and it's not completely a lost cause. If you like fun action sequences, this one has several. But don't expect to care much when anyone dies, since almost no one in the movie is given a personality.



I checked out the trailer again after I watched the whole movie, and the trailer still seems pretty exciting. It's a shame the movie doesn't have the pacing or poise of the advertising.

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