Unfortunately, action films nowadays seem tame as compared to the hard hitters of the late 70’s and all throughout the 80’s. There are a few exceptions with films like Crank, The Expendables, and the latest Rambo. Doomsday, however, seems to be trying to reinvent the hardcore action films of times gone by and acts as an homage to classics like Escape from New York, Aliens, and Mad Max. It ultimately succeeds in resurrecting this style of action and is, for the most part, a very entertaining ride.
In 2008, a deadly epidemic called the Reaper Virus causes the British government to quarantine Scotland. For 25 years, it was assumed that everyone in Scotland had died from the virus. When the Reaper Virus appears yet again in Britain, a special forces squad, led by Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), is sent into Scotland to try and find a cure that was supposedly being developed by a Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell). The mission spins terribly out of control as the squad finds a punk-like gang of cannibals led by the maniacal Sol (Craig Conway). As time and the squad begins to dwindle, the stakes and violence are raised and the odds of getting back to Britain appears almost impossible.
The really cool thing about this movie is the amount of genres that are plowed through. The movie starts out as a virus film which turns into a science fiction film. After the squad runs across the Marauders it becomes a post-apocalyptic film, which is definitely the high point of the movie. After that it takes a very strange turn that I don’t really want to ruin in this review, but it really didn’t fit the film and could’ve easily been changed.
The characters in Doomsday really aren’t anything special. They aren’t totally without a personality, but we have definitely seen them before. Luckily, this film isn’t about the character development. It’s about how many awesome action sequences and over the top blood splatter scenes, and this film is absolutely not lacking in that department. Doomsday is about two gallons short of being a gorefest.
Even with all of the ridiculous violence, I feel like the movie really does have something to say about the government’s response to tragedy. The movie points the finger at leaders and accuses them of still looking out for their own well being and personal image even if people are suffering and dying under their jurisdiction. A popular example of a poor response by the government is the aftermath and recovery of Hurricane Katrina.
Doomsday goes farther than a large amount of mainstream action films won’t even think about going. There’s loads of violent action from beginning to end that is intense, gory, and even funny. The last part of the second act really drags and is just a bit too out of place, but that is really the only complain I have about this movie. It is fun and exciting, and works as a spot on homage to action classics.