Rhona Mitra, Malcolm McDowell, Bob Hoskins, Craig Conway
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
With "The Descent," director Neil Marshall served notice that Hollywood may very well have a new master of genuine horror.
With "Doomsday," his follow-up to the surprisingly successful "The Descent," Marshall makes us wonder if perhaps it wasn't all just a fluke.
With nary an original idea of its own, "Doomsday" is a harried "end of the world" flick complete with the nearly obligatory Malcolm McDowell voice-over and quarantined nation divided by its circumstances.
Rhona Mitra ("Boston Legal") stars as Eden Sinclair, a U.K. cop assigned by Prime Minister John Hatcher (Alexander Siddig) to infiltrating the quarantined Scotland to search for whoever has the cure for the virus that decimated Scotland and has now shown up in England.
What she finds are two warring factions led by a scientist named Kane (McDowell), believed to have the cure, and his son, Sol (Craig Conway). Soon, both sides are at war with Sinclair and her buddies.
It's impossible to watch "Doomsday" without thinking of other female-led heroine flicks such as "Alien" or "Mad Max" or even the "Underworld" films. Sinclair is a hardcore, kick-ass heroine given many chances to show off her buffed physique in the film's many fight sequences.
While one hardly expects such an action heavy flick to possess a stellar script, Marshall sabotages himself here with a script that tries to accomplish far too much and, had it settled for less story and more kick-ass fight sequences may have actually been a film worthy of a recommendation.
While Marshall's script doesn't do her any favors, Mitra redeems herself nicely in the film's action sequences and McDowell, despite having a role he could do in his sleep, performs as well as might be expected. Both Bob Hoskins and Adrian Lester show up to add depth in supporting roles.
Visually stylish and frenzied enough that hardcore action fans are likely to find much to like here, "Doomsday" will likely prove less satisfying to those able to notice its frequent borrowing from other action films and who may grow tired of the film's breakneck pacing.
Likely to get lost in its late winter box-office dumping ground, "Doomsday" is likely to experience a quick box-office doomsday followed by a much more satisfying life on home video.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic