It seems as though adapting Doom into a movie should be a piece of cake. All out demonic action with big muscles, big guns and plenty of blood and gore. Cast a big action star in the lead role and boom, we have a Doom movie.
Which is what we got in 2005 and it was not good… Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Karl Urban, somehow this movie adaption turned out to boring, bland and devoid of over the top action. At least compared to what fans wanted or expected. It was Doom in name alone and was rightfully panned.
With the resurgence of popularity thanks the excellent 2016 video game release, Doom is back from movie hell. Called Doom: Annihilation, this new attempt to make a memorable Doom movie comes from writer/director written Tony Giglio.
Can it eliminate the bad taste of Doom 2005 from mouths? Or does it just prove that Doom is not a video game that can be adapted into a good movie?
The latter unfortunately, as Doom: Annihilation has a haphazard plot, horrendous characters and tries to jam in game references in the most laughable ways.
On a planet called Phobas, the UAC base head –scientist Dr. Betruger (Dominic Mafham) is attempting to perfect teleportation using ancient ‘gates’ that were found on the planet. The movie opens showing an attempt to transport seemingly ending in success. However, the subject is deformed and has black liquid coming from his eyes.
We are then introduced to a group of marines emerging from cyrosleep on route to Phobas. The only important ones are Joan Dark (Amy Manson) and Bennett Stone (Luke Allen-Gale). She is the lead character, effectively Doom-girl but has no personality and no character traits. Beyond her team doesn’t trust her because of a mistake she made on a previous mission.
Amy Manson is lucky though as she at least gets deeper stuff to work with compared to the rest of the marines. A faceless bland bunch that are there to be killed off quickly.
Before that though we get some attempt at developing characters as they approach Phobas. On the planet, Dr. Betruger knows the teleportation experiment will be shut down if he can’t prove it works so decides to go through himself.
As the marines make their approach, Betruger goes through the gate and the base goes offline. The marines are unable to make contact but find a way to dock anyway.
Once on the base, they discover that things came through the gates and many of the staff has been turned into zombies. With the reactor due to explode in 90 minutes, it’s now a fight for survival.
The plot of Doom: Annihilation is incredibly boring and plays out in the most predicable way possible. Perhaps had the characters been even slightly interesting, it could have made the plot more bearable but that is not the case.
How is it that a non-speaking faceless marine from the game has more personality than most of these characters? The lack of effort put in is incredible and most of the actors hardly pull their weight. The only one worth praising is Amy Manson who does the ‘ass-kicker’ role well. Although an unnecessary romantic interest could have been left out and it wouldn’t have hurt the film.
These issues are so glaring, it’s impossible to get past. That’s before we even get to the effects and lacklustre finale.
If you didn’t know better you’d think it was a fan-made movie especially when you see the attempts to reference the games. Some are ok (the BFG), others like coloured keycards are embarrassingly done. They often offer nothing and even the BFG seems severely underpowered here.
Ultimately, it’s another missed opportunity to make a Doom film that is as stupidly over the top as the game is. It seems like the only way we’re ever going to get that kind of movie is if a lot of money is spent on it. Who in their right mind would fund it now after yet another flop?
Doom: Annihilation (2019)