For an action/horror shoot-’em-up using a popular first-person shooter video game as a launching pad, Doom is a surprisingly entertaining piece of derivative schlock that still manages to overcome its inherently thin source material and deliver with a solid piece of mindless popcorn fun.
Set a few decades in the future, mankind has discovered a sort of stargate in the void of Montana that transports the adventurous-type nonstop to the ruins of Mars, where mankind has set up an, ahem, “archeological dig.” Of course, there are some places Man is not supposed to explore, and apparently the Angry Red Planet is one of them, as all sorts of hellish beasties start erupting from the shadows. An L337 team of crack space marines (led by The Rock, who seemingly has had his eyebrow Botox’ed in the interim) are sent up to clean house, and soon find themselves redecorating the walkways, their own blood repainting the steel walls. Like the video game, there are all sorts of beasties to choose from, and some resident evil zombies thrown in to spice things up, and some BFGs to make loud noises and spray human and alien tissue about the outpost liberally. And yes, finally a filmmaker adapting a first-person shooter kicks down with a sequence acknowledging the source.
While there is no way to recreate the inherent creepiness of the game itself (the whole interactive aspect in a darkened room, dig?), Doom tries its best, but only comes up with a few good jolts, but compensates with a fast-paced narrative that borrows a bit from James Cameron’s Aliens (albeit with a couple of serious plot holes)—not distractingly so. The storyline tweaks the source material a bit, which is sure to alienate the faithful, but as a stand-alone feature Doom offers enough surprises to satisfy the casual matinee-goer with a taste for simulated mayhem.