Friday, March 14, 2008

Movie Review: Doomsday

I saw more ads for this movie than trailers. The trailers weren't at all promising. If I were paying money I wouldn't have seen it. But it was free. And it turned out to be much better than I expected.

"Doomsday" is basically "Escape From Northern Ireland". In April of 2008 a new virus named "Reaper" appears in England. It's extremely contagious and very gross. People start dropping like flies. Limited containment is tried but eventually they have to build a couple of walls across the middle of the England and leave the northern half of the island to die off.

It's now 2035. A police raid in London reveals a roomful of people dying from Reaper. There's some clearly idiotic "evacuation" of London into an island in the middle of London. So now there's a severely overcrowded part of London and a virus. They explain why there's an island in the middle of London and it kinds makes sense. Most of the other plot holes don't get addressed.

Three years ago satellite footage showed some people in the streets of one of the northern cities. They thought everyone was long dead by now. Where there's people there must be a cure. A hot warrior woman is selected to lead an expedition. A bunch of other people are selected to go along to die in a variety of unpleasant ways. They're driving NBCs (a heavily armored military vehicle) and wearing battle isolation suits. (a what now?) Yeah, I know.

Figuring that the scientist who was working on a cure way back when, and who they sealed in the north, must have succeeded they go to his hospital. They drive all the way there without seeing anyone. They wander through the hospital checking room by room without seeing anyone. Not even signs of recent human activity. And then WHAM! People pouring out of every shadow. Hundreds of them and all from a Mad Max flick. How the hell did this many people hide from satellites for this long? Both NBCs, vehicles designed to shake off landmines are taken out by people armed with moltov cocktails and basic archery kit. Our heroes gun down dozens of crazed locals before being overwhelmed.

So our heroine meets the Madmaxians and eventually escapes with the daughter of the scientist she came to find. They catch a train to go find daddy. They take a shortcut through a mountain where I fully expected to find a Balrog. The scientist has moved into an old castle and his people have adopted all the trappings thereof. It was amusing to have a medieval England scene and see the "Gift shop" sign still up and the stained glass windows showing biohazard logos. Our heroine finds herself in the 1530's equivalent of Thunderdome and escapes.

Then there's this pretty awesome road battle when the Madmaxians catch up with the heroine. No, really, primo road battle.

I've given a lot away, but really I haven't. It's reasonably predictable.

The movie starts kinda weak but as it moves on it gets better. Part of it is just being able to settle back and enjoy. Part of it is the director getting into the swing of things as the movie progresses. Part of it is the fact that it's a horror movie on one side of the wall and a post-apocalypse action movie on the other. The folks in the north still have a sense of humor.

I'm glad I saw it and would probably rent it again to sit around and watch with friends. But I have no need to get it on DVD.

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