Monday, January 19, 2009

The FALLOUT 3 Reviews: Doomsday (2008)

Well, after three months of exploring The Capitol Wasteland and otherwise goofing off, I've finally beaten Fallout 3. What is Fallout 3 you may ask? Only the greatest role-playing game available for the XBox 360 that is not named Mass Effect.

To make a long story short, Fallout 3 is pretty much an amalgamation of every piece of post-apocalyptic or sci-fi material ever captured on film or in the written word since about 1930's. The game finds it's roots as much in the old Flash Gordon movie serials with Buster Crabbe as it does the Mad Max films or even Logan's Run.

The game refrences so much material that it soon dawned on me just how much the end of the world has contributed to the box office and my DVD shelf. This inspired me to revisit and review some of my favorite movies that literally begin after the end.

... the end of the world that is...

Since Fallout 3 is a pastiche, then the logical beginning of the Fallout 3 reviews should be a pastiche.

In this case it is Neil Marshall's 2008 instant cult classic, Doomsday.

Chances are that if you're reading this blog and fit the same viewer demographic as we do, then you already "know" the plot of Doomsday even if you haven't seen the movie, so I won't insult your intelligence with lengthy exposition.

In 2008 (the year the film was released no less), a disease known as (what else) the Reaper virus rips its way through Scotland. The British government reacts swiftly by fortifying Hadrian's Wall and turning into the UK version of the 38th Parallel: a totally fortified killzone.

As fate would have it, the virus makes its way to Great Britan a few years later and the government decides to take action to save its own neck.... er... preserve peace and stability.

Prime Puppet... er... Prime Minister Hatcher (Alexander Siddig) and his right hand man, Canaris (David O'Hara), send for domestic security chief Captain Nelson (Bob Hoskins). Nelson then discovers that there may be uninfected survivors in Scotland. Nelson is ordered to send a combat team into Scotland to acertain whether or not a cure to the Reaper virus has been developed in secret and to bring that cure back to London.

Nelson chooses Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra complete with bionic glass eye) to lead the squad. Their mission: find the whereabouts of the mysterious Dr. Marcus Kane (Malcolm MacDowell, who incidentally does some voice work for Fallout 3), the last scientist known to have been working on a cure before the outbreak of the Reaper virus in Scotland.

I'll have to admit, when I first saw the trailers for this film last winter, I really thought this was going to be the dumbest movie ever. That is, until I noticed that mad genius, Neil Marshall, was at the helm.

If you were scared out of your wits during The Descent or Dog Soldiers (a.k.a. the best werewolf movie since the early nineties), then you have Marshall to thank for that. Enjoyment of Doomsday is directly tied to your expectations going in.

If you're expecting deep philosophical moments of self-inspection then this isn't the movie for you. Doomsday is an unapologetic homage to Marshall's favorite B-Movies and your job as a movie geek is to much your popcorn, enjoy the gory deaths, and see if you can spot all of the other films that Doomsday draws inspiration from.

Believe me, there are a bunch.

Ironically, my main gripe with this movie about the end is... well... the ending...

Most of my favorite post-apoaclyptic movies end on rather bleak notes and Doomsday is no exception. The problem is that given the rather frenetic pace set by Doomsday, I really was expecting a bit more of a vicious settling of earthly accounts rather than the subtle and surprisingly bloodless transition to the end credits.

Still, if you're looking for a film to anchor your Last Days marathon some Saturday then Doomsday is as good a film to lead off with as any.


Doug Tilley said...

Just wondering.. What early 90s Werewolf movies are you thinking of? I love werewolves, and nothing beats the 1/2 punch of Howling/American Werewolf, but i'm always looking for alternatives.

J.T. said...

For early nineties werewolf schlock, you really can't beat Project Metalbeast or the Mario Van Peeble action vehicle, Full Eclipse (which actually uses demi-werewolves that look something like Wolverine from the X-Men).

There is also a pretty strange movie called Mom, about an elderly woman that becomes a werewolf / zombie / ghoul-type creature.

That being said, the gap of good werewolf movies after The Howling / American Werewolf in London ends in 2000 when the underloved Ginger Snaps appeared on the scene.