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Hal MacDermot [Celluloid 03.15.08] post apocalyptic movie review

Year: 2008
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Neil Marshall, writer/director of the critically acclaimed Dog Soldiers and The Descent has mixed up all of his favorite movies, taken the lid off his creative volcano, and let rip with an explosion of violence, genius, action and pure fun. Doomsday. A confession: Mad Max, Escape from New York, Apocalypse Now and the 28s are some of my own personal favorites too.

The year is 2035. Scotland has been decimated by the deadly Reaper virus and literally walled off for three decades. Just when the British authorities get complacent, the virus breaks out again, this time in the heart of London. Tough assed babe Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) is sent into Scotland with a crack team to find a cure. Sealed off from the rest of Britain, the team must fight its way across an apocalyptic landscape filled with vicious tribal punk cannibals.

Marshall invites us to enjoy. He gives us a brooding mad dictator (Malcolm McDowell) in a Scottish castle. He gives us duels between Rhona and medieval knights. There's even a gimp and an insane car chase with a Bentley. Did I mention the tribal punk cannibals? The psychotic and hot Viper (Lee-Anne Liebenberg) with her tribal tattoos and extremely long tongue? The scary-assed Sol (Craig Conway), her partner in crime and haircuts?

Hats off to masterful cinematographer Sam McCurdy, who worked on Marshall's last two movies. The Doomsday "look" is perfect and swings between dark nights of rain and days of blown-out dreamscape. Talking of looks, keep your eye on Eden, because hers is bionic and she takes it out to use a nifty camera. You could argue that the virus that makes you explode with blood is not original, but hey, I'm not going to.

In my opinion, it's the lack of character development and some of the performances that hold the film back. Rhona Mitra's character needed a bit more dimension. I wanted to see a stronger emotional bond with her team. To me, the performance of the usually brilliant Bob Hoskins felt a bit forced. Story-wise, I'm not at all sure they killed the right people off, and I would have liked to see more conflict between the punks and the medieval gang from the castle. Maybe I'm just whining. This is a great movie and anyhows, the 80s were cool and Rhona is better looking than Snake Plisken.

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agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

This movie was f-ing mind-blowing! Now that Marshall has been let out of his cramped little horror cage and he's smelled the air of a free man, I highly doubt he'll be going back in. The man's got a lust for the big, the bold, and the brash, that's for sure and in Doomsday you can tell he's having the time of his frickin' life... and so was I.

There might not be an original thought in the whole beautiful mess, but it doesn't matter. If we've learned anything over the years it's that great stories can be told again and again as long as they're given a fresh facelift. In my mind Marshall's proved he has the chops and he pulled it off.

Plus the music was like Vangelis meets Carpenter. Bloody brilliant!


wisp (14 years ago) Reply

i did just see another movie called doomsday and made here in 2008, hmm.
the movie full title was 2012 doomsday and it sucked - the doomsday movie posted here look much better


agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Ah sorry wisp... looks like you're another casualty of The Asylum


Anonymous (14 years ago) Reply

So I was doing some late night surfin' after yet another mind-blowing viewing of Doomsday and I wanted to just say that I knew this was going to happen. Rogue Pictures was scared off by the poor reaction from early screenings and didn't let the press get early access to Doomsday. Now the word is out and Doomsday's a hit with genre buffs but it's too late for Marshall's Box Office.

Everyone from Harry Knowles ("this film is bugnuts!") to Shocktillyoudrop (8 out of 10) loved it. Seriously, what do test screenings accomplish except to give studio suits cold feet (that's a rhetorical question btw)?

-- yes its me, Agent Orange. This movie rocks my world. If it came with lips and a pizza oven I'd marry it.

Rant over


taylor (14 years ago) Reply

dude im glad to hear a good review i thought this looked fun but i was assuming it would be dumb and disappointing and was preparing myself for such a notion. cheers mate- oh yeah- "OH SHIT MALCOLM MCDOWELL AND BOB HOSKINS???)


terry (13 years ago) Reply

Where IS that castle it really a Scottish castle or wot ????


Dave (13 years ago) Reply

What a cracking rollercoaster ride through the apocalypse with a healthy portion of homage and praise to other films from the genre.

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