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Olduvai Research Station is a remote scientific facility on Mars where something has gone terribly wrong. All experiments have ceased, and communication has failed. The few messages that do get through are less than comforting. It's Level 5 Quarantine, and the only souls allowed in or out are the Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS)--hardened Marines armed to the teeth with enough firepower to neutralize any enemy--or so they think. The researchers at this Red Planet station have unwittingly opened a door, and all hell has broken loose. A legion of nightmarish creatures of unknown origin lurks in every corner and stalks the countless rooms and tunnels of the facility, killing what few people remain. A hellish zoo of demons, Imps, Barons and Hell Knights has taken over Olduvai. And they're not giving it back without a fight. Sealing off the portal to Earth, Sarge, Reaper and their mercenary team must use every weapon at their disposal--and some they find along the way--to carry out their orders: nothing gets out alive. Unfortunately, these things never go as planned.
For more about Doom and the Doom Blu-ray release, see Doom Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 9, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Razaaq Adoti, Deobia Oparei, Ben Daniels (I)
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
» See full cast & crew
Doom Blu-ray Review
'Doom' and gloom rule the day in this video game adaptation.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 9, 2009
We kill 'em all...let God sort 'em out.
Doom is nothing more than just another in a long string of failed Hollywood ventures that attempt to tap into the video game market. At its peak, Doom was one of the most successful games of all time, and perhaps the most influential ever to grace PC screens around the world. The First-Person Shooter genre is a staple of the video game market, both on the computer and the various console systems, still as popular as ever, and delivering action-packed entertainment that oftentimes presents players with both an engaging story and plenty of violence. The games often act as an outlet for players to unleash their frustrations by unloading a magazine, a missile, or laser at a digital opponent. It comes as no surprise, then, that Hollywood swooped in and assembled a live action version for the big screen. Doom, like most other video game adaptations, is far from a memorable cinematic experience. Give it credit, however, for attempting to push the envelope and deliver to audiences something of a hardcore, grisly, and bloody affair that any movie adaptation of the game demands to be successful. Doom isn't a bad effort, all said. No one area of the film suffers, but no one area shines, either. It's disturbingly average, even in light of the film's valiant effort to up the ante and deliver the dark, grisly, and brutal adaptation fans of the game craved.
In the year 2026, archeologists in the Nevada desert unearthed a portal to Mars, dubbed the Ark. Years later, scientists on the Red Planet are quickly killed off by a deadly force, and an elite squad of soldiers, known as Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS) are sent in on a rescue mission. They are led by "Sarge" (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Gridiron Gang), and are made up of a band of tough misfits with unique personalities, among them John Grimm (Karl Urban, Pathfinder). Grimm's sister Samantha (Rosamund Pike) works on Mars and serves as a liaison between the squad and the remaining personnel and facility. As Sarge and his men attempt to piece together the mystery, they begin to encounter the remnants of the missing scientists, bloodied, often severely wounded, and demonstrating highly irregular behavioral patterns. The situation becomes more perilous when it is discovered that the scientists are falling victim to genetic mutations that seek out the most aggressive and dangerous of individuals as host bodies. The team must remain sharp, frosty, and in command, containing the deadly outbreak and ensuring it never reaches the Ark -- and thereby Earth.
Doom makes for fine escapist entertainment for moviegoers in search of mindless wall-to-wall Sci-Fi, Horror, and Action thrills, and should prove to be, at minimum, a curiosity for genre fans and gamers alike. The film smartly casts Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a leading role, adding even greater appeal to the project. Unfortunately, outside of the blood-and-guts, high tech weaponry, and decent special and creature effects, there is little to make Doom more than a mildly entertaining and ultimately forgettable picture. The RRTS squad is made up of terribly clichťd characters: "Sarge;" the steady, clear-minded, soldier (who also has a relative caught in the middle of the crisis); the rookie; the pious trooper; the foul-mouthed, off-kilter jokester and drug user; the towering presence of a man who wields a gun seemingly bigger than he; and one or two "average Joes." Each character is portrayed by an actor that turns in a steady yet unremarkable performance. Karl Urban is the best of the bunch, with Johnson a close second. The remainder of the cast, despite bringing a bit of stereotypical development and personality to their characters, offer little more than fodder for the script. Likewise, Andrzej Bartkowiak's (Romeo Must Die) direction and Tony Pierce-Roberts' (Underworld, another terribly dark film) cinematography fare well enough, but are ultimately unremarkable. Still, considering the dark, cramped, foreboding atmosphere the film enjoys, there seems to be limited opportunity for creativity, and Doom seems to enjoy a slight boost thanks to this pair's contributions to the project. Finally, Doom begins to drag in its final act, ironic because it's the most action-packed segment of the film. It features a video game-like first-person shooter experience, which works surprisingly well, but it is the film's final confrontation that seems to drag. Approaching two hours, Doom is too long for a mindless video game-turned action movie.
Doom Blu-ray, Video Quality
Universal teleports Doom to Blu-ray with a murky 1080p transfer that retains its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is a dark movie with a palette made primarily of grays, blacks, and dark blues. The picture doesn't enjoy much brilliance or opportunity to "pop." It's grim and only moderately detailed, but it seems to capture the essence of the intended look of the film nicely. Black levels hold up mostly well, though sometimes looking too gray rather than a true, dark and deep black. The image also appears a bit soft, and long- and medium-distance shots appear somewhat hazy and undefined. Fine detail is also lacking in many shots; faces appear slightly blurred and lacking in texture in several instances. A bit of grain is seen over the image throughout the length of the film. The disc features minimal, almost unnoticeable, banding in one or two scenes. Doom features a lackluster transfer at best, but also one that proves difficult to judge thanks to its incredibly dark color scheme.
Doom Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Doom blasts onto Blu-ray with a deafening sonic assault courtesy of another DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This mix offers booming bass (as has become the norm with Universal titles), a fully-charged surround presence, loud volume, and most importantly, clarity. It will shake the foundation numerous times, and is an exciting thrill ride, something that compliments the nonstop action and grisly violence of the film perfectly. The more mundane sequences work well, too. All of the grisly sound effects, such as those heard during an autopsy of a badly burned and bloodied creature, features plenty of slimy and squishy effects that come through beautifully. The track features wonderful atmosphere; reverberations travel effortlessly throughout the soundstage, music pours from every speaker, and quick, heart-racing notes and sound effects move about the listening area effortlessly. Dialogue reproduction is also excellent. No doubt about it, Doom offers listeners another robust sonic experience.
Doom Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray edition of Doom fails to offer a fully locked-and-loaded selection of bonus materials, but does present viewers with a lengthy selection of short featurettes. Basic Training (480p, 10:33) takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the military training the actors underwent to ensure the most realistic action possible. Rock Formation (480p, 5:37) looks at the special make-up effects applied to The Rock for one of the film's most crucial sequences. Master Monster Makers (480p, 10:55) takes a detailed look at the creatures seen in the film. First-Person Shooter Sequence (480p, 5:56) examines the construction of the film's video game-inspired scene. 'Doom' Nation (480p, 14:39) features cast, crew, and celebrities reminiscing about the game and the First-Person Shooter genre. Game On! (480p, 6:47) provides beginning Doom 3 players some helpful hints. Finally, this disc is BD-Live (Blu-ray profile 2.0) enabled.
Doom Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Doom may be the ultimate in grisly, mindless fun. It's another so-so video game adaptation, but it has its moments, and enjoys decent performances from its leads, a creepy atmosphere, above-average special effects, and steady but unremarkable photography. The film may have worked better with less science and more creatures and mayhem, but the film features a decent story and average pacing that doesn't drag until the final act. The effort may not satisfy hardcore fans of the Doom video game franchise, but the average moviegoer looking for dark, gory fun with larger-than-life characters wielding super-sized weaponry might find it passable entertainment. Universal's Blu-ray disc is befitting of the film. The transfer is dull and soft, but the audio quality more than makes up for it. The disc is a bit light on substantive bonus materials. All in all, Doom makes for a fine rental, or a purchase at the right price.
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Doom Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Rock Gets a Blu-ray Set - January 23, 2009
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring 'The Rock Collection' to Blu-ray on February 10th. This three-disc set will feature the Blu-ray releases of 'The Rundown', 'Doom', and 'The Scorpion King', which all feature 1080p video accompanied ...
• Doom; The Rundown Announced for Blu-ray - November 25, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has revealed that they will bring the Dwayne Johnson films 'Doom: Unrated' and 'The Rundown' to Blu-ray on February 10th. Both of these titles were previously available on the HD DVD format, though it does not appear they will ...
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