I should explain something ahead of time--while there's no dodging the trailers, TV spots and print advertisements in my case, I've tried to enhance my enjoyment of recent movies by avoiding as much of the hype as possible--in particular, detailed articles which ultimate tell me far more than I want to know about the film I'm going to take a chance on.
I first heard about DOOMSDAY when a friend saw the trailer and misidentified it as the third chapter in the 28 DAYS... series. He insisted that Neil Marshall (DOG SOLDIERS, THE DESCENT) had taken over. I was skeptical--wouldn't the third film at least be called 28 MONTHS LATER?
Well, DOOMSDAY has nothing to do with the "28" series, of course. But it DOES involve a plague and it IS set in England and Scotland.
What I did NOT know going in is that Neil Marshall apparently had the brainstorm to remake ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE ROAD WARRIOR simultaneously! Now, perhaps he said as much earlier, but I hadn't a clue, and my jaw was soon on the floor when I realized where DOOMSDAY was going.
It's unmistakable, and Marshall makes no attempt to disguise it.
Scotland is walled off--not because of the crime rate, but because of a plague. But long after this purge, the virus resurfaces on the OTHER side of the wall, necessitating a special mission into "no man's land." The computer graphics detailing the blockade are identical to the ones John Carpenter used to depict the sealing of Manhattan Island... and even the FONT reading "NOW" is IDENTICAL.
We get a one-eyed hero sent in to infiltrate Scotland. But instead of super-criminal Kurt Russell going in to rescue Donald Pleasence and "the tape," we get super-soldier Rhona Mitra (she's named "Eden," but I called her "Snakette" throughout) going in to extract Malcom McDowell and "the cure" (provided there is one). And, of course, there's a time limit (but not one personally fatal to our heroine in this case). By the way, Snakette doesn't wear an eyepatch, but she DOES pop out her cybertronic glass eye for surveillance when appropriate...
It's different enough that Snakette gets plenty of backup in this case--notably so that two of her team can bear the names "Carpenter" and "Miller."
Ah, yes. As in George Miller. As in ROAD WARRIOR.
Wait until you meet Saul, the leader of the punked-out, cannibalistic maniacs ruling the city. (He's a combination of The Duke of New York and Wez from the Mad Max sequel.) Ten points for his entrance music if you can identify the band--yep, we even get the performing drag queens (doing the can-can) as Saul entertains the masses with the thought of using Snakette as their TICKET TO FREEDOM!!!
Oh, by the way, as far as I can tell, there's no character named "Hill," but Marshall also throws in what must have been his favorite scene from THE WARRIORS--the bit where the gang in the school bus tries to chase our heroes down while waving chains out of the windows...
...but by the time Snakette has to face up to her gladiatorial clash (well, at least she's not shooting HOOPS), we've jumped to the other side of Scotland and we're in "defending the castle with armored knights on horseback" land--and NONE of the hype led me to expect THAT!
Okay, we're almost done--combine the final ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK chase across the bridge with the climactic ROAD WARRIOR blowout (yes, right down to the bit where our mohawked villain's face pops up from beneath the edge of a vehicle and screams "YAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!") and wait to see how Snakette ultimately "sticks it to the man" at the end of the mission!
Man, with all of my complaints about REMAKES, I ought to be outraged at this. But it's not like the Asian horror glut. Truth be told, I am SICK TO DEATH of the hair ghosts and their cursed videos, cell phones and cameras. Because they've never GONE AWAY.
But it's been over twenty years since I saw ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE ROAD WARRIOR on the big screen. Nor was I happy when ESCAPE FROM L.A. turned out to be more of a lackluster remake than a true sequel. (And if you want to talk "originality," exactly WHERE did Snake Plissken get that persona of his in the first place? Let's face it--we're in "all fair" territory here, and if ONE gets to do it, everybody gets to do it.
I haven't had a charge like DOOMSDAY since I got to see AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK on the big screen. DOOMSDAY is jam-packed with gore and action (both computerized AND vehicularized), you KNOW that Neil Marshall is going to keep things watchable no matter how derivative they get, and the film--while obviously nothing like THE DESCENT when it comes to genuine terror and emotion--is every bit the equal of your favorite Italian MAD MAX/ESCAPE FROM N.Y. knockoff.
In other words, they made it for US, and they opened it against HORTON HEARS A WHO, so nobody's going to see it.
DOOMSDAY is currently tanking at a theatre near you.
The gods of creativity demand that I annihilate it critically.
But to hell with them. I liked it anyway.
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There were probably 10 other peole in the theater tonight besides myself and my stepson and 4 of them left halfway through the movie. I dug it though, a nice fast paced drive-in type movie with tons of fire and explosions
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women