Doomsday (2008)

Doomsday is a 2008 action film directed by Neil Marshall. It stars Rhona Mitra as Major Eden Sinclair, and takes her through the presently blocked-off Scotland in an attempt to find a cure for a virus currently threatening to wipe out all of England. What happens over there is an action-packed, over-the-top thrill ride that manages to keep up that energy for the majority of the film. It doesn’t get boring, it doesn’t get stale it just continues on being fun to watch.

The film opens in the year 2008, and depicts the origins of the Reaper Virus. We are shown how devastating the virus can be to people, spreading more easily than the common cold and turning people into swollen, bleeding creatures. It appears to be incredibly painful to be infected with it, as suicides do take place in order to avoid turning into a helpless, diseased entity. England has decided that this virus cannot be allowed into their country, and as such have set up gates to stop anyone from Scotland from getting in. Cue an infected individual attempting to breach these gates. This action doesn’t go over very well with the military stationed there, and massive bloodshed ensues, including a bullet going straight into the right eye of the then child Eden Sinclair. The blood sprayed in that scene alone will give you a decent indication of how the rest of the film will go.

The film then fast-forwards to the year 2035, where Eden has become a tough police officer in England. She ends up being tasked with leading a team through the wall, into Scotland. Their mission is to find a cure to the Reaper Virus, which has conveniently found a way through the quarantine zone into England. Apparently, there were some survivors inside the quarantined area, and if there are survivors, there must be a cure. Once through the wall, the film really takes off. While there, there will be car chases, ambushes, knights in armor, a gladiator fight, a punk rock concert, cannibalism, and explosions. Not having seen the movie, only some of those events seem related, but once you see the film, you’ll understand how they fit, and why a quick change in scenery makes sure that staleness never occurs.

Doomsday actually does have some memorable characters, despite there being little character development during it. Major Sinclair gets a back-story, but apart from a few lines, the other characters don’t. The most memorable character has to go to Craig Conway‘s Sol. Every time he appears on screen, he absolutely owns the role of crazy punk leader. Seriously, you will remember him after the film. He doesn’t overstay his welcome, either, and only really gets about 20 minutes of screen time. This time is well used, though, and allows him to be as crazy as possible for that time.

Doomsday is a film that wants you to have fun watching it.

Another memorable character is his girlfriend, played by Lee-Anne Liebenberg. Despite not getting a single speaking line in the film, and appearing for maybe 10 minutes tops, the face tattoos and general mannerisms allow her to be one of the characters you don’t want to say goodbye to.

An element that caught me by surprise when I first watched Doomsday was the soundtrack. It is composed mostly of ’80s punk/synth music. This adds a very neat feeling to the film, and really fits with the mood and action that is going on screen. The absolute pinnacle of this is the punk rock show hosted by Sol. He gets up on stage, and various ’80s songs come over the speaker system. They have a show with it, and it seems like it would be a genuinely fun environment to be a part of. You almost want to get up on stage and dance with Sol, despite him not treating his guests that well.

Doomsday is a film that wants you to have fun watching it. It’s not going to make you think. It’s not going to change the way anyone views the world. What it does do is provide a solid two hours of entertainment. It’s gory, over-the-top and action-packed. It will take you from humorous scenes, to action scenes, with even a couple touching scenes sprinkled on top. It has issues, and is highly derivative from other post-apocalyptic films and other 1980s films. It keeps up the pacing it begins with, it doesn’t get dull, and if you let it, the time will fly by while you watch it. There is hardly any filler, and despite the characters not giving you much reason to, you will care about a lot of them, including the villains.

Conclusion: Doomsday is a silly action movie that’s a whole lot of fun.

Recommendation: If you like over-the-top B-movie actioners, Doomsday is for you.

Rating: ****

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