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Screen » Film

Fear the Reaper: Doomsday carries the banner



Chick power busting loose in DoomsdayDoomsday is overkill road-kill at its finest.

A bastard offspring of classics and cult favorites like Road Warrior, Dawn of the Dead, The Warriors, 28 Days Later, Escape from New York, and Gladiator, Doomsday is the brainchild of Neil Marshall the director of Dog Soldiers and the Descent.

From the beginning, this film is laugh-riot-gangbusters. No shortage of guns blazing, bayonets thrusting, tanks zooming, blood spurting, guts spewing, chopped-off limbs flying, virus-infected zombies puking, heads rolling and stuff exploding. And that's just the first five minutes. Eventually you get the "why-things-got-so-bad" prelude: A deadly virus (codename "Reaper") infected the populace of Glasgow and a huge quarantine wall was built, sealing off the populace regardless of infection-all are doomed to remain and die.

Cut to 2035 and eye-patched heroine Eden (Rhona Mitra) - one of the lucky ones to escape 30 years ago. Her price? Losing her mom and an eye that's since been replaced with an eyeball-cam, a nifty lil' wristwatch-controlled proto-eye that pops out, rolls around and records stuff.

There are backstabbing figures lying to the public for political gain, would-be survivors and a potential new Reaper virus, but who cares about plot filler when the next big jolt gore-frenzy is looming. Eden is dispatched with a group of misfit mercenaries to find the virus cure and prevent it from spreading via the hands of the wicked Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell). She must go over the wall and fight the maniacal mutants that have formed their own army of goth-attired, meat-worshiping, psychotic crazies.

There are only a couple of minutes where things slow down enough for you to care how stupid this film actually is. It's virtually a non-stop adrenaline ride shamelessly playing homage to every cool futuristic apocalyptic guns-and-torture movie ever made. To notate the inspiration behind all the scenes would take a movie trivia encyclopedia. Even when the main villain Sol (Craig Conway) sports an evil mohawk straight out of Road Warrior, it's sheer homage from director Neil Marshall, who's well versed in this genre. McDowell plays a psycho doctor turned evil king, begging this question: Why does he always take the I-am-gonna-ruin-this-movie roles? He actually says, "Take them away" at one point in the film.

My favorite scene is the big cookout where the remaining survivors are all geared up for the big feast listening to Fine Young Cannibals and Siouxie and the Banshees. Who says the '80s are dead?

The (hacked-off) tongue-in-cheek visuals are consistently fresh and funny. The final suped-up car/fight scene is so over the top it had me laughing out loud. Marshall's flourishing imagination gives the audience a batch of new treats and his hilarious vision and style keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even when you know it's wrong, you forgive the lame dialogue and uninventive storyline. It's all about the tricks. Thanks mostly to the inventive directing, I left this splatter fest pleasantly knowing that I can now say "gee I never saw that before" without a shred of sarcasm.

Morgan P. Salvo is the host of "Onslaught," which can be heard on KPOV (106.7FM) every Saturday from 10pm-2am.

Doomsday: Starring: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell, Craig Conway. Director: Neil Marshall 


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