'Doomsday (Unrated Widescreen Edition)'
(Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, et al / DVD / R / 2008 / Universal)
Overview: From the director of The Descent comes an action-packed thrill-ride through the beating heart of hell! To save humanity from an epidemic, an elite fighting unit must battle to find a cure in a post-apocalyptic zone controlled by a society of murderous renegades. Loaded with ferocious fights and high-octane chases, Doomsday grabs you right from the start, and doesn't let go till its explosive end!
DVD Verdict: It's the year 2035 and Britain has been hit by the Reaper virus, a particularly nasty and contagious disease. The government seals off the top half of Britain (read: Scotland) and basically just let the population die out or have them kill each other when they've resorted to cannibalism. However, evidence of survivors as well as a resurgence of the virus outside the walls prompts the government to try to locate Dr. Marcus Kane, a scientist who is believed to be in possession of a cure. With the help of other soldiers, the government sends in Major Eden Sinclair to hopefully find a cure before it infects the rest of the country.
I just have one question to ask: have you ever seen "Escape from New York" by John Carpenter? I know how cliche it is to bring up the comparisons but if you've ever watched it then start watching this, I don't think there is any way you can get that classic 80's flick out of your head. Eden might as well be a female Snake Plissken (complete with occasional eye patch), the scientist plays the President role while the band of thugs and rogues could just as easily be led by the late Isaac Hayes.
And that's not the only film here as "Road Warrior" and "Mad Max" will cause familiarity and even "Aliens" which includes characters investigating a potentially hostile environment with other characters doing surveillance in a heavily-armored vehicle (named an APC no doubt) which then proceeds to run over a dude in a manner straight out of Cameron's classic. I think we're getting past the point of homage here and getting straight into ripoff territory.
So besides the large list of references, how's the film? Well not that great either. The violence is over-the-top and in one case, an unusual choice of food that will likely cause you to cringe, rather depraved. The plot's flimsy and the characters are barely likable but seeing 2 "Descent" alums pop up was fun. Speaking of which, Marshall's 2nd movie was an outright modern horror classic, a bright spot in the wave of films competing to see who can outgross each other the most (see the "Saw", "Hostel" and the recent "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" films).
His first film, the werewolf-centered "Dog Soldiers" was decent but with his 2nd film, he really showed a potential since not only did it have likable characters but actually terrified but whatever momentum he was gaining is all but squashed here. Every director's got to have their one bomb (Spielberg's "1941", Fincher's "Alien 3") but this certainly takes the cake. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Includes both the rated and unrated versions of the film
Audio commentary with director Neil Marshall and cast members Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Rick Warden and Les Simpson
"Anatomy of Catastrophe: Civilization on the Brink" featurette
"The Visual Effects and Wizardry of Doomsday" featurette
"Devices of Death: Guns, Gadgets and Vehicles of Destruction" featurette