Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 12
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

WHERE ARE ALL THESE GHOULS COMING FROM?: Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) takes aim at yet another member of the hordes of zombies that inhabit Scotland on her way to finding Dr Kane (Malcolm McDowell, not shown) who is rumored to have developed a vaccine which can prevent the horrible plague from infecting England.

Doomsday: Team of Specialists Is Sent to Quarantined Scotland in Sci-Fi Film

Kam Williams

Neil Marshall’s previous movie, The Descent, a harrowing horror film which kept you on the edge of your seat, was good enough to earn the sixth spot on my 10 Best List for 2006. So, I expected more from his latest offering than a sloppily edited rehash of science-fiction clichés which look like they were thoughtlessly slapped together by Edward Scissorhands. However, that’s exactly what we have in Doomsday, a movie which shamelessly recreates scenes from such post-apocalyptic adventures as Resident Evil, Mad Max, 28 Days, Escape from New York, I Am Legend and others.

The story is set in Great Britain in 2035, a quarter century after the deadly reaper virus had infected the population of Scotland and turned most of its citizens into cannibalistic zombies. In order to contain the epidemic, the entire country was quarantined behind a giant wall, a precaution which worked until a new outbreak was recently discovered in London.

Urgently in need of an antidote to prevent the scourge from overtaking England, Prime Minister Hatcher (Alexander Siddiq) decides to dispatch a squad of crack police officers into Scotland to find Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell), a scientist who stayed behind to try to develop a vaccine, and bring him back to England. He’s rumored to have succeeded in producing the vaccine, since there are still some Scots who have not been infected by the virus.

When ordered to choose his best police officer for the job, Police Chief Nelson (Bob Hoskins) taps Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), a cool, calm, collected gunslinger who is not only fearless, but also very attractive. She proceeds to lead a hand-picked team of crack commandos into Scotland which has degenerated into a lawless desolate country. The landscape is swarming with gangs of zombies such as omnivorous ghouls who feast on barbecued human flesh, ferocious looking women bikers, neo-Native Americans with mohawks and war paint, and skull-and-cross-bone tattooed creeps who look like they wandered in from an Oakland Raider tailgate party.

How these foreign groups came to Scotland is never adequately explained, since there’s no time for the commandos to do anything but defend themselves against wave after wave of these strange undead creatures. Forget about trying to follow the preposterous plotline, unless you are looking for a good laugh.

There are only two reasons to recommend Doomsday. One, that the token black character, Norton (Adrian Lester), is not the first to die — the only surprise in a film filled from start to finish with recreations of shopworn screen scenes — and second, that Rhona Mitra is a pleasure to watch as she portrays the invincible heroine, even though she is hampered by a dreadful script.

Nonetheless, Neil Marshall should be castigated for presenting such a disappointing follow-up to The Descent. This lame excuse of a movie is an insult to the intelligence of anyone with an I.Q. greater than his shoe size.

Poor (0 stars). Rated R for profanity, nudity, sexuality, and graphic violence. Running time: 105 minutes. Studio: Rogue Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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