The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
"Doom" has one great shot. It comes right at the beginning. It's the Universal logo. Instead of a spinning Earth with the letters U-N-I-V-E-R-S-A-L rising in the east and centering themselves over Lebanon, Kan., we see the red planet Mars. Then we fly closer to Mars until we see surface details and finally the Olduvai Research Station, helpfully described on the movie's Web site as "a remote scientific facility on Mars" ... where, if you give it but a moment's thought, all of the scientific facilities are remote.
Anyway, that's the last we see of the surface of Mars. A lot of readers thought I was crazy for liking "Ghosts of Mars" (2001) and "Red Planet" (2000) and "Total Recall" (1990), but blast it all, at least in those movies, you get to see Mars. I'm a science fiction fan from way back. I go to Mars, I expect to see it. Watching "Doom" is like visiting Vegas and never leaving your hotel room.
The movie has been "inspired by" the famous video game. No, I haven't played it, and I never will, but I know how it feels not to play it, because I've seen the movie. "Doom" is like some kid came over and is using your computer and won't let you play.
The movie involves a group of Marines named the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, which if they would only take the slightest trouble could be renamed the Rapid Action Tactical Squad, which would acronym into RATS. The year is 2046. In the middle of an American desert has been discovered a portal to an ancient city on Mars. The Olduvai facility has been established to study it, and now there is a Breach of Level 5 Security, and the RRTS are sent to Mars through the portal to take care of business. Their leader is Sarge (The Rock), and their members include Reaper (Karl Urban), Destroyer (Deobia Oparei), Mac (Yao Chin), Goat (Ben Daniels), Duke (Razaaq Adoti), Portman (Richard Brake) and The Kid (Al Weaver). Now you know everything you need to know about them.