Shame on you all. Not me included. So shame on you for not realizing the genius of Neil Marshall’s Matryoshka doll of surprises; Doomsday! Okay, sure. I admit I wasn’t THE ultimate fan when it came or the first time I revisited it, but I thought it was a great, awesome movie with a slightly underwhelming final act. But this time...wow, you know, this might be the coolest movie no one cared about when it came out.
It’s simple: Neil Marshall have recreated what seems to be the boyhood dream of every post apocalyptic warrior out there, and I’ve always admired those who make exactly what they want without caring of box office etc. That alone is worth an extra star. The recent examples I can mention now is John Carter and Jupiter Ascending, excellent, personal and slightly childish films - super flops. It’s like the audience, affected by humorless critics wants to give the actual word “fun” a bloody bitch-slap because it’s too damn fun.
There’s nothing to hide here. Doomsday is a fanfilm. It’s pure fanboy masturbation, and we all know that mastrubation IS awesome. A good time and easy forgotten. That might be one of Doomsday’s few problems. It’s too similar to other movies. As a fan of exploitation I love that, it’s something that’s a part of the genre. It belongs there, like from Hollywood stolen stories in Bollywood cinema. Without this, it will lose the power of the experience. It’s basically a ritual that has to be performed to be able to cast a spell over us fanboys. Neil Marshall wisely decided to divide Doomsday to four different tributes, all separated quite clear:
The Dystopian Future (A right-wing, fascistic party has taken control over the UK, and is controlled by an even more sinister military police-esque organisation. This could easily have been a part of James McTeigue’s intelligent and uncomfortable V for Vendetta or Alfonso Cuarón’s stunning Children of Men.
The Urban Post-Apocalypse (Complete with primitive urban warriors á la Escape From New York or hell, even The Warriors - including their Italian counterparts, like Escape from the Bronx and 2019: After the Fall of New York).
The Dark Middle Ages (Almost a non-sexualized pornographic view of knights and all that, complete with super bloody battles and roaring crowds. See Ironclad and Marshall’s own criminally underrated Centurion for other movies of this kind, like a grown-up Peplum on cocaine instead of steroids).
The Wasteland Apocalypse (Yep, the final action scene is basically a tribute to George Miller’s grimy revenge classic from 1979, Mad Max, until the second half when it turns into the sequel The Road Warrior, but in a lot lesser scale - and to be fair, far from as good as Miller’s 7 minute chase at the end of the latter movie).
Add to this an array of nudges to John Carpenter, from using the Albertus font in the pre- and end credits, naming a character Carpenter, using very Carpenter-esque music and making a lot of the movie looking and feeling like Escape from New York, but with a cure instead of the president. I for one discovered a scene so similar to Castellari’s Escape from the Bronx, where a soldier gets his face bashed in by a post-apocalyptic club! But through Axelle Carolyn, Marshall’s partner in life and career, I learned that he haven’t seen the Castellari movie and that it mostly just was a lucky shot! Cool anyway, because I think he probably saw it in his teens and then it kinda was implanted in his subconsciousness until it finally came to help writing the script!
My biggest problem with Doomsday has actually always been the final chase scene, which always felt underwhelming to me. I get the same feeling now, but I was prepared this time and it came out a lot better than last time. It’s slick, violent and makes use of the South African landscapes in a sensational way. The action itself feels a bit claustrophobic, but still delivers a couple of brilliantly executed stunts (the best one is in The Urban Post-Apocalypse part though, when a stuntman on a motocross really makes a fine crash into a train station entrance) and lots of blood. Which kinda is what I usually need when I watch movies like this.
It sets up for a sequel, and it’s fucking annoying that it never came to fruition. I blame you haters out there, and you who like sheep obviously avoided the film just because some wannabe fanboy wank wrote a bad review of it (a thing that often happens after a director had success with at least two brilliant films after another, like Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers and The Descent). Shame on you. Now, I know you’re all good-hearted boys and girls - and I forgive you all, so just go and watch Doomsday again, with your eyes open for FUN, FUN and a little bit more FUN. Mmmmkay?