Sunday, March 16, 2008

DOOMSDAY

How did this cutting-room-floor storyboard of a movie escape the grip of the January dump machine and win itself a slot in the spring break release week? Excellent question! Maybe it was the minor success of writer/director Neil Marshall's previous film, The Descent, that gave Universal high box office hopes this time around.

Well, you get what you pay $28 million for, I guess. Marshall is the type of directorial half-wit that thinks it's cheeky to play The Fine Young Cannibals while a tribe of fenced-in Scottish savages tear the roasted flesh off a captured English soldier. The Descent was bad, but Doomsday descends past the point of intolerable, where you start counting cuts per minute because there's nothing better to do. So far, this is 2008's cinematic low point.

Like Marshall's first major league full-length, Dog Soldiers, Doomsday is an assault on the eyes. Not for the reason of striking, brutal imagery, no, but for the A.D.D. editing that denies your brain the hunger it has to swallow down one fluid frame. "Hey! If it's too fast you're too old!". Nah, it ain't about that. The construction of Doomsday is a matter of covering up the potholes in the celluloid. It's like a terrible band cranking up the reverb so you won't notice the shanked notes.

All of this is a shame, because Rhona Mitra (as Sinclair) has as modern female action hero on-screen demeanor that rivals Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil films, and Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld films. Their strapping sexuality is convincing. It bests the cutaway fake-ness in Buffy and the cartoonish-ness of the Kill Bill girls. Even the bitch-feminism of Ripley, in Aliens, feels a tad contrived compared to this new breed.

Here's to hoping that these ladies - especially Jovovich - won't tire of this genre after starring in less than stellar vehicles. The fantasy/action film needs a woman's touch, and the new breed is ready to rule! Now if the male directors would just get out of their way...

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