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BIG BUDGET EXPLOITATION....FANS OF MAD MAX 2, READ ON...,
This review is from: Doomsday [DVD] (DVD)
How I would have loved this back in the early 80s, in the wake of the superior Escape From New York & Mad Max 2, along with the countless knockoffs such as Atlantis Interceptors, 2019 & the Bronx Warriors movies.
As it stands, this is very much 'seen it all before' BUT I still enjoyed it, despite the total lack of originality plot wise!
It's loud (too much at times), action packed and extremeley gory.
Visually, it's VERY impressive, looking even better than a $17,000,000 budget should allow. The special effects, costumes, make up FX and sets are at times stunning! The photography is unusually good for a genre film, and the film is often very atmospheric.
I particularly enjoyed the prologue set in 2008 Scotland, depicting the outbreak of Reaper which is one of the most gruesome virus outbreaks yet seen on screen. The following 10 minutes, where both the infected, and the potential victims are violently quarantined by the British Army, and the giant steel wall spanning the whole of the border is welded shut, is one of the best openers I have seen in a long time. Really dug the CG graphic & narration nods to Escape From New York, as the mainland is brutally severed in two, to save the UK as a whole.
After this, the film basically ups gear, and never lets go, as the plot fastforwards to 2035 as a team of crack Special Forces & scientists ala
Aliens/Predator, are sent in to post apocalypse Scotland in search of a cure/survivors (as the virus has reappeared in London).
Basically, you get cannibal marauders/mutants ala Mad Max 2, a castle populated by a medieval style community, Malcolm Mcdowell as a kind of King Lear style despot, knights on horseback, gladiatorial combat, car and bike chases ripped straight from George Miller's trilogy, lots of fiendish weapons; axes, crossbows, flails, maces, swords and in the case of the SF unit, laser sighted assault rifles. The violence and gore levels are high in both quantity and quality as heads are caved in or blown off, limbs severed, bodies are mangled under wheel, and in a very disturbing scene, one character is cooked alive and GRAPHICALLY eaten on screen by the mohawked crazies!
It was never going to win oscars, but as a fast paced exploitation piece it delivers. The climactic car chase is very inspired by Mad Max 2, especially in terms of bizarre vehicles and homicidal maniacs but the 1981 classic still reigns supreme as the chase here doesn't come close to the Max movie, despite some impressive editing and death scenes. Indeed, the climax of the chase is almost identical to that of Mad Max 2. As is the marauder leader, who is a straight copy of Vernon Wells' Wez character!
What it does is wet the appetite for the in progress Mad Max 4: Fury Road, and fair play to Doomsday as director Neil Marshall has at least used CG sparingly here, relying more on traditional FX techniques, and using CG more to depict the burning cities, and border wall FX etc. Must say there is still some fantastic scenery here of the Scottish Highlands that really impresses.
One gripe; The OST - It's very patchy, often the orchestral score is just too full on, never stopping to take breath - and whoever thought of depicting the final chase scene to the strains of Frankie Goes To Hollywood should be, well, cooked alive!
Oh, and one very sexy heroine (and also an equally hot, tattooed villainess)....