Doomsday (2008)
Directed by Neil Marshall

Starring Bob Hoskins Malcolm McDowell Rhona Mitra

A tribute to the early 1980s anarchy actioners "The Road Warrior" and "Escape From New York," Neil Marshall's "Doomsday" also blends elements from "28 Days Later" for a fun and ultra-violent action-sci-fi-kinda-horror film. It's the first movie in a long time to feature an exploding hare only a British filmmaker could have come up with that concept.

Set in an "Escape From New York"-like British future, a reaper virus has wiped out huge portions of Scotland, forcing the Brits to wall off the northern part of the continent just like they did in John Carpenter's early 1980s classic. Three decades go by. When the "reaper virus" as it's called it turns its victims into rabid axe-wielding killers before killing them off shows up again in London, the British government decides to hire its best bad-ass, Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), to go into the walled off wasteland and search for survivors who may have come up with a cure for the virus. Some survivors have been seen via satellite, leading the British authorities to think a cure has been discovered. Sinclair is especially interesting because she has a glass eye that she can dislodge and use a video camera before reinserting it into her eye socket.

Their mission is to find the one scientist searching for a cure who was trapped behind the wall (Malcolm McDowell) with the expectation that, if alive, he's the one with a cure.

What Sinclair and her team of British bad asses find is an anarchy-run society led by tattooed punk rockers. The parallels to "EFNY" are clear throughout the film, with computer generated charts showing the extent of the walled off civilization, mohawks on the bad guys and even an "EFNY"-style font appearing on screen to tell us the year and place of the story.

The film ends with a car chase right out of "Mad Max" except our hero is driving a Bentley while Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Two Tribes" blares in the background.

While not exactly a horror movie, "Doomsday" is bloody and fantastic enough to appeal to any horror fan certainly any John Carpenter fan. This is the kind of filmmaking Carpenter did in the 1980s and continued to do with films like "Ghosts of Mars," which was pretty badly received. Similarly, "Doomsday" was pretty badly received on its initial release, garnering negative reviews and low box office on its first Friday in the U.S. Maybe schlocky sci-fi actioners aren't the big business they used to be.


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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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