After the mediocre Red Planet and the outright abomination that was Mission to Mars, you’d think that filmmakers would shy away from setting movies on Mars for, like, ever. But Doom dares to transport us once again to the planet where good scripts go to die. The story here is that in 2026, some portal from Nevada to Mars is discovered, its purpose unknown initially. It soon becomes apparent, though, why it’s there: for blastin’ Martians!
The Rock leads a group of racially integrated space Marines in said blastin’. Of course, any film involving racially integrated space Marines will invariably be compared to Aliens, and Doom is no Aliens. But it’s no Deep Star Six, either; it’s relatively entertaining in a lunkheaded, overly explanatory sort of way (count how many times you hear phrases like “So, what you’re telling me is…” or “You mean that…?”).
Perhaps overlooking the melanin inherent in the cast (besides The Rock, Razaaq Adoti and Deobia Oparei play Marines), this film is inexplicably dark. I don’t mean metaphorically gloomy; I mean literally I couldn’t see a damn thing half of the time. They should’ve retitled the DVD release Zoom, because you have to use the zoom function on your DVD player to make out what the hell’s going on.
More disturbing, though, is the fact that while The Rock is the biggest name in the cast by far and is the commanding officer on the mission, he’s not the lead star of the movie. Instead, we get Karl “You May Know Me From Such Films as Chronicles of Riddick and Ghost Ship” Urban. I hate to play the race card, but if The Rock is half black, can’t he get at least a halfway developed character? Urban gets a whole tortured backstory on how his parents were killed on Mars and how his estranged sister has chosen to continue their work, while The Rock’s character development can be summed up in the scene in which he goes to the armory to get more firepower:
[The Rock enters the armory. A big fucking gun hover in the center of the room.]
The Rock: “Big fucking gun.”
[He eyes is seductively. His hands are out of the shot, but I think he may be touching himself. He grabs the gun.]
The Rock: “Ohhh shiiit.”
And somehow, Oscar eluded Doom.