Our Daily Trailer: DOOMSDAY

BC wraps up Post-Apocalyptic Week with Neil Marshall's 2008 action/horror blend.

As The Descent is one of the best horror films of the last decade (which was a very good one for horror, I might add), Neil Marshall has earned a lifetime pass from me, but even if I had never heard of the guy before, I would have been excited for Doomsday, his 2008 post-apocalyptic action/horror blend. As you can see from the trailer, the movie is little more than a feature-length homage to Escape From New York and The Road Warrior, a recipe for the best summer movie of all time as far as I'm concerned. Sadly, Universal released the movie in April, and it flopped miserably - what should have been a "let's fill the theater with rowdy movie fans and have a grand old time" affair unfortunately played to mostly empty seats.

But those of us who were wise enough to see it were treated to a deliriously fun flick. In addition to the aforementioned films (two minor characters are named Carpenter and Miller, as if to make sure no one would accuse Marshall of merely ripping stuff off), there are homages to The Warriors, Aliens, Last Boy Scout (!) and a few other geek faves, making the film little more than a skilled filmmaker having a blast staging full-scale versions of the things he probably did with his action figures as a kid. But to give it a modern spin, the Mad Max/Snake Plissken stand-in is a female, played by Rhona Mitra in full Kate Beckinsale wannabe mode (incidentally, Mitra would step in for Beckinsale in the following year's Underworld prequel).

Also in the cast was the late Bob Hoskins, in what would be one of the last times we got to see the actor in our multiplexes here in the US (most of what followed was television and independent work in his native UK). He doesn't get to join in the action all that much, but it's fun seeing such a classy guy (and fairly choosy actor when it came to scripts, unlike co-star Malcolm McDowell) in the mix alongside cannibals and the like. It's a shame more people saw him in the terrible Snow White And The Huntsman (his final movie! Ugh) in its first few days of release than saw this in its entire theatrical run, though I assume it's at least found SOME fans on home video.

Speaking of which, the movie has the fun distinction of being the very first movie Universal released on Blu-ray, after opting to back HD-DVD originally only to see the format die when all of the other major studios opted to switch over to the winning side (or drop support if they were on the fence, such as Warner Bros). Some of Uni's HD-DVD releases STILL haven't been updated to Blu, and given the movie's box office failure, we're actually pretty lucky that the timing worked out, as it might have otherwise been dumped to the dead format, or worse, not released on a high def format at all. And if you don't believe such a thing could happen, ask a fan of Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins - a Universal release from a few weeks before Doomsday, which actually performed respectably - to show you their Blu-ray copy. I'll wait.

Even with the specific references to Carpenter and Miller, critics tore the film apart for being a ripoff, as if Marshall was just copying films and hoping no one would notice. Sure, there isn't a single original idea in the entire movie (even the credit font is taken from EFNY and other Carpenter films), but as long as you understood what the filmmaker was going for, you're bound to enjoy the spectacle he assembled from his indulgences. Hell, I'd even argue that it's a better followup to EFNY and Road Warrior than their own official sequels.

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