Back in 2008, a calamity occured in Scotland. From out of nowhere, a new strain of deadly virus infected the population and left the country not only decimated but in a state of panic. The authorities did not handle the situation well, and as a result Hadrian's Wall was rebuilt as an impenetrable shield against the Scots and their infection, leaving them to die without any help. Only one of them got away, little Eden Sinclair, who although she lost an eye in her flight, grew up to be one of the best soldiers (Rhona Mitra) the country had. So how would she feel about going back over two decades later?
On its release, writer and director Neil Marshall found the reaction to his action-science fiction epic Doomsday to be far less welcoming than to his last film, The Descent, and the main problem that most of the critics had was over how derivative it was. Apparently those unimpressed chose to ignore the amount of countries outside the U.S.A. whose genre work heavily relied on rip-offs, for want of a better word, of big moneymakers (even inside the U.S.A. for that matter), and it was those Italian versions of Mad Max, Aliens and Escape from New York that this most closely resembled.
With that in mind, those willing to indulge Marshall and his eighties nostalgia - a line from Ghostbusters here, a classic pop song on the soundtrack there - might well find themselves faced with quite some measure of mayhem-based fun. In essence it recaptured the last gasp of the heyday of exploitation movies with some style, and such amusements as knowing the second Sean Pertwee appears on screen that he is doomed only adds to that fun. Marshall also managed to make his film look impressively expensive as well, with a glossy but gritty appearance, even better than many of the movies it emulated.
There is too long spent on the introduction, however, and you may start contemplating why we're hanging around with Prime Minister Alexander Siddig and his yakking cronies when what you are really waiting for is for Sinclair to assemble her team and make like Sigourney Weaver. It is worth laying the groundwork for the plotline about the virus's emergence in England, though, and the fact that the country has been going to the dogs for some years: the film is set in the year 2035. Bob Hoskins seems to be the only truly trustworthy authority figure, a father to Sinclair and perhaps the sole character back in London who wishes to see her survive.
Activity has been spotted North of the Border, and this can only mean one thing, that there are survivors who are immune to the disease, offering a ray of hope. Off Sinclair goes to find the cure, and when she gets to Glasgow she finds most of the locals are dressing in leather and sporting dyed mohawks (it's nice to know that even cannibalistic psychopaths take care to look after their hair). Who she and her troops really need to find is self-appointed nobleman Kane (Malcolm McDowell), but first they must endure capture, torture and a stage show that only needs Jackie Bird presenting it to pass for the yearly Hogmanay broadcast on BBC1 Scotland. Does Sinclair let this hold her back? And more importantly, does Marshall hold back? No to both of those questions, and the film zestfully descends into a welter of action sequences which may be familiar, but are no less diverting for all that. If you got over the seen it all before quality, Doomsday was top entertainment for fans of post-apocalypse cinema. Music by Tyler Bates.
British writer and director. Made his feature debut in 2002 with the popular werewolf chiller Dog Soldiers, while 2005's The Descent was a scary girls-in-caves horror. Moved into television, including episodes of Game of Thrones, before returning to the big screen with the troubled Hellboy reboot.