There are two synopsis' for this film, the first: A fast moving and atrocious super-virus surfaces in Glasgow laying waste to the population in short order. The government, anticipating that no cure or treatment can be found before every human in Scotland is dead and in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus (known as the 'Reaper' virus) to England, Ireland and possibly the rest of the world, quarantines a majority of the country and encloses it within a huge steel wall populated with automated and human sentries that annihilate any of the infected that try to escape. The idea is to let the virus die out after the last human perishes and then keep the area sealed off as a no-entry hot zone just in case further exposure could be possible. There is a huge surge as the uninfected try to make it out before the final steel doors are welded shut and, in one particular case, a mother sacrifices herself so that her young daughter will survive. Thirty years later, England's economy is failing as poverty forces more and more people into streets already overcrowded with the remnants of the thousands of individuals displaced because of the Reaper virus and the closest thing to a silver lining is the fact that after three decades, the shifty Prime Minister (Alexander Siddig) and his cronies are under the assumption that they were able to contain the virus and are, at least, safe from that threat. Wrong. Thanks for playing. Unexpectedly, the Reaper virus resurfaces in London forcing the government to go into high alert because they know they don't have much time before mass exposure. The drastic turn of events prompts the Prime Minister to reveal top secret satellite imagery to one of London's top 'special-ops' police commanders, Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins), imagery showing the city of Glasgow and people who actually survived the virus. The Prime Minister explains that a cure must have been discovered by a Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell), who was in Glasgow working to stop the virus when the country was sealed. The plan is for Nelson to recommend an operative to lead an elite team into the hot zone, find Kane and/or the cure and rendezvous with the extraction team in 48 hours, or don't come back. Nelson immediately goes to Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), who we had already briefly seen in action, knowing that not only is she tough enough for the job but, having been a child when she was evacuated from Glasgow, has her own personal reasons for wanting to return to her former home. What follows is her and her teams attempts to survive a world gone mad in an effort to prevent a similar, or worse, planet wide scenario.
Synopsis two: Normal and well armed bad-asses enter into a post-apocalyptic nether world and do battle with insane madmen (and women), who represent the vilest aspects of human retrogression, in an attempt to procure an item which will allow humanity as we know it (or as close as possible) to continue existing with some semblance of an evolved civilization.
Get it? You can follow the story..........or not - as long as you have the general idea, it doesn't matter, just sit back and enjoy the ride. Either way, Doomsday rocks! and I mean that from the bottom of my guilty pleasured heart.
Seriously, I had an absolute blast seeing this movie, but wait, this isn't a simple sit down and watch what happens movie, no way, this is a leave your doubts at the door and crank up the volume along with your suspension of disbelief, embrace the violence and the driving soundtrack and sink into the movie like you would a hot mud bath, because, like the mud bath, when the movie's over, you're going to feel surprisingly refreshed..........and a little dirty. That's what makes it so much fun.
I'll admit, I was already digging the movie before it even started because I knew I was going to enjoy it simply because of the prospect of watching Rhona Mitra look spectacular while kicking ass. I could not have been more spot on - Rhona (Hollow Man, The Practice, Boston Legal, Shooter) has ousted Angelina Jolie and now, along with Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich, completes my ultimate trifecta of smart, forces to be reckoned with femme fatales. I know, I'm such a geek but hey, at least I'm honest about it. Anyway, back to the movie. Another reason I was looking forward to the movie was because I'm a sucker for those futuristic, post-apocalyptic, fight for your life, kill or be killed as anarchy reigns kind a movies. I was not disappointed and, trust me, if you're a fan of the more simplistic sci-fi with cool over-the-top outfits, heavy action, plenty of chases and ridiculous stunts, you won't be disappointed either. Anyone who's ever seen and, I hope, enjoyed movies like Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Escape from New York, Death Race 2000 or No Escape will feel right at home here because aspects from all of those films, and plenty others, are included in this action fest. I also got the distinct impression that the filmmakers were doing their best to pay homage to these earlier classics (rather than rip them off) while simultaneously trying to create something new and unique for the audience, and I'm happy to say that, in my opinion, they succeeded brilliantly. The crowning moment, for me, occurred during the final, frenetic chase scene as Mitra, driving a fantastically cool Bentley sports car, is pursued relentlessly and recklessly by the evil minions, all to the pounding sounds of Frankie Goes to Hollywood singing Two Tribes. It was practically a religious experience.
As for the acting. Who cares? Alright, I know, that's not fair and to be perfectly honest, the acting is leaps and bounds better than in some of the other films I mentioned - I mean, collectively, the acting in this film destroys Escape from New York (except for Kurt, of course) and all of the players are believable in the roles they are cast. Rhona Mitra is the obvious standout because of how well she was able to convey a seriously tough physical and mental attitude while remaining entirely feminine with an underlying alluring quality (geek boy, I know) - it's no surprise that she was the original model and physical promoter (in character) for the Laura Croft Tomb Raider video games as well as being the first consideration to play the character in the movie version, only to loose out to Angelina Jolie, whom the producers felt would draw bigger revenues. Bob Hoskins (Enemy at the Gates, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) is easily believable as a gritty no-nonsense police boss and it was a pleasure watching Alexander Siddig (Syriana, and Doctor Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) embrace his foul weasel-like character to the fullest extent. Malcolm McDowell is crazy in his patented calculatingly chilling way and Craig Conway (The Descent) is perfectly over the top as the leader of the cannibalistic metal-head gang, channeling Wez, from The Road Warrior, but taking the role to a completely higher level of insanity. The rest of the supporting cast is more then adequate in their respective roles, the soldiers are tough, the sick people are sick, the bad guys are bad and the gangs are off the chart with some surprisingly attractive, amazingly in shape members. I guess in the post-apocalyptic world, there's plenty of time to work out. Good to know.
Well, I've rambled on quite enough about this flick. It's obvious that I enjoyed it and it will definitely become a part of my collection on the day of it's release on disc. I realize that this type of movie doesn't appeal to everyone and I respect that, however, for those people who do enjoy this type of entertainment, Doomsday comes with my highest recommendation and for those people who do, on occasion, enjoy a mindless getaway or an action filled diversion, this film absolutely fills the order.
*Just a side note: The first image is the U.S. promo poster and the second is the French promo poster. I included the second because I thought it was cool........and it's got Rhona Mitra on it.