Doomsday & r & & r & by BEN KROMER & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n Neil Marshall's Doomsday, plague-ridden Scotland has been walled in and quarantined by Britain, leaving everyone inside to die. That sounds harsh; but in England's defense, we're talking about the kind of plague that makes your face break out in oozy oatmeal. One girl is rescued, losing an eye in the process; she grows up to be a cop named Eden Sinclair. In her first scene as a grown-up, her partner graphically loses his head while she's messing with her removable bionic eyeball. Then there's a fresh outbreak in London, and Eden and her team are sent over the wall to find a cure.
Glasgow in 2035 is a pretty standard vision of post-apocalyptic doom. With no economy or civilization to speak of, the city has been overrun by cannibalistic punks, and only the most primitive and barbarous have survived. Yet for all their bad habits, they do love to dance and pierce themselves, and they're full of youthful vigor. If WTO protesters (improbably) seized power, this is what Seattle would be like.
So in Doomsday, basically, Glasgow is like New York in Escape from New York, only populated by the bad guys from Mad Max. Doomsday has dozens of allusions and homages to other movies (or flat-out rip-offs of them), including a bizarre segment that seems to exist solely to remind people of Braveheart. Now, I like Doomsday, but then I'm the sort of person who would like a movie that's unambiguously a pastiche of other movies I also like. Doomsday isn't really good enough to watch on the big screen (yet another reason to wait for the DVD).
This is Marshall's third film, and I like his style more than I like the particular products he puts onscreen. His first film, Dog Soldiers (2002), set the still-unmatched standard for anthropomorphic werewolfery. Then came The Descent, which other people liked. Perhaps Marshall, 37, is having some kind of early midlife crisis, and he's worried that he'll never get to make another movie, so with Doomsday, he's trying to cram in every kind of movie he can think of. Frankly, I feel that's a fine inspiration. Just shove in everything you can think of and everything other people can think of too. I'm being sincere when I say that Marshall looks like a creative genius for borrowing from decades-old sci-fi as opposed to his peers, who are satisfied to continue adapting Asian ghost garbage into English.
The best thing about Doomsday is Rhona Mitra in the role of Eden the Bad-Ass Chick. This is the same protagonist that Kate Beckinsale plays in Underworld, that Milla Jovovich plays in Resident Evil, and [actress X] plays in [disappointing action flick Y], but Mitra is better. Maybe that's because she is physically perfect. Or maybe it's because the only thing Doomsday hasn't got is stupid vampires or zombies. As a heroine, Eden Sinclair's not in the same league as big girls like Ellen Ripley or Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), but being better than the abysmally low average is good enough. (Rated R)