Doomsday

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If mankind ever indeed does go to hell in the future, it's less likely to be because of alien invasions, natural catastrophes or killer viruses than an overdose of postapocalyptic sci-fi thrillers, the latest example of which is this cheesy entry from director-screenwriter Neil Marshall. Squandering the estimable cinematic credibility the filmmaker garnered with his last effort, the spooky horror film "The Descent," "Doomsday" comes all too close to approximating its title.

Rhona Mitra, channeling such genre predecessors as Sigourney Weaver, Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale, plays the tough-as-nails heroine, the one-eyed Eden Sinclair. Set in the not-too-distant future, the story concerns Eden and her ragtag crew of mercenaries as they are enlisted by the British government to enter a walled-off Scotland that has been quarantined ever since the onset of a deadly plague.

There, they must search for a cure for the disease, which has unfortunately infected the rest of Britain. It presumably lies in the hands of a proverbial mad scientist (Malcolm McDowell, a long way from his Kubrick glory days) ensconced in a remote castle.

Along the way, the team must deal with rampaging gangs of punk-style cannibals led by a Mohawk-haired savage with the unlikely name of Sol (Craig Conway).

The film includes the usual unending series of high-speed chases and brutal fight scenes of every variation imaginable, all filmed in the sort of hyper-kinetic style by now endemic to these witless genre efforts.

The violence is very much of the R-rated variety, with numerous body parts being blown or shot off, several scenes of immolation and cannibalism and, to add insult to injury, a poor bunny rabbit being blown to smithereens.

Perhaps the film's most outlandish sequence depicts a sort of rave enjoyed by the cannibals, seemingly designed by the folks at Cirque du Soleil. (It was a fun touch, admittedly, to have them dancing to a song recorded by Fine Young Cannibals).

Mitra, clad in the requisite tight, sexy outfits, conveys a suitable toughness but little in the way of personality, while such distinguished British actors as Bob Hoskins and Adrian Lester dutifully show up to collect their paychecks.

Catchphrase alert: Two new standards that might possibly emerge if the film is successful are "Same shit, different era" and "If you're hungry, here's a piece of your friend," both uttered by the stoic heroine.

DOOMSDAY
Universal
Rogue Pictures/Intrepid Pictures, Crystal Sky Pictures/Scion Films
Credits:
Director-writer: Neil Marshall
Producers: Steven Paul, Benedict Carver
Executive producers: Peter McAleese, Trevor Macy, Marc D. Evans, Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman
Director of photography: Sam McCurdy
Production designer: Simon Bowles
Music: Tyler Bates
Costume designer: John Norster
Editor: Andrew MacRitchie
Cast:
Eden Sinclair: Rhona Mitra
Bill Nelson: Bob Hoskins
Norton: Adrian Lester
John Hatcher: Alexander Siddig
Michael Canaris: David O'Hara
Kane: Malcolm McDowell
Sol: Craig Conway
Running time -- 105 minutes
MPAA rating: R
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