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Doomsday

Year: 2008
Production Co: Rogue Pictures
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Cast: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins

After Neil Marshall blazed the horror world and became a media darling with the small, cool, zippy Dog Soldiers, he could almost write his own ticket.

Where Dog Soldiers was like a build of Linux, Doomsday is an overblown, overcooked, long-gestating Microsoft Vista. Marshall's obviously a fan of everything from The Hills Have Eyes to Mad Max and every horror, thriller and apocalyptic sci-fi in between, but he should maybe have made four movies for a quarter as much rather than try to jam every cinematic reference he could think of into one movie.

Coupled with a plainly and unnecessarily nasty mindset - glorying in a tank running over a cow and a machine gun blowing away a rabbit for no reason other than to show us the resulting gore - the wildly veering tone make the movie a mess.

It's not a bad premise as Scotland is subject to a plague that kills people violently and is then walled off from he rest of England, a sly nod to ancient mistrusts stretching back to the time of Hadrian that American audiences no doubt failed to pick up.

When satellite pictures pick up apparent human life years later, a team of highly skilled military operatives enter Scotland in armoured APCs to find the cure that must exist to bring it back to London and ward off the impending apocalypse as the plague starts to show up down south.

Rhona Mitra is stiff and bored rather than tough looking as the leader of the pack and being a hot chick with a past you just know she's going to be the last one left alive.

After being attacked my a society of Mad Max-like savages who are all terminally angry and have an unlimited supply of leather pants and facepaint, the team has to try and find the scientist who was on the verge of a cure, the megalomaniacal Dr Kane (McDowell, in the same role he's played in all his films over the last 20 years), now a despot in a medieval society he leads with an iron fist.

As a result of such narrative set-ups, the film changes tone from 28 Days Later to Mad Max II to Knightriders and back to Mad Max II again for a climatic death race featuring crazy, souped up cars on Scotland's lonely highways.

A disinterested cast, nothing new in the characterisations and a seesawing texture make it feel like it's been through a blender, and that in a film that wouldn't have felt terribly innovative if it had been coherent.

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