There’s not much to say about either of these films. They’re both…passable. Doomsday is written and directed by Brit Neil Marshall, whose two previous films as director are far better than this. Both Dog Soldiers and The Descent are great genre-twisters with genuine surprises and suspense. Doomsday is like a Michael Bay film without all the pretentiousness and glitz. It does have the Marshall marks of brutal violence, English lead characters, high-speed action and lots of brown, grimy world creating. These were used to great effect in his past films, but here there is nothing truly original. With elements of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, the recent BBC Robin Hood series and 28 Days Later all thrown in, it screams familiarity. It is entertaining, just not stimulating. There are also some thrilling chases and Rhona Mitra has never seemed like such an impressively scary woman. With it’s plague centred story that brings about the end of the world, sort of, plus two different tribes, an isolated London and the military that turns its back on its people, it just isn’t as intriguing as I’ve come to expect from Marshall. His next film, Drive, is released next year and stars Hugh Jackman as a Hollywood stunt performer who has a contract put on his life. Let’s hope it’s better than Doomsday.
Eagle Eye has the same, “Haven’t I seen all this before?” vibe. If you’ve seen Tony Scott’s (Ridley’s brother) 1998 film Enemy of the State starring Will Smith as a lawyer on the run, then, yes, you sort of have. By the way, watch Tony Scott’s great Brad Pitt/Robert Redford film Spy Game for some genuine drama and action. Anyway, Eagle Eye is directed by D.J Caruso (the far better Disturbia) and involves Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan running and shouting a lot and being amazed at the tech gone awry that constantly saves their lives while killing everyone else around them. The plot is almost laughable, as is one scene that involves a guy being killed by wayward power lines, and vanishing in a puff of smoke. The simplistic plot involves a computer that gains sentience and wants to rule the world (again, not an original concept). Its voice is female however and seems like 2001′s Hal’s sister. Apart from the, “yeah, right” moments the other annoyance is the extreme close-ups. Billy Bob Thornton has never looked so old and Rosario Dawson has never looked so pale. The usually attractive cast looks quite different here, with every pore and bump and blemish visible. It won’t be so noticeable on DVD of course, but certainly is on the big screen. If you can switch your brain off and accept everything that big budget cinema can throw at you, including cars that explode on the smallest impact, then these two films may be your cup of tea.
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