01 April 2008


Perhaps inspired by a newfound awareness of how much it annoys people when I express enjoyment of trashy, lowbrow movies, I went to see another one yesterday. This one was called Doomsday, and while I couldn't in good conscience recommend it for anyone over the age of 14 or so, it was a decent bit of escapism, with a fair few explosions, completely preposterous plotlines, and... well, that's about it.

Somehow I had gotten the impression that this updated bit of Mad Max-style tomfoolery was set in New York City, which would have heightened the enjoyment for me, but in fact it took place in London and (mostly) Glasgow, and all the serious damage unfolded in Glasgow. There seems to be some perverse element of human nature that revels in seeing one's home town or former home town demolished in the movies, but although I've visited there once, I frankly can't be bothered about what happens to Glasgow. Anyway, apart from the street signs, it looked more like Edinburgh, which I also can't be much bothered about.

The premise, as if one were needed, was lifted straight from 28 Days Later: a killer virus has ravaged the UK, well, actually only Scotland, and the government has responded by doing what many an Englishman has no doubt fantasized about doing, building a 30 foot high wall along the English-Scottish border and leaving the Scots to bloodily expire. 30 years later, one of the few escapees from the Scottish holocaust is a crack SAS trooper or somesuch and stationed in a rather dark and down-at-the-heels London (one suspects that a Scot had something to with the making of this film, based on its assumption that the English economy and body politic would be all but ruined should the Scottish albatross be lifted from its neck).

The virus has just been discovered in London, and people's heads are beginning to explode on a routine basis; simultaneously it's revealed that there are survivors in Scotland, so an expedition is organized to travel into the Dead Zone, capture one of them, and use his or her blood to make a vaccine and save England. Well, you can probably see where this is going from here, although the crack SAS trooper also happens to be a beautiful female martial arts expert and cold-blooded killer, the English government officials are craven and corrupt (further buttressing my assumption that a Scot was involved with this), all except for good old Bob Hoskins, who spends most of his onscreen time lighting cigarettes and looking utterly bewildered as to what he's doing in this B-grade piece of crap.

Once north of the border, the commandos come tooling into a darkened, ruined Glasgow (apart from the vines growing on the buildings, it looked rather like a normal night) which appears to be completely empty until suddenly out of nowhere come thousands of 1984-style chaos and crusty punks (the mind boggles at how many unemployable tattooed-face 1980s burnouts must have supplemented their giros by working as extras) who have of course reverted to savagery, not that they had far to revert in the first place, and are bent on cannibalizing our intrepid English adventurers.

You'll remember that the entire country was blacked out and had been for 30 years, but suddenly, as though by magic, the crusties have sufficient electricity and microphones to have an impromptu punk/metal show complete with torture, incineration and cannibalism that looked as though it could have been filmed at the old Bondage-a-Go-Go club nights at San Francisco's Trocadero. Our heroes manage to escape - well, the ones who aren't eaten, that is - and in an even more amazingly magical turn of events, find a train sitting in Glasgow Central that still operates (and what do you know, despite 30 years of chaos and destruction, the railroad tracks are in perfect working order as well, without a single obstruction for the hundred miles or so that it takes them to journey out to the highlands where another bunch of survivors has taken refuge in an ancient castle and reverted to medievalism.

Much jousting, sword fighting, knights in armor, etc. ensues, and ultimately the couple of soldiers who have survived managed to deliver their prize, a living immune girl, back to the English authorities, who turn out to be not just craven and corrupt, but completely and utterly bereft of all human decency, and who are planning to let most of London die first in the belief it will convey some sort of political advantage (so sure was I that a Scotsman had to have made this that I just googled the writer-director, only to find out he's actually a Geordie - well, close enough).

Everything is more or less settled then, when the heroine comes up with some tape disc that exposes the English Prime Minister for the lying sod that he is (and England collectively shrugs its shoulders, one would imagine) before going back to kill the leader of the crusty cannibals and become their new leader. As you do.

Well, there you go; no need to see this movie now, I suppose, unless of course you're in the aforementioned under-14 demographic, in which case you'll have to sneak in, as this lovely little gorefest is rated R-17 for some reason. If you go, take lots of popcorn.

1 comment:

Brooklyn Love said...

The only lowbrow movies that make me angry are anything by Adam Sandler. My own acute, private hell would be me being forced to watch his movies for the rest of eternity, a la Clockwork Orange.

Outside of that, bring on the explosions and slapstick!