In Neil Marshall’s derivative, dystopian fantasy, Scotland 50 years on is a no-man’s land ravaged by disease, cut off from England by a rebuilt Hadrian’s Wall, and presided over by streetwise gangs of cannibals driving customised cars and motorbikes. Dispatched by the government onto the streets of deepest, darkest Glasgow to search for signs of human life, one-eyed super-soldier Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) embarks on an adventure which borrows shamelessly from Mad Max, Escape from New York and other 80s actioneers.
While gravel-voiced political smoothie David O’Hara and paternal ally Bob Hoskins wait nervously in a London under siege from plague-ridden zombies, Sinclair and her fearless team take on Glasgow’s largely cannibal population.
After Dog Soldiers and The Descent, writer/director Marshall has a track record for breathing fresh life into tired fantasy genres, but he overplays his doomsday scenario by stealing too heavily from highly recognisable films. And 80s in-jokes are fine, but it’s sheer camp self-indulgence to feature so prominently tracks like Fine Young Cannibals’ ‘Good Thing’ and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’.
Largely filmed on South African locations, Doomsday eventually shakes off its many influences and rises to a well-staged if dramatically irrelevant car-chase finale. Marshall’s film may well provide a few guilty pleasures for jaded action fans bored with computer-generated effects, but non-genre fans will find Doosmsday about as subtle as a nail-encrusted club in the face.
General release from Fri 9 May.