Doom, starring Dwayne Johnson, is streaming now on Netflix.
If you’re an avid fan of bad science-fiction movies, good video games, or both, then you’ll be pleased to know that 2005’s Doom (starring Dwayne Johnson) is streaming on Netflix in all of its glory. Credited as “The Rock” for his appearance in this critical flop of a first-person shooter adaptation, Dwayne Johnson can be seen taking a trip to Mars to fight off a slew of alien mutants in this film that received an 18 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. Though you might get more satisfaction watching speed-runs of the original 1993 Doom video game on YouTube, the Doom movie at the very least has plenty of gore to quell your urge to fire up MS-DOS and bust out your old cheat codes.
The early 2000s marks the onset of filmmakers leaning more heavily into video games as a form of source material for their movies, yet in many ways this was still a new frontier to be explored. The 90s brought us films like the ill-fated Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter movies, and at that point in time it was evident that the formula for a successful live-action adaptation of a video game was not fully realized. That is to say, Dwayne Johnson‘s role in Doom was still very much a trial run that fell short of expectations, but we have to give it to him for giving it a shot anyway.
And any 90s kid with a penchant for violent video games will tell you that Doom was the absolute cream of the crop when it came to first-person shooters. The premise to Doom was simple: a space marine, popularly known as “Doomguy” was tasked with fighting off an army of demons from hell. Given Doomguy’s chiseled facial features that could be found at the bottom of the screen of play, it’s only fitting that Dwayne Johnson would go on to portray some iteration of our video game’s unnamed protagonist considering his physique.
Karl Urban was ultimately cast as John “Reaper” Grimm/Doomguy, but Dwayne Johnson still played a critical role in Doom as the antagonist, Sgt. Asher “Sarge” Mahonin. Though Johnson was originally considered for the role Reaper, he turned down the role in favor of portraying Sarge, who he felt was a more interesting, and darker character that he wanted to explore. But still, the limited scope of the source material made room for a number of creative liberties that ultimately made the film a failure.
In the video game, Doomguy blasted his way through nine levels that take place in military bases on the moons of Mars. Other than this central plot, there is not a whole lot to riff off of in the Doom video games other than “point your gun at the evil thing, and destroy it.” As simple as the plot to Doom may have been, the game was wildly popular, and given Dwayne Johnson’s rise to stardom, casting him alongside Karl Urban for the movie adaptation seemed like the move to make.
But even Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban couldn’t do much to make Doom a critical and box office success. Borrowing lore from the video game, Doom extrapolated from the source material in a way that made the plot convoluted and hard to follow. While fans of the game were left satisfied by some of the first-person shooting sequences, those who weren’t familiar with the gameplay felt like it fell short overall as an action movie.
In other words, there was just too much going on in Doom for the average moviegoer to enjoy it. There are some interesting tensions between Dwayne Johnson’s Sarge and Karl Urban’s Reaper as they navigate through the hellscape that is a mutant-infested Mars, but the simple fact of the matter is that the Doom video games would have probably been better off being left alone. What was originally a simple “point and shoot” kind of endeavor revolved around a singular protagonist ended up being turned into a disjointed story about a group of eight marines, and a convoluted plot about humans being infected by alien chromosomes that would turn them into demons.
Despite its shortcomings, fans of the Doom video games will appreciate the first-person shooter sequence that is clearly a callback to the game that we all know and love, and they can watch it on Netflix right now.