Whee, cinematic junk food! There's a Twinkie cook book out there where you can make Twinkie Sushi or Twinkie Pigs in a Blanket (just add wieners) and Neil Marshall's Doomsday is like that: a creatively-made, undeniably unoriginal junk food achievement, without substance or nutrition. But as Pauline Kael said, or perhaps it was Julia Child, 'movies are so rarely great art, we must be able to appreciate great trash', and Doomsday is pretty great trash.
Twenty-odd years in the future, British authorities have quarantined a disease-ridden Scotland behind a wall (what took them so long, ba-dum-bump); when the same virulence breaks out in London, hardened cop/hottie Rhona Mitra is sent, Snake Plissken-esque, into the forbidden zone to bring out any hint of a cure that can be found. Director Neil Marshall cherry-picks elements from a bunch of different movies - the basic structure of Escape from New York, the car chase from The Road Warrior, a scene or two from Gladiator, a character archetype from Underworld, London tormented by a disease out of one of the 28 Weeks movies - and gives us a fever dream of post-apocalyptic action. Hell, I knew the movie was going to be fun when I saw the titles were in the John Carpenter font.
This is yet another of the many modern movies cobbled together from parts of other movies, like Hot Fuzz or Superhero Movie or anything made by Quentin Tarantino; what makes Doomsday work is its total lack of pretension, its simple desire to give us decapitations and people roasted alive and then cut into like a Thanksgiving turkey and Malcolm McDowell as a neo-Luddite medieval lord, complete with castle, utilizing maximum technical ability, can be enjoyed as simple pleasure (literally, simple). Marshall sticks with John Carpenter's '70s-era cynicism about government and authority, tempered by a fanboy's adoration of the thrill of geek cinema. Doomsday isn't for all tastes - I always prefer horror-type movies - your mileage may vary, especially because of its high empty-calorie quotient. But for anyone looking for a movie quickie, this is the movie for you (or it was, since it seems to be almost gone from theaters already).