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Review: The world will not end if you skip 'Doomsday Device'

Posted Monday, February 19, 2018 at 2:44 PM Central
Last updated Monday, February 19, 2018 at 3:31 PM Central

by John Couture

Based on the description and box art, I was sold one thing with Doomsday Device but got something completely different when I watched it. A perfect analogy would be reading the synopsis and seeing the poster for Jaws and then the film turns out to be Sharknado.

Actually, the Sharknado reference might be more on the nose the more that I think about it. Doomsday Device attempts to mix humor into an apocalyptic world is ending film only to have it mostly fall flat. Instead, the audience is laughing at the ridiculous special effects wondering if they had accidentally activated a time machine when they started the film.

The story seems interesting enough. Two FBI agents are dispatched to stop an ancient Japanese artifact from falling into the hands of a criminal overlord who intends to wield its enormous power to rule the world.

I think that trailer sheds some light on the film's biggest problem. Doomsday Device started out as a TV movie called "Pandora's Box" and as such, all of the devastation scenes and gunshots are missing blood. You can tell that it's made for a general TV crowd despite having scenes showing mass destruction events. You can also tell from the special effects that they were working with TV budget.

When the special effects in your film make the Power Rangers look like Titanic, then you know that you have a problem. Again, I'm not against cheesy special effects, but the film doesn't really sell them in that light. It's pretty apparent that the actors in the scenes expected a feature film level of special effects.

The special effects are so bad that they take you out of the film. They seemingly look like state-of-the-art effects from the mid-1980s, so much so that you start to question reality and the certainty of space and time. While these are cool concepts to ponder, I'm pretty sure that the filmmakers behind Doomsday Device weren't trying to create an existential crisis with their movie.

Speaking of existential crises and the 1980s, it probably didn't help matters that Lewis Skolnick himself from Revenge of the Nerds plays the evil mastermind in evoking a time travel hypothesis. Don't get me wrong, I'm always up for more Robert Carradine in films, but it took me a hot minute to place him. Once I did, I actually enjoyed his role more.

As the youngest Carradine brother, Robert didn't enjoy enduring fame like his brother David and Keith, but I think some would argue that his Lewis role is the most iconic of the ones that those three have put on film. It's fun to see him play against type and he seemingly relishes playing the bad guy. He also seems to be the only one that understands that he's in a really bad B-movie and decides to have fun with it.

He almost single-handedly saves the film. Almost.

Unfortunately, there's just too much going wrong with Doomsday Device to make it worth a watch. It's almost like they started filming one film and finished making a different one altogether. Then, they tried to cut it together like Frankenstein's monster and the result is less than enjoyable.

Doomsday Device is now available on DVD.