Omega Doom (1996) review

Omega Doom (1996) review

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Rutger Hauer and his amazing hat.
Rutger Hauer and his amazing hat.

While it may be based on the classic that is Yojimbo, there is almost nothing you could say is enjoyable about this 1996 low budget sci-fi flick. Omega Doom might be a rather cool title, but that will only carry you so far. It lacks enjoyable characters, poor dialogue, equally poor special effects, and only a couple of locations.

In some cases a minimalist use of locations can be a good thing. Much of this depends on the script, which in this case is patently iffy from page one. By all means explain that there is a wider world out there, but in order to make the story work you really do need to make the characters interesting. If you don’t then the audience will be wishing they could head off into the blood red sunset and explore that wider world. Better that than have to spend any longer with this bunch of androids.

That’s not a disparaging remark, by the way. The characters are all androids, with humanity on the brink of extinction. Hauer arrives in the small town, an outsider, as a civil war is taking place between two opposing sides in a robot war. Of course, I say civil war. Ignoring the destruction that surrounds them, there isn’t much going on in the way of fighting. All things considered, the town is relatively peaceful.

I’ll admit that there are a couple of good shots, and Rutger Hauer is always value for money – no doubt why he ends up in so many of these direct to video/DVD budget films. Hauer provides a gentle menace as the fast drawing title character, a robot who has had his evil circuits destroyed. Elsewhere too the cast are acceptable and inhabit their characters. Comic relief is provided by Norbert Weisser as The Head, although the term “comic relief” is perhaps giving the character too much credit.

Androids. They all look the same. Or something equally mundane.
Androids. They all look the same. Or something equally mundane.

Otherwise, not much happens. The story drags as you sit there and hope for something interesting to take place, or a fight. Anything. Instead There is lots of standing around, jibber-jabbering, and staring at rival groups. Of course, I say rival groups – there are only about 10 characters in total. It’s almost insufferable in its languid approach to narrative. Take a bow, Albert Pyun.

There’s also one moment where a robot gets a hole blasted in them. In one shot we can see right through their torso from the other side. The next? A green patch on their front, which was clearly supposed to be chroma keyed out in post and was forgotten about. Go figure.

When I watched this it was admittedly after midnight. Somehow I managed to sit through the whole thing without falling asleep. I would describe it as an endurance test. If you can get through this in one sitting without dozing off or being distracted – at any time of the day – then you can watch almost anything. Not that I’m suggesting you should watch this – don’t. Watch Yojimbo instead.

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