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Watch: 'The Boys' Karl Urban takes on The Rock in FPS-style action scene from 2005 sci-fi flick ‘Doom’

Two acting titans square off in a space gauntlet that definitively channeled the action of the games themselves.

By Benjamin Bullard
Karl Urban in Doom (2005)

Though we've always found plenty to like about it, the 2005 sci-fi flick Doom had its share of detractors as the iconic gaming franchise made its hellish big-screen crossover. Sure, the plot was kinda silly and the dank grey environments all felt same-y, but the adrenalized action was definitely on point. And there's nothing but love for the film's killer cast, which brought its A game to the space table with Rosamund Pike, Karl Urban, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Those last two ended up being the glue that held the movie’s blood-spattered spare parts together, especially once Urban (as John "Reaper" Grimm) finally gets fed up with Johnson (as Sgt. Asher "Sarge" Mahonin) and his whole mission-first mentality. It’s the wedge that drives the two apart, taking Sarge down a dark, kill or be-killed path that eventually puts him on the wrong side of Reaper’s good-guy firepower — but not before each brings a final-boss set of supercharged strength and skills to their epic final confrontation.

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Check out Universal Pictures’ walk down Martian memory lane with the scene that puts the pair at ultimate odds, complete with the fan-favorite first-person shooter gauntlet that Reaper runs as he clears himself a demon-strewn path:

Why does this part of the movie hold up so well when the rest of it, in hindsight, admittedly feels hit-or-miss? For starters, it’s the one time in the often-disorienting film when you can be damn sure of where you are, because Reaper’s on-rails FPS action keeps you always progressing along. The scene’s chock full of clever game-like kills, too, including improvised destruction (like that gnarly fire extinguisher shot) as Reaper cleaves through a chorus of baddies that features Doom gaming callbacks like those cannon-fodder humanoid Imps and the two-wheeled mutated remains of Pinky (Dexter Fletcher).

We also like how, even in the thick of his supercharged shooting spree, Reaper (can we just call him Doomguy already?) manages to keep his wits about him. How else could you explain how he stays his itchy trigger finger — in the heat of the action, no less — by mercifully sparing an innocent rat? It’s just the kind of clear-mindedness that proves an antidote to The Rock’s mounting corruption, as Sarge sprouts newfound powers to match Reaper’s new C24 serum abilities…and, let’s face it, it’s probably what keeps Reaper standing, in the end, to help rescue his sister Sam (Pike).

As for the weapons themselves (including the chainsaw, when Reaper finally commandeers it), the game-to-screen crossover vibes are tight: The business end of whatever Reaper’s wielding hovers right in front of him for just about every moment of his extended corridor crawl. For anyone who's familiar with the games, that POV framing totally taps into Doom's shoot-what-you-see reflexes, and elevates the scene by giving the movie a much-needed dose of FPS immersion.

It’s all building up, of course, to Reaper’s epic standoff with Sarge, a killer clash of acting titans that puts The Boys’ Billy Butcher face-to-face With Black Adam — and right in the dawning days of their sci-fi careers. Who could’ve known at the time that we’d one day be watching these guys launch toward killer gigs like Star Trek, Thor: Ragnarok, Dredd, and The Boys (Urban) or the Fast Saga, Jumanji, Jungle Cruise, and Shazam!? (The Rock)?

On second thought, we probably should’ve seen it coming — even all the way from the Red Planet. Both these dudes were blasting the big screen like heavy sci-fi hitters even in their Doom days, and lucky for us, there’s plenty more where that came from. Check out Doom streaming at Peacock now, and stick around on the bird app to also catch Urban opposite Vin Diesel (as Necromonger badass Vaako) in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Riddick (2013).