I Am Legend
Directed: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Will Smith
Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Runtime: 101 min
Studio: Warner Bros
Legends Are not All They Are Cracked Up To Be
By Jamise Liddell
Some folks hate it, others think it is too scary, or too slow, and those who love it, really love I Am Legend. Still a winner at the box office grossing 195 million by the last week of December 2007, the thriller I Am Legend is based on a novel by author Richard Matheson and has seen its share of remakes: The Last Man On Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston. In this latest version, mega movie action hero Will Smith is scientist Robert Neville , the last man in New York, and the eventual savior of the human race.
The premise is that it is the year 2012 and most of New York has been wiped out from a virus which was at first thought to cure cancer, but then something went terribly wrong and those treated with “the cure” begin to display symptoms which are similar those of a rabid animal. The ghoulish looking, ex-humans lose all of their hair and skin and look similar to the vampires from the film 30 Days of Night, pasty white, bald, and in great need of a pigment, a sandwich, and a hug. The rabid people cannot stand the sunlight and only roam at night killing, eating and wreaking havoc on the immune. Neville vowed to stay in New York until he finds a cure for the infected.
Smith’s performance is strong, as he spends a majority of the film talking to himself, or his German shepherd, Sam. Photos and flashback scenes fill us in on what life was once like for Neville, his family and the citizens of New York. Now, Neville hunts for deer in the desolate streets of New York, proves that a dog really is man’s best friend, and hits on a well dressed mannequin all in an effort to keep his sanity.
But contrived danger, and plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, just get bigger when suddenly, the rabid people show some signs of intelligence and cunning while attempting to trap Neville. And a beautiful woman and her son appear out of nowhere to literally save Neville’s life and help wrap the story up in a nice neat package.
In all, I Am Legend is both magnificent and a disappointment. The performance by Will Smith was absolutely Oscar worthy, the film set of a completely uninhabited New York truly awesome, striking and creepy. However, the absurd plot twists really counteract all of the great acting that Smith contributes.
And when the script began to crumble about three quarters through the film, it was then that I renamed the movie I Am Bored.
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