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I AM LEGEND (PG-13) (2007)

Warner Bros

Official Site

Director: Francis Lawrence

Producers: Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, David Heyman, Neal Moritz

Written by: Akiva Goldsman, Mark Protosevich

Cast: Will Smith and the Zombies


I Am Legend is yet another screen adaptation of the novella of the same name by Richard Matheson. Just like I, Robot, the last Will Smith vehicle based on a famous science fiction book, I Am Legend has only the loosest connection to the source material.

The movie starts off promisingly with scenes of Robert Neville (Smith) cruising empty New York City streets with his only companion, Sam, the German Shepherd. For most of the movie it is all Will Smith all the time and that is not really a bad thing. He makes us laugh, he makes us cry, he looks good without his shirt on. This one man expresses the entire gamut of human emotions throughout the course of the movie. He desperately clings to his sanity as the horror of being the last man on Earth sinks in. Like Castaway, another movie about isolation, he takes to talking to inanimate objects in an unsuccessful attempt to fill the void.

Before any of this character study gets too slow for the presumed attention deficit disorder of the audience, a bunch of CGI zombies attack and the movie ceases to be compelling at all and succumbs to genre conventions. B-O-R-I-N-G! The scary zombie is screaming at the camera now in a move straight out of the multitude of zombie flicks saturating the market these days. If I sound bitter it is because I am. I Am Legend could at the very least have been a study in human nature along the lines of Night Of The Living Dead, featuring the superlative talents of Will Smith. At first it seemed the movie was going focus more on the suspense—the things that go bump in the night route—but in the end Will Smith turns out to be a superhuman fighting machine/brilliant scientist/loving husband and outstanding human being who punches out a bunch of CGI zombies just like he manhandled those aliens back in Independence Day. The less said about the mess of a third act the better.

I Am Legend is awash in wrong turns and lost opportunities. It has a few redeeming moments, mostly involving Will Smith or the totally foreign landscape of a barren New York City populated by herds of deer. The rest is an infinitely forgettable wasteland.

—Woodrow Bogucki

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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