I Am Legend

I Am Legend

3.5 Stars

Name two good movies that you never thought would be combined together to form another good movie. How about Cast Away and 28 Days Later? Sounds like a weird amalgamation, right? Well, it is… but thanks to a great story by Richard Matheson and the charismatic action of Will Smith, it works in the new Francis Lawrence flick, I Am Legend.

When a deadly virus wipes out over 90% of the world’s population, sole survivor Robert Neville (Will Smith) lives in the desolate New York trying to find a cure to help the few who survived the virus, but became souless zombies. He lives his life by a strict routine, outside by daybreak, indoors by nightfall, as the zombies have an aversion to UV rays. At mid-day, in accordance with a looped broadcast he sends out over the radio waves, he waits in New York Harbor for any other survivors there may be.

This movie works the same way Cast Away worked. If you’ve got a leading man with enough talent and charisma, he can literally carry a movie. And Will Smith (Independence Day, Ali) has enough charisma and talent to carry two movies. Much of the movie is him interracting with his dog, and the “friends” he’s made up using store mannequins.

I think that Will Smith made this film. There are very few other actors who are fascinating enough to warrant watching just them for two hours. It’s a true credit to his talent that he can carry the film, and I think he did a magnificent job.

Francis Lawrence actually accomplishes what few former music video directors are able to. He’s grown as a film maker since is feature debut with Constantine. And while it’s a step up, there’s still something left to be desired in his sophomore effort. It seemed a bit empty. The special effects were nice to look at, and it’s amazing how they were able to empty out New York City for some of the scenes. But all of Smith’s charisma and wonderous special effects weren’t enough to save it from being an average end of the world disaster flick. It seemed to be in step with 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow instead of 28 Days Later… like it should have been.

It’s definitely warrants a viewing, but for a more insightful look at a post-apocalyptic world, there are better films out there.

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