I Am Legend (2007)
US (dir. Francis Lawrence)
Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Salli Richardson
Synopsis: Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.
Review: Sometimes seeing Will Smith’s name in huge block letters over a movie poster is not the greatest sight in the world. I really did not expect his performance to be stellar, and naturally I was correct. It just doesn’t seem right having him in a serious movie, nevermind in a horror movie. Unfortunately, we have to sit through a good period of time with Will Smith being pretty much the only actor IN the whole damn movie, so he does sort of grow on you after awhile. Fortunately for us, we at least get to enjoy seeing Will Smith’s cute companion dog (Sam) who is probably the cutest dog ever. This dog gets my nomination for best dog in a supporting role. Seriously. He’s that cute.
This movie had a decent beginning, albeit a bit too Hollywoodized for my taste. The rest of the movie is interesting because it retells the zombie virus outbreak (if that’s even what it was) in 5 minute flashbacks which are cut, pasted, and interspliced throughout the movie. What’s unfortunate is that we don’t really get a clear answer as to what caused this zombie outbreak. One clue is the recent discovery of some sort of miracle cancer vaccine that had a 100% chance of preventing cancer. Other than that, we get squat in terms of explaining the zombie virus that has devastated New York City and likely the whole planet.
Essentially the movie entails Will Smith roaming around the city trying to find a family to replace the one he used to have (they were involved in a helicopter explosion that was never really fully shown). I really enjoyed scenes where Smith talked to store mannequins placed around the city. It really helped show some of his emotional and mental breakdown as the movie progressed. There are also, of course, many zombies roaming the city. Luckily they only seem to come out at night. Unluckily though, they are past the whole Dawn-of-the-Dead-remake-zombies-running-really-really-fast phase and are basically on par with cheetahs or Ferraris in terms of running speed. The zombies are also badly CGIed. They are so CGIed they aren’t even zombies really. I’m not even totally sure what they are. They’re pretty much these over-enhanced, veiny, bald humans which like to attack (I guess?) Basically the zombies detract from the movie when they should really be enhancing it (especially considering that it’s a Will Smith movie – I mean it would be pretty hard for zombies to actually detract from a Will Smith movie, but I guess anything is possible). Well anyways, Will Smith is pretty much a scientist who is super dedicated to finding a zombie virus cure, so he zombienaps a girl zombie and uses her to test his antivirus drug. This pisses off her very burly zombie boyfriend who chases Will Smith around for the rest of the movie. Eventually this leads to a zombie/human showdown which ends in two possible ways, depending on whether you watch the DVD or the theatrical version. In the DVD version we have to suffer through the awkwardness of a happy-pappy zombie lovers reunite ending (seriously, I’m not making that up), and in the theatrical version we get to see Will Smith explode himself and take down a hell of a lot of zombies in the process. The bottom line is that in terms of zombie movies, this isn’t the greatest movie to see.