Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
I Am Legend
The story of The Last Man on Earth has been told a number of times, but no version has been as explosive as this one.
Three years after a cancer vaccine turned people into mutants or "Darkseekers" that only come out after dark and are A) dam difficult to take down and B) infecting anyone they bit, U.S. Army Virologist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith), who is immune to the condition, and his alsatian Sam (Abbey & Kona) live in the deserted New York and Neville is presumably the last untainted person on the planet. Neville tries to keep life as normal as possible by "renting" DVDs from the store, and keeping his car running, and he is devoting all his time to trying to discover a cure, as well as doing a daily radio broadcast in the hope that there may be the odd survivor out there.
The film is full of action, with Neville's fights with the "Darkseekers" being explosive, full of gunfire and full of tenseness that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The New York setting is very atmospheric, with eerily quiet streets full of never moving cars and ancient posters for Broadway shows, creating a real "you're all alone" atmosphere. Smith gives a very good performance as Neville, making him a driven and determined character, and makes the scene where Neville has to put down Sam, as she's been infected, a really heart-breaking, even tear-inducing moment, through his facial expressions and the emotion he puts in the character. Smith's daughter Willow (age six at the time of filming) also gives a very heart-felt performance as Neville's daughter Marley in flashbacks, making the child a really loving and innocent one, and inquisitive as to why they have to leave New York, and very rarely has an on-screen father-daughter bond felt so touching.
The film does, however, have some major drawbacks. The long gaps between the fights with the "Darkseekers" does make a number of the scenes feel very dragged out, thanks to a flawed screenplay, and not even the legendary Will Smith can save/salvage these scenes. It is very unbelievable that Neville can drive through New York at high speeds, considering the fact that there are a good couple of million abandoned vehicles clutter the roads, as is the fact that so many animals run wild through the streets, when you take into account the fact that there's thousands of cannibalistic "Darkseekers" that run wild in the streets and have done for three years. The bigggest drawback, however, is Neville's self-sacrifice at the end to save an Irish girl (Alice Braga) and her little boy Ethan (Charlie Tahan) - two more survivors he found. Although the message is that by dying you can save others, it just feels too fake as Neville's spent the whole film researching and killing to protect himself since the beginning, only to blow himself up. A narrative that builds to an explosive finale, and then flops to nothing.
All in all, however, this film is worth watching, thanks to some powerful performances and grippingly explosive action sequences. You will enjoy it, but it's best you prepare yourself for a disappointing conclusion.
Stars: Will Smith, Abbey, Kona, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson, Willow Smith, Dash Mihok, Mike Patton, Emma Thompson.
MTV Movie Award: Best Male Performance (Will Smith).
MTV Movie Award nomination: Best Movie.