Staring Will Smith and…..well that is just about the only one the film stars. So once again, we have a movie that centers on a single actor. I will have to admit that I am getting tired of films that try their hardest to center on one character. “I Am Legend” is one of those films that are acceptable based on it’s casting choice.
Will Smith stars as Robert Neville, a scientist who is now the only man alive on earth, thanks to a man-made virus. This virus was made to cure cancer, but instead turned every human into flesh-eating zombies. With his only friend being his dog, Robert Neville searches for an answer as to how to cure the infected and find some way of regaining a normal lifestyle. To maintain sanity, he sets up mannequins in the local stores that he visits every day in desperate need of something to talk to.
With a promising start, the film ends up loosing it steam near the end. It mostly worked when Smith and his dog were on camera. Meaning that two-thirds of the film actually felt fresh, whereas one-third seemed to be stale. The story felt like your standard survival story. A man who is close to a nervous breakdown, thanks to the absence of the human race and resorts to strange behavior to maintain his sanity. Seeing that many people will disagree with me, I will acknowledge the intensity and frighteningly realistic Manhattan atmosphere.
The direction was a cut above average, but the photography was done with a bland style. The CGI effects were nothing to go crazy over, however the powerhouse performance from the lead actor is what really saved this film from being a complete mess. It also left me wondering if I missed something. The film-makers failed to explain why Robert Neville was immune to the infected. This was a crucial question that was never answered. The film would fall flat on it’s face without the heavy performance by Will Smith and his dog, Sam.
Other than showing Will Smith’s talents as an actor, the film has nothing much more to recommend. So, hats off to Willie, proving that he is capable of carrying a film on his own. “I am Legend” has a striking resemblance to films such as “A Boy and His Dog” and “Dawn of the Dead”, films that also occurred in a post apocalyptic world. An uneven mixture of intensity, humor and tragedy that is recovered by the potent acting.