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I Am Legend

The 2007 Francis Lawrence-directed film based on the novel of the same name and starring Will Smith.

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If you can forgive the pat ending, then this is one film worth watching.

  • Dec 17, 2007
  • by
Pros: Will SMith and a Good Premise.

Cons: Ending is not up to par.

The Bottom Line: What could have been a great film is ruined by a pat ending, yet still has plenty to offer.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a man with a very unique and very dangerous situation. Once hailed as a savior to the human race, Dr. Neville now finds himself wandering the streets of New York, alone, save for the company of his trusted dog Sam.

In the new film “I Am Legend”, Will Smith finds himself in a world gone mad when a cure for cancer has mutated horribly and reducing infected populations to dangerous mutants who roam dark places destroying all they encounter.

With the back-story of the film told largely through flashbacks, it is learned that Dr. Neville was close to finding the cure for the outbreak, but when the virus became airborne, New York City was to be quarantined via Presidential order.

Unwilling to leave the city, as he is convinced a cure is to be found there, Dr. Neville, stays behind, and three years later is the sole survivor in a city that has become an overgrown and desolate wasteland.

Robert has become a creature of habit, as he hunts for food and useful items during the day, and in keeping with a broadcasted message, he appears at the docks every day in hopes that someone has heard his message and will be waiting for him.

Robert also amuses himself by renting movies at a nearby store and has positioned and named mannequins throughout the city in order to have some since of companionship and conversation, but it is clear that the years of isolation are starting to take their toll.

When night falls, Robert and Sam take refuge behind the reinforced shutters of their home, as dangerous bands of light sensitive mutants wander the streets at night, forcing him to stay inside until the safety of the morning sun arrives.

Robert gets a sense of hope, when he sees some potential from a new vaccine he has developed. While testing it on a captured mutant does not deliver the desired results, it does show promise that at last progress is being made in finding a way to eliminate the threat of the plague once and for all.

When a series of unexpected and surprising situations arise, Robert is forced to examine his priorities, and prepare for the ultimate confrontation if there is to be a future for humanity.

The film is the third film version of the book of the same name as Vincent Price started in “The Last Man on Earth”, and Charlton Heston gave a memorable turn in the classic “Omega Man”. Smith is solid in the role of a man driven by his desire to complete what he has started no matter the cost, even though he believes that humanity has already perished. He mixes pathos with humor, to create a sympathetic though flawed character that is unlike many of his likeable everyman roles.

At one time years ago, this film was considered as a vehicle for a pre-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it deftly mixes drama, suspense, and action to create a very memorable experience.

My biggest issue with the film was the finale, as up until that point, the film had been pacing itself to be a 2hr plus film, and it seems as if the filmmakers decided to wrap things up quickly, as the pacing of the film rapidly changed gears for what in many ways was a standard pat ending, that does not equal the quality of the first ¾ of the film.

That being said, if you can overlook the very disappointing finale to the film and focus on the solid premise and work of Smith, then you might find this one of the years more enjoyable films.

3.5 stars out of 5


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More I Am Legend reviews
review by . October 25, 2010
Not Quite Legendary But A Good Re-Imagining of The Concept....
I AM LEGEND is a post-apocalyptic disaster film that is another attempt at adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel back in the early `50's. The first adaptation being "The Last Man on Earth" (1964) with Vincent Price and the cheesy but entertaining "Omega Men" (1971) with Charlton Heston. Being a remake, "I am Legend" leaves a lot to be desired with the unpredictability factor. However, with the current evolution in CGI effects, expectations would be …
review by . November 17, 2010
In just a couple of years, cancer will be cured via a mutated version of the measles virus...reprogrammed to destroy cancer. Yet just three years after that, mankind will be all but extinct, as the virus has mutated yet again to where it either kills the person carrying it or turns that person into a type of light-fearing zombie set on eating living flesh of any kind. In Manhattan, the lone "normal" survivor is Dr. Robert Neville, who coincidentally was the military scientist who was madly …
review by . May 13, 2008
I wasn't sure what to expect going into "I Am Legend", but I can say that I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  It's almost like it is two movies -- Act I is "Last Man on Earth", Act II is the "horror" part.  Without going into details, the movie really pulls you in and forces you to imagine how YOU would handle being without any other human contact.  Despite the horror movie label, Will Smith does an excellent job of acting without the support of other actors to interact with.  I …
review by . November 16, 2009
Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI.
   I dig on Will Smith. The dude has more onscreen charisma than a dude with lots of onscreen charisma. Yessir, the guy is a genuine, mega-buck making, sooper star.   He is garnering his earnings, by providing us simple entertainment, where he saves the world.   A lot.   And we lap it up.      But he couldn't save this remake of the 1971, Charlton Heston Classic, The Omega Man.      The story focuses on Dr. …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2010
I couldn't imagine how they'd make a movie of this. Really loved the book. Really didn't think it could be done. But it's good. Changes things, but it works.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
i was so sad about the dog! another movie to prove will smith's acting skills. hes alone in the majority of the scenes and hes still great!
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
Decent movie, didn't follow the book though
review by . July 15, 2009
I Am Legend is a famous book by Richard Matheson.  The book has been adapted a couple of times.  The version starring Will Smith is the most recent.  However, I still have a love of the one starring Vincent Price (although that movie was called "The Last Man on Earth").  The version starring Will Smith is actually the first adaptation to actually use the name of Matheson's book.  Will Smith gives a good performance, although there are some things that can …
review by . December 15, 2009
I love zombies and I love Will Smith. That said, this was still a top of the line zombie movie (which isn't easy!), and Smith was at his best. I cry every time I watch this (when he parts with his family and the dog scene). The special effects are top notch and the story is good, gripping, depressing and hopeful. A must see for everyone! Even those who don't love zombies or Will Smith! But really, how can you not?
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2009
Could have been great. Too bad it feels like you are watching a cut scene from a video game
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


In I AM LEGEND, Will Smith joins the ranks of Vincent Price (in 1964's THE LAST MAN ON EARTH) and Charlton Heston (in 1971's OMEGA MAN) as the star of an adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name. Often surprising in its focus on loneliness and loss, this thoughtful, eerie, and restrained sci-fi horror film provides a parade of startling visuals, but never allows special effects to overcome the human element. Smith, in a strong performance very different from his usual persona, is Robert Neville, the lone survivor in a New York City where streets are overgrown and deer gambol among deserted automobiles. Following an epidemic, the Earth's population has been turned into an army of nocturnal zombies. Immune to the virus, military scientist Neville searches for a cure in his Washington Square townhouse. Haunted by visions of his family leaving quarantined Manhattan two years prior, he drives through the city with his German Shepherd, Sam, by day and barricades his home from the monsters nightly. But when Anna (Alice Braga)--another immune stranger-finds him, they will have to fight the onslaught twice as hard. Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich's emotionally-charged script showcases the charisma of Smith, who commands the screen alone for most of the picture (aside Abbey, a talented German Shepherd). Director Francis Lawrence (CONSTANTINE) uses music minimally, wisely allowing the eerie cityscapes to remain mostly silent. The set pieces, ...
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