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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

I Am Legend

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Judy Thorburn

"I Am Legend" - Falls Short Of Being Legendary

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"I AM LEGEND" - FALLS SHORT OF BEING LEGENDARY

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Just what we need - another zombie movie just in time for the holidays!

In 1996’s Independence Day, Will Smith helped save the world from extraterrestrial monsters that were out to destroy the human race. In Men in Black, he teamed up with Tommy Lee Jones to keep the ET’s secretly living among us in check. Smith must get a kick out of portraying a modern day savior, since once again he is cast as a guy hoping to save mankind from annihilation, but this time he’s not fighting off evil beings from outer space. The perpetrator in “I Am Legend” that sets the ball in motion is one of our own. In an uncredited cameo role Emma Thompson appears in the beginning as a scientist in the near future who finds the cure for cancer, unaware she has opened up Pandora’s Box when the “cure” mutates into an unstoppable deadly virus.

Fast forward three years after the mutated virus has ravaged the human race. Robert Neville (Will Smith) appears to be the last man on earth. Neville is a former military scientist who (in flashback scenes) lost his wife and daughter during the evacuation of New York City. With only his faithful German Shepherd, Sam, by his side he now spends his days searching for supplies and hunting deer (unsuccessfully) that run wild in the streets of the desolate city filled with overgrown weeds, stranded vehicles, and tattered billboards of Broadway shows overlooking Times Square. Neville is also working on finding a cure or vaccine to reverse the effects of the virus, using captured mutants he calls “dark seekers” for guinea pigs, and desperately hopes to come in contact with other survivors with messages he sends out on his radio. But at night when the sun goes down is when all hell breaks loose. That is when Neville barricades himself and Sam inside his three story Washington Square Park townhouse to keep himself safe from the packs of infected mutants who would love to feed on Neville, who is immune to the virus.

I Am Legend is the third film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel. Vincent Price starred in 1964’s The Last Man on Earth and in 1971 Charleston Heston was the Omega Man which many cinephiles consider a cult classic. This new version has little in common with those earlier flicks or for that matter the original source. Screenwriters Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldman might have been inspired by the novel, but they’ve reworked, re-imagined and changed the story in such a way that the result is another zombie movie wrapped within the guise of an apocalyptic tale.

Will Smith goes it alone throughout most of the flick and if it wasn’t for his demanding presence and emotional performance I would have lost interest. Not that the movie doesn’t start off well. Mounting tension leads to a highly suspenseful, nail biting scene that has Neville searching for his dog after she’s run off somewhere in a building which brings him face to face with the creatures.

Other than the city landscape that is seamlessly enhanced by the artistry of CGI wizards, the mutants’ appearance, all CGI creations, are a disappointment. They look and act like they came straight out of the standard video game. Bald headed with veins protruding from translucent skin, they howl a lot, have super strength and possess the ability to bounce off the walls…nothing original to create shivers or what we haven’t seen before.

Eventually a young healthy woman (Alice Braga) and her son (Charlie Tahan) conveniently show up in the nick of time as a plot tie in to the concluding scene. It would be correct to say these two are the means to the end.

On that note, does the end justify the means of sitting through this film? If you are an avid fan of Will Smith who essentially carries the film, he makes it watchable. I also love the smart, beautiful canine sidekick; a scene stealer if there ever was one.

The thing is, like I said at the start, what we have here is another zombie movie, any way you look at it and it doesn’t help that the unconvincing, less than satisfying conclusion is much too abrupt. The film is forgettable regardless of the closing voiceover words that are supposed to give meaning to the title. As I see it, “I Am Legend” falls short of being legendary.