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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.72%
Worth A Look: 23.31%
Average: 20.25%
Pretty Bad: 9.82%
Total Crap31.9%

6 reviews, 127 user ratings

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I Am Legend
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by EricDSnider

"We need more movies about cannibal zombie vampires."
4 stars

The most startling thing about "I Am Legend" is how quiet it is. That's logical, since it's about a man who for most of the film is the only human being in New York; but given Hollywood's propensity for loudness at all costs -- and especially given director Francis Lawrence's pedigree of music videos and the chaotic "Constantine" -- it's a pleasant, eerie surprise to be overwhelmed by all that silence.

Based on Richard Matheson's novel (previously filmed as "The Last Man on Earth" and "The Omega Man"), the movie is set in 2012, when a virus has killed the vast majority of the world's population. Of the few million people left alive, most have turned into cannibalistic zombie vampire-y things, preying on whatever animals or people they can find.

Then there's Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith), a military scientist. He and a tiny percentage of other people were strangely immune to the virus. He was tasked with helping prevent the outbreak; that having failed, he now works feverishly to devise a vaccine. The cannibal zombie vampires are still human beings and can theoretically be made well again.

Accompanied by his trusty German shepherd Sam, Robert hunts the deer that now live in Manhattan (but look out for lions!) and makes daily trips to the video store. He has gasoline and water and electricity at his heavily barricaded home/laboratory. He always makes sure to be home well before dark, to prevent any of the infected from following him and discovering where he lives.

Will Smith has the same kind of everyman likability that has made Tom Hanks the world's biggest movie star, and he has the same obligation here that Hanks had in "Cast Away": to keep the audience's interest despite being alone on the screen. Smith manages that exceedingly well, with one particular sequence of events reinforcing his loneliness and grief so vividly that it actually brought tears to my eyes. He is a fine actor, let us not forget, in addition to being a butt-kicking action hero.

He gets to flex both sets of muscles in "I Am Legend," as Robert inevitably encounters nests of infected folks and must kill, evade, or capture them. Lawrence creates spooky tension with all that silence, piling on more creepiness as we realize the zombies are starting to get smarter.

That brings me to one of the problems I have with the screenplay, which was adapted (not very faithfully) by Mark Protosevich ("Poseidon") and Akiva Goldsman ("Batman & Robin," "Practical Magic," "I, Robot," several other bad movies) from Matheson's novel. Robert is obsessed with curing the monsters, suggesting he realizes they are not beyond hope. Yet he also insists they have no shred of humanity left, despite several very obvious signs that they do. If he's so pessimistic about them that he's willfully ignoring evidence of their humanity, then why is he also determined to cure them? Those two mindsets are at odds with each other.

Robert is a tragic, bleak figure. You might wonder why a movie like this is coming out in December instead of during the summer blockbuster season; you won't wonder after you see it. In flashbacks, we see him hustling his wife (Salli Richardson) and daughter (Willow Smith) out of New York just before a quarantine is imposed. "I can still fix this," he says, even though things are already bad enough that such a declaration is ludicrous. He says it again later in the film. By that time, it's downright pathetic. You feel for the guy.

The decision to create the zombies with computers instead of good old-fashioned actors in makeup does not pay off; they never look any better than video game characters. That and some sogginess in the film's last act (when he plays the Bob Marley CD for someone -- oy vey) prevent me from loving it. Nonetheless, the silence, the suspense, and Smith's accessible performance draw you in for some post-apocalyptic fun. The end of the world is almost always a hoot.

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originally posted: 12/14/07 12:32:55
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User Comments

7/13/14 Jack My god, what a terrible movie. 1 stars
3/11/14 John Just awful. 1 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC One of the better zombie/apocalyptic movies. Adding people at end lessened its originality 4 stars
10/12/10 Lars This is the Tub he sleeps in - 4 stars
4/17/10 matt honestly, it just didn't work on any level. 2 stars
3/23/10 Blake I don't know why alot of people hate this movie. It's one of the greatest I've ever seen! 5 stars
7/25/09 Jack Mangled story. Horrible "acting". Laughable CGI. 1 stars
6/27/09 CTT Tour de force from Smith; underrated and misunderstood 5 stars
6/05/09 JR I couldn't have hated it more... 1 stars
5/18/09 R Lan Perfect rating for this film. It's average. Shouldn't go out of your way to see or avoid. 3 stars
4/26/09 Tom One of the greatest movies NEVER made. I AM SUCKER for paying to see this CRAP. 1 stars
4/13/09 Heston An effective and involving lone-man against the zombies flick, despite some dumb moments 4 stars
3/16/09 Yo MTV Raps Mastabatory greatness 5 stars
1/19/09 Jonathan It took how many years to get this film off the ground? …Cinematic GARBAGE. 1 stars
1/11/09 Anonymous. this movie isn't near as bad as alot of people are making it sound. actually, it's good. :] 4 stars
12/18/08 Simon It's solid, like 3.49/5. Despite flaws of script and lamely-put message, it's discussable. 3 stars
12/15/08 Jack A travesty. It's I AM LEGEND Mr. Smith, not I Have a Dream. Jerk. 1 stars
11/15/08 Annie G Won’t stand up to any scrutiny, but a fun one-time action apocalypse film. 3 stars
10/18/08 Ron Where are John Carpenter and Kurt Russell when you need them? 1 stars
9/06/08 Rada Sarbu Saw it on DVD at night, alone; a bit terrifying. I really liked it, but not the 2 endings. 4 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Will Smith is a Great Actor!! 5 stars
6/28/08 pin Smith was fantastic, CGI was iffy (so?), the budget dictated the ending, deal with it. 4 stars
6/26/08 DK Great Smith performance and some solid direction- but script shits on the book 3 stars
6/16/08 Wolfrider Annoyingly SLOW and depressing - bad CGI and violence against animals 1 stars
6/12/08 Jayson Amazing. Loved every minute. Will Smith is the man. 5 stars
6/07/08 Joe getting tired of all the Hollywood computer generation, it sucks! 2 stars
5/26/08 David Pollastrini Theatrical version was great. The alternate ending was stupid. 5 stars
5/22/08 Dana Ending was a bit off but most of the movie was very good 4 stars
5/11/08 Dan Flawed, but worth watching. Good atmosphere. I'd give 3.5 stars if I could 4 stars
5/10/08 Siggie I really wanted to love this movie. I loved the Richard Matheson story & the other 2 movies 3 stars
5/06/08 madglo83 Rented the movie - I'm glad it only cost me a dollar. 1 stars
5/05/08 steve great all around experience 5 stars
4/26/08 Pete Chesworth Watchable but full of gaping plot holes like what do the zombies live on if all the humans 3 stars
4/21/08 Jack What a Horrible movie. The Title, the CENTRAL theme in the novel, is not even explained!!! 1 stars
4/13/08 Mike Acrobatic CGI created zombies take away the realistic image from the movie 4 stars
4/12/08 Katie not what I expected, but not bad. 3 stars
4/07/08 jesabel Ok film, the ending sucked. What happened to his wife, humanity-what happened at the end? 2 stars
4/06/08 thismoviesuckeddogshit Terrible... everything. Too many plot holes, terrible ending, i can go on and on and on.... 1 stars
4/05/08 stephanie willis just ok 3 stars
3/24/08 wnm Will Smith did ok in a movie that had obvious problems with story and cartoon-like zombies 3 stars
3/24/08 vince Last man on earth was better. I wish Arnold had starred in this one, and a better director 3 stars
3/19/08 action movie fan great production but litte thrills and not much action-story poorly developed-a disappointm 3 stars
3/07/08 not2well tons of plot holes, stone cold acting, and an idealistic ending..not what i was looking for 1 stars
3/06/08 damn only reason this piece of shit made any money was cause everyone thought it was gonna be ok 1 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I was disappointed because I loved the book and this took a weird turn. 2 stars
2/29/08 damalc exciting for a while, but ultimately forgettable; smith doesn't have the chops for this 3 stars
2/18/08 sophrosune It wasted 1:30 of my life, that I can never get back. 1 stars
2/11/08 John Geddie hype far exceeded the film 3 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic You're left gawping at a $100 million worth of eye popping futuristic B movie 1 stars
1/24/08 John Campbell This reviewer was spot on about everything. 1 stars
1/20/08 orpy sucked big time! 1 stars
1/16/08 Dani Very disappointing. Will Smith was never in a bad movie before this one. 2 stars
1/14/08 Abhishek Chakraborty It's not as bad as the other users have said. I wasn't blown away with the ending, though 4 stars
1/07/08 I-K Serious sci-fi with real emotional punch ruined by rushed story and simplistic ending. 3 stars
1/05/08 Jack Where are J.Cameron & Arnold S. when you need them? 1 stars
1/02/08 Russo I am Legend was a GREAT movie ! All you low life nerds who think other wise are just idiots 5 stars
12/29/07 davebee If you read and liked the book, then DON'T SEE THIS will be disappointed 2 stars
12/27/07 John If I want a lecture about racism then I will see the Great Debaters, not I am Legend. Geez. 1 stars
12/27/07 Andy & Taze Read the book then curse Hollywood and Will for their cynical profit making 1 stars
12/26/07 Joel Elfrank The worst movie I have seen this year 1 stars
12/22/07 Doug Not bad, but the redemption of God at the end was lame. 3 stars
12/22/07 ravenmad I totally agree, I was so unhappy with everything! Ten minutes in, I didn't like it. 2 stars
12/22/07 Buttley Not a great movie. 3 stars
12/22/07 mr.mike as a self-styled critic , 4 stars , as a moviegoer, 3 4 stars
12/22/07 WeeToddDidd Nothing special, it's all been done before 3 stars
12/21/07 ScubaSteve Wow, this review blows. Take it for what it is and quit being a picky know-it-all. 5 stars
12/21/07 Jesoul Yup, this review is spot on! Smith- great but way too many loose ends! ending was so lame! 3 stars
12/21/07 Richard The review was on the money. Will Smith: Great. CGI Sucked. Plot and movie: Too short. 3 stars
12/20/07 Darren Good but the monsters looked silly. I hear the book was better. Smith was great 4 stars
12/20/07 Michael entertaining go see 28 days later a better movie 4 stars
12/20/07 Chip Not great, but I didn't think it sucked. Just some mindless entertainment for Friday night 4 stars
12/20/07 Dirk Apart from the obvious flaws, this movie is still very entertaining. 4 stars
12/20/07 ab childish review 4 stars
12/20/07 Dave Had potential but to many plot holes and the talking to mannequiens just cheesy 3 stars
12/19/07 SG Spot on. Most accurate review I've seen yet. 1 stars
12/19/07 J_movie The movie is a suspense movie, not an esoteric artistic expression, GOY Snobs! 4 stars
12/19/07 obnoman Worst hack job on a classic EVER! 1 stars
12/19/07 C.R. Beautiful beyond measure. 'Legend' speaks to our inadequacy and potential as human beings. 5 stars
12/18/07 Scott "F". I'm done with Will Smith. He sucks. Always has. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ian Thank God I'm Not Alone. This Movie Was SO AWFUL! 1 stars
12/18/07 digitalb CGI was horrible! Even the lions looked fake, big league budget little league fx!! 2 stars
12/18/07 Anna Absolutely TERRIBLE movie... I would love to have my money, and my time, back. 1 stars
12/18/07 Seth This review sums up the reason why many people don't like this movie. It's not believable. 2 stars
12/18/07 ryan you must have seen a different movie than i did. i thought it was moving and powerful 4 stars
12/18/07 Zild Stop expecting it to be a Picasso and you might actually enjoy. If not, then no one cares. 5 stars
12/18/07 Barbara This was a great movie. I will definitely purchase it for my collection. 5 stars
12/18/07 Lucifer Satan book amazing, this blew, cgi sucks 1 stars
12/18/07 Coyoteman Hundreds and hundreds of Smeagols. Pathetic movie. 2 stars
12/18/07 Frank Should have waited for the rental. Not worth the gas or popcorn much less the admission. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ricky Wow, worst written review ever! Dude, take a community college english class ASAP! 1 stars
12/18/07 Quigley One of the year's best films. Incredibly suspensful and eerie. Excellent Will Smith 5 stars
12/18/07 Roberto Horrible... Ending was even worse.. 1 stars
12/18/07 Martin what are you guys fooking brain dead-this was the worst movie of the year. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ole Man Bourbon Nothing to it other than absurdity 2 stars
12/18/07 Claire Another failed effort to do justice to an amazing book. 'I am garbage' is a better title 1 stars
12/17/07 toomanymovies Very disappointing. I love Smith, but this movie was bad. Too many plot holes. 2 stars
12/17/07 Obi Wan Will Smith staples to his name to the Top Tier of American actors! 4 stars
12/17/07 J-tron Dude you need to really chill out. you're over analyzing it, 1 stars
12/17/07 Kevin This review is horseshit! This move is a great movie.See the movie. 5 stars
12/17/07 P I don't understand all the negative criticism. This movie, Smith's acting was AMAZING! 5 stars
12/17/07 Chrissie I think you're way off the mark on this one. 4 stars
12/17/07 rybo dogshit 1 stars
12/17/07 Panda It was brilliant. Anyone who says differently needs to be shot, or infected. 4 stars
12/17/07 Tom Servo Most expensive adaptation out of the three manages to be the worst. Go read the book. 1 stars
12/16/07 Mark 1. You can't write 2. Go play a video game, it'll assuage your ADD 4 stars
12/16/07 link what a good movie 5 stars
12/16/07 Captain Highcrime Talk about fantasy: that's the fastest anyone's been able to drive in NYC in fuck, 50 years 3 stars
12/16/07 HistoryBuff Afrocentric swill. 1 stars
12/16/07 VonDouchebag Modern storytelling at it's lowest, throwing more money and CGI at it just makes it worse. 1 stars
12/16/07 TheJet Were we watching the same movie? Smith wit another unforgettable pefromance 5 stars
12/16/07 Jaime I just saw this movie and Wil Smith was IMPRESSIVE 5 stars
12/16/07 Ray Ford moving movie, my faith in Smith as a serious actor is now restored 5 stars
12/16/07 pswfe Disappointed 4 stars
12/16/07 TESS Awesome. I loved it,although mu husband wanted more action. 5 stars
12/16/07 Jake The second half of the movie was just bad, but the first half more then made up for it. 4 stars
12/16/07 DogofWar This was a great movie. A great psycological horror thriller, no matter what anyone says. 5 stars
12/15/07 Curt Enjoyable, interesting, decent story but not Matheson's. I was expecting gore and action. 4 stars
12/15/07 Justin I hated this movie. Relentlessly punishing - 2 stars for Smith's effort 2 stars
12/15/07 Pollenfax Very dissappointed in the movie. Oh well. 2 stars
12/15/07 Od Green Smith, ok. Movie, missed it's mark. More hunting, real vamps would have been better. 2 stars
12/15/07 Kevin Just saw the movie, and it was pretty damn good. I sincerely apologize, but your wrong. 5 stars
12/15/07 Dan Erik I don't know what movie you saw but to call Will Smith a bad actor after see that... 5 stars
12/15/07 Will Man, I need to become a film critic. Hate on this movie then give The, Mist 5 stars.... 4 stars
12/15/07 Naurto Will there EVER be a decent adaptation of the book?!?!?!?!?! 1 stars
12/14/07 David Well, Smith's pissed on Asimov and now Matheson. Can't wait to see who he'll trash next. 1 stars
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  14-Dec-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Mar-2008



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