The Scorecard Review by Jeff Bayer
Plot: Based on the 1950s novel, “I Am Legend” tells the story of Robert Neville (Will Smith), the last known survivor of a virus known as KV. Robert is still attempting to find a cure, since the infection has a lasting, horrific effect on its victims.
Who’s it for: Will Smith pretty much guarantees box-office success, especially with action films, but this is more of a slow-paced thriller, with just a few exciting moments.
Expectations: I loved the teaser, with Smith trying to continue life alone, and plus there aren’t many other actors I would rather have in an action flick.
Will Smith as Robert Neville: Smith has clearly put some time in the gym. The best part of his performance is watching the decaying mind of Robert. Robert talks with mannequins as if they were real, desperate for social contact. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough for him to do.
Abbey as Sam: Abbey is the German shepherd, who is Smith’s sidekick in the film. I was absolutely attached to this dog, in a similar manner to Wilson from “Cast Away.” But they should have watched that film a couple more times, because Wilson was given more to do and didn’t disappear so quickly.
Talking: It’s a fairly silent film, with most of the dialogue coming from Robert to himself, his dog or those evil things that lurk in the dark.
Sights and sounds: The city of New York looked great as a deserted land with growing vegetation. But there were more negatives than positives. The flashback scenes just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t connected to the evacuation of New York or Robert’s wife and daughter. And the effects used on the infected humans made them look like something out of a video game instead of a terrifying enemy.
Best Scene: When Robert must enter a dark abandoned building to find Sam, I was on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately that was the only time, in a film that was supposed to be filled with those moments.
Ending: This is a case where the movie didn’t realize what it is doing. Whoever the head vampire is, he clearly was evolving. He’s willing to step outside into the light to attempt to retrieve the female vampire that Robert captured. This shows the female could be his mate. So then, at the end, it is very possible that the head vampire is simply trying to reunite with her. Robert puts an end to that though.
Random Thoughts: Why couldn’t Robert fit into the furnace at the end after throwing the grenade? And why on Earth would you slow Robert down with a leg injury? Tom Cruise, Matt Damon and Will Smith should always be able to run in action/thrillers. It is one of the things they do the best.
Rewatchability: I am almost positive my overall grade would decrease if I sat through this film again. There are not nearly enough fast-paced moments and now there is no suspense on what might happen next.
“I Am Legend” has been made into a film three times now. This version doesn’t prove to be the charm. Will Smith shows some promise trying to find a cure for a horrific virus, but somehow the plot becomes Shrek, Bob Marley and God trying to save the world. It’s an odd leap, and as you can expect, it doesn’t work. With a slow, unfulfilling pace and poor special effects, there isn’t payoff in the end, and this legend will be forgotten.
Overall Grade: 5