I Am Legend (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner24/12/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Enjoyable, impressively designed thriller with a strong performance by Will Smith, though it's let down by a disappointing ending and some dodgy effects work.

What's it all about?
Set in 2012 and based on the novella by Richard Matheson, I Am Legend stars Will Smith as Robert Neville, the only survivor of a man-made virus that has turned everyone into vampire-like zombies. By day, Neville prowls a deserted New York City with his faithful dog, Sam, while by night he holes himself up in his fortified Washington Square house and attempts to find a cure for the virus using his own immune blood.

However, things are beginning to change: firstly, the leader of The Infected (Dash Mihok) begins to exhibit signs of intelligence and manages to recreate one of Neville's own traps. And secondly, just as he's on the verge of giving it all up, Neville encounters two survivors who might hold the key to humanity's future (Alice Braga and Charlie Tahan).

The Good
Smith is superb as Neville, delivering a performance that is surprisingly moving, particularly when he's on the verge of cracking up. There's also strong support from Abbey, the German Shepherd playing Sam.

The effects are something of a mixed bag. The shots of a deserted New York are beautifully designed, well thought-out and packed with fascinating details (e.g. a brilliant Times Square billboard advertising a Batman vs Superman movie), but the CGI work on the vampire-zombie-whatever is extremely poor, as they all look too smooth and stretchy to convince as something a human might have mutated into.

The Bad
This is the third time that Matheson's novella has been adapted for the big screen (after The Last Man On Earth and The Omega Man) and they still haven't got it quite right. In particular, fans of the book will be mortally offended by the (reputedly reshot) ending, which is distinctly disappointing.

Worth seeing?
This is never less than watchable and worth seeing for Smith's performance but it's not as good as it could have been.

Film Trailer

I Am Legend (15)
I Am Legend has been reviewed by 3 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 21/10/2017 07:47

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.