I Am Legend (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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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)
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Content updated: 22/09/2018 14:41

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