Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Am Legend DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Will Smith Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Adventure Arriving on DVD

Written by Richard Matheson in 1954, I Am Legend is a harrowing tale of survival pitting the last human alive against a horde of bloodthirsty vampires. This fourth screen version is a modernistic variation which establishes its apocalyptic scenario via a man-made virus run-a-muck. The picture is a Will Smith vehicle in the purest sense, given that he spends more than half of the movie on screen alone.
The movie opens in 2009, with Dr. Alice Crippen (Emma Thompson) announcing the discovery of a cure for cancer, unaware that her vaccine also causes rabies. Fast-forward three years, and we find New York City in complete chaos. The healthy few are being evacuated, while the infected are being left behind to morph into ghouls. Although virologist Robert Neville (Smith) has been given a clean bill of health, he gallantly opts to stay in the city to work on an antidote in the lab in the basement of his brownstone.
So, after he tearfully bids adieu to his wife (Salli Richardson) and daughter (Willow Smith), he divides his time between research and blowing away the occasional nocturnal creature he encounters after dark. Not surprisingly, Will Smith comes across as quite the macho charmer in his familiar role as the hero having to save the planet.
I Am Legend is actually at its best early on, while Will is solo and captured starkly against the breathtaking backdrop of the vast, urban wasteland. Unfortunately, the second-rate special effects leave a lot to be desired, so the arrival of the cheesy mansters he has to wrestle with fails to measure up to the tension built in anticipation.
Nonetheless, it’s got a great performance by Smith and just enough edge-of-your-seat entertainment to remain recommended, even if the cinematic house of cards collapses during the third act.

Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and mature themes.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
2-Disc DVD Extras: Alternate version of the film, four animated comics and DVD-ROM weblink to bonus material.

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