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I Am Legend

USA 2007
produced by
Akiva Goldsman, David Heyman, James Lassiter, Neal H. Moritz, Bruce Berman (executive), Dana Goldberg (executive), Erwin Stoff (executive), Michael Tadross (executive) for Weed Road Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, Heyday Films, Original Film, Village Roadshow/Warner Brothers
directed by Francis Lawrence
starring Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Willow Smith, Darrell Foster, April Grace, Dash Mihok, Joanna Numata, Samuel Glen, Emma Thompson
screenplay by Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman, based on the screenplay The Omega Man by John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington, based on the novel by Richard Matheson, music by James Newton Howard

I Am Legend

review by
Mike Haberfelner


Scientists have developed a new vaccine to cure all cancer - which it did, but it also killed most of humankind, and turned most it didn't kill into vampire like creatures. All but Robert Neville (Will Smith) it seems, a super-scientist with his own state of the art lab in his basement, where he's busy developing a cure for vampirism. And when he doesn't do that, he roams Manhattan, talking to shopwindow mannequins and looking for DVDs to watch, food to eat, his trusted dog Sam always by his side. But he always has to be basck to his heavily bolted home well before sunset, as that's when the vampires come out.

Eventually, Neville thinks he has found a cure ... and this is where it gets complicated, as now Neville needs a test subject, in other words, a vampire. So he goes to find a vampire hive, sets up a booby trap ... and ends up with a female vampire (Joanna Nimata), nicely wrapped up. Unfortunately, this also brings him to the attention of the vampire leader (Dash Mihok), who's not very fond of one of his tribe being nicked - but as long as Neville doesn't come out at night and the vampires don't know where he lives, Neville is rather safe. Unfortunately, the tests on the female vampire don't bring the desired results though ...

One day, while roaming the city again, Neville walks into a booby trap just like the one he has set up for the vampire woman, and even if he can free himself before the vampires manage to make an attack, Sam, trying to defend him from a pack of vampire dogs, finds her death doing so. The next night, in a desparate attempt to avenge Sam, Neville takes a spin in his car, luring out the vampire and trying to kill as many as possible - but the sheer numbers of the vampires are too much for just one man, and he's quickly overpowered - when saved by a woman, Anna (Alice Braga), and her son Ethan (Charlie Tahan), who were just passing through NYC to a human retreat in the mountains and caught his distress call. With Anna and Ethan, Neville, who has lost his own wife (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) and daughter (Willow Smith) in the early days of the epidemic, finds hope again ... but then the vampires attack and pretty much destroy his house, so that Neville, Anna and Ethan have to retreat to the basement lab - where Neville finds out his anti-vampirism vaccine has worked after all, and he hands the vaccine to Anna and Ethan to bring it to the retreat while he dies a hero's death securing their escape.

 

Now taken by its own merits, I Am Legend is ok, a rather run-of-the-mill Hollywood blockbuster that lacks depth or hindsight but has Will Smith as a flawless hero. And apart from a few confusing action sequences, the whole thing actually looks pretty good, with Smith giving a strong central performance.

What's annoying though is how little trust the film has into its source material, which is pretty much already made crystal clear in the first scene, a car chase, with Smith hunting deer through NYC in a muscle car. The scene really has no narrative value other than adding a bit of unneeded gloss to the story. Also, it's really disappointing that all the subtleties of Richard Matheson's novel, widely regarded as a masterpiece of dystopian literature, have been taken out, as well as its moral implications: In the book, the lead character was an everyman who kills vampires to survive, and is seen as a mass murderer by those he preys on, the vampires, clearly the majorityof the population - thus he has become a legend, in the negative sense of the word. In the film, the lead is a notorious do-gooder, a scientist with an incredibly toned body who hasn't given up on humankind and tries to find a cure at any cost, even his life, while the vampires are presented as featureless monsters, more beast than man, whose deaths hardly register in the film, and yet Neville doesn't go on missions to kill them for his own survival, just to get specimens to experiment on for the good of all. Now granted, I'm a big fan of the book, maybe if I hadn't read it, I would have liked the movie more, it's just baffling how someone can make something this shallow out of something that good ...

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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