I Am Legend  Review: I Am Disappointed!
Starting on a promising note, losing its way in the middle, and collapsing entirely in the final act, I Am Legend is at its finest when it finds Will Smith steering through the windswept emptiness of the post-apocalyptic New York City but several shortcomings in the script and extremely shoddy work in the CGI department only end up nullifying the terror & sense of foreboding it had built-up within the first act. Neither chilling nor thrilling, this post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror had potential but not the required talent at helm to effectively translate it from script to screen.
Featuring a premise full of potential & promise, I Am Legend opens on an intriguing note and offers an unnerving portrait of a post-apocalyptic future brought upon by a man-made plague but despite a strong start, the film loses its way in the middle before collapsing almost entirely in the final act to finish as a forgettable thriller.
Set three years after a global pandemic event caused by a man-made virus nearly wipes out entire human civilization and turns the majority of the remaining survivors into raging, hostile & nocturnal mutants, I Am Legend follows the last human survivor in New York City who is immune to the virus and covers his desperate attempts to develop a cure.
Directed by Francis Lawrence in what’s his sophomore feature after Constantine, I Am Legend reeks with mystery & foreboding in the first act and is quite effective in its build-up but once the cat is out of the bag, it is unable to sustain the same level of fear for the remainder of its runtime. Add to that, the script is as empty as the world its plot is set in.
While there are attempts to capture the protagonist’s solitude, loneliness & growing insanity in a world without human civilization, it isn’t convincing enough to make the desired mark. Silence can be an effective tool but it isn’t properly utilized here apart from the early segments. And whatever few dialogues that do exist in the final print are mostly lame & unnecessary.
The biggest letdown comes from the team in charge of rendering the CGI creatures. Employing the less-is-more approach could’ve worked wonders here, and opting for prosthetics over CGI would’ve been a better choice too. What we have here instead are creatures so shoddily depicted that it completely strips away the threat that they are supposed to be, making them look laughable.
Will Smith holds his ground and does well with what he is given but he still gets outshined by a dog he shares the screen with. And further ruining the story is the ham-fisted divine intervention element in the third act. I Am Legend is at its strongest when it is steering through the windswept emptiness of the world outside. Other than that, even the action-packed moments don’t pack a punch.
On an overall scale, I Am Legend is an intermittently captivating & mildly entertaining example of its genre that does pack a compelling storyline but is unable to fill it with the right amount of details or events to make us care. The infected aren’t even remotely frightening, the action isn’t half as thrilling as expected, and the film as a whole remains an unstimulating ride despite flashes of brilliance in the beginning. A mediocre attempt at best, I Am Legend is a disappointing mess.