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The last man standing

-A A +A
By Quninn McCulloch

My Score: 3.5/5“I Am Legend” is an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel and a remake of the 1971 "The Omega Man" starring Charleton Heston. This is a story about the last man on earth after a manmade virus turns deadly. The setting is Manhattan; parts of it unchanged but other parts in ruins, full of grass and weeds and abandoned vehicles. The only living things seem to be birds, herds of deer and lions hunting their prey, when suddenly the silence of what was once New York is broken by Robert Neville (Will Smith), racing a Shelby Mustang GT 500 through New York with his German shepherd at his side.Following a brief set-up with a TV news interview of a doctor (Emma Thompson) announcing a cure for cancer, the opening of the film is first class with remarkable imagery. The director, Francis Lawrence, is able to give the viewer a sense of curiosity and fear about what else might be lurking in the abandoned city: clearly something dangerous, eluded to when Neville battens down the hatches for the night.The film delves into flashbacks giving glimpses of how three years earlier Manhattan was quarantined due to the outbreak of a devastating man-made virus. A military scientist, Neville is for some reason immune, and remains on the island to fight the virus after seeing his wife and daughter off in a spectacular evacuation scene staged with hordes of frightened New Yorkers trying to escape near the Brooklyn Bridge.Neville spends his days hunting for other survivors and trying to keep his sanity, all the while working on a cure for the infected, still surviving inhabitants. These are humans who, due to infection, have turned into a cross between zombie-like creatures and vampires who venture out only at night. Only when he captures one is he able to continue his research into finding a cure.Unfortunately, when the film enters zombie territory, it often resorts to predictable plot lines that we have seen in similar movies. These creatures take on a super-human nature with super speed, super strength, and super agility, making them unbelievable and detracting from the story. While the CGI creatures are top notch, one is constantly reminded that they are CGI by their inhuman actions. This remake is an eerie film that begins well, but sometimes relies too much on cheap horror-film shock effects.Smith is remarkable in how he holds the audience’s attention in this nearly one-man show. The best part of this film is his strong performance as he displays glimpses of the madness that is inevitable after being alone and fighting against an unrelenting threat. His greatest scene, and perhaps the best of the movie, consists of an agonized Neville as he deals with yet another loss after having seemingly already lost everything important in his life.This film is definitely one to be seen in the theaters, and although I think it could have been improved, I enjoyed this exciting film.