Customer Review

1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 28 Days Later rip off, 31 Mar 2008
This review is from: I Am Legend (2 Disc Special Edition) [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
You can't judge a movie's quality by its box-office take. Then again, you can't judge it by the hype and shameless plugging that precedes it either: It seems that if studios spend enough on advertising, marketing and other sneaky techniques, even the most terrible cinematic rubbish can be foisted onto the public consciousness as a "much-anticipated event." But every so often, the media blitz backfires, the loud advance trumpeting ends in a barely audible squawk, and an overhyped movie simply fizzles and is instantly forgotten.

This 28 Days Later rip-off from the untalented director of 'Constantine' (Keanu Reeves) is littered with plot holes and inconsistencies. Luckily, for the filmmakers at least, Smith's charisma is strong enough that you store these irregularities in the back of your mind. They don't resurface until you are away from the cinema, thinking about the movie or discussing it with others.

The first hour of the film is by far its strongest. It plays like a cross between 28 Days Later and One Man and His Dog. Smith, in a performance of stamina and subtlety that recalls that of Tom Hanks in Cast Away, wanders around an island that has become a wilderness. There's something childlike and silly in the way that he re-populates the city in his imagination, decking out his local video store with mannequins whom he hails and chats to as if they were old buddies and nothing had happened recently. This is when teh movie becomes silly.

And then, perhaps inevitably, the film goes to hell. The Infected become increasingly visible and what a non-fright they are: at best, hairless fast-moving creatures; at worst, like figures from some techno video a decade ago. The increasingly zombified picture also gets more cloyingly theological (a Brazilian woman, played by City of God's Alice Braga, and her child appear as if from nowhere), crashingly literal ("This is ground zero! This is my site!" he yells), and plain icky (riffs on how Bob Marley is a musical virologist whose rhythms and lyrics might heal humanity).

Meanwhile, the film is littered with scenes that make no sense. We see Neville sprinkling liquid outside his house, presumably the concentrated garlic of the book, although we're not told this. Elsewhere he's shown curled up to sleep in his bath (eh?) and then waking up in his bed. You may also wonder why he chose to hole up in a terraced house that Van Helsing couldn't even hope to defend.

What started out so promisingly, a companion piece of sorts to Children of Men, disappears in a frenzy of screaming, head-banging, bloodiness - followed by an unconvincing redemption. I Am Legend is a disappointment, but one that cannot be laid at Smith's feet. He works very hard and gives a strong performance. Unfortunately, those creative minds responsible for making sure he had a coherent and plausible story to work with let him down.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Mar 2008 22:30:44 BDT
This tired rubbish has been repeated over and over again. The producers of 28 days later have already stated that among the influences for their film, lies the influence and the direct book that 'I Am Legend' is based on.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2008 11:23:23 BDT
Are you knocking the fact that this person has dared to mention the likeness to 28 Days Later? So what if the producers have already stated that one of the influences for 28 Days Later was indeed the original Novel that I Am Legend was taken from.

As a film 28 Days Later came earlier (unless you count Heston's The Omega Man) and was a far better execution of the material. I believe this is the point being made.

Posted on 17 Apr 2008 12:26:55 BDT
Stefan says:
I Am Legend was a novel WAY before 28 Days Later was even a twinkle in the writer's imagination. So, it's actually the other way around.
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