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Special effects-laden sci-fi action thriller starring Will Smith, set in a near-future in which robots have become a vital component of human beings' everyday lives. Although the technology of the robots has become more and more advanced, they are all pre-programmed to always obey humans and under no circumstances to harm them. So when robot scientist Dr Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) is murdered and a humanoid robot is implicated, the authorities are extremely worried: if the robots can overcome the basic moral principle of their existence, what's to stop them taking over the world? Robot-hating Chicago Police Detective John Spooner (Smith) is assigned to investigate this alarming case...
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Actually, it's still not at all bad. First, let me dispose of the two reasons why I'm not giving this 5*. Number one, Will Smith: it's not that I don't like him, but here he is playing the running, jumping, wise-cracking cop that he played in Men In Black. It's Agent J all over again, the only real difference being that he's in an SF drama instead of an SF comedy. He does it just fine, but there's still an element of "seen it all before" about the performance. Reason number 2 is that Hollywood once again lets SFX get in the way of the story. The main example is the ending. Someone went "Ooo! We can do this really cool climactic fight scene!!" The trouble is, for me, it jars against what was happening with the same participants earlier in the film. It spoils nothing if I tell you that the heroes inevitably win, but the truth is, they ought to have been dead in about 10 seconds. It left me going "Oh dear", rather than "Wow!"
Which is a shame, because the story, even if it has little to do with the book, is actually rather good, and well-handled, too. I'm not going to go into details - I wouldn't want to spoil things for you - but it builds nicely. Within the context of the setting, it's wholly plausible, each "reveal" of the next part of the plot, flashbacks included, feels natural, rather than forced or deus ex machina. The supporting cast do their jobs well, the SFX are classy, the score adds to the ambience as a good score should. It's shame the ending got a bit silly, and that Will Smith couldn't be a bit less J, but I liked it. And like it, as opposed to love it, is the official Amazon description of 4*, as opposed to 5.
It's a decent film. It won't be years before I pull it off the shelf again, for sure!
The film has an extremely good story, and despite trying to tell a very good story from the onset of the film, it takes the time to cover the back stories for each character as the film progresses, to not only keep the audience interested but to also give the film a strong mystery feel to it despite it's obvious Sci-fi genre.
The film's story comes together towards the end giving the answers to all the questions that the film starts to raise. ultimately it does give the viewer something to thing about at the end regarding the future...
But one person doubts this. Del Spooner.
He receives a call from the United States Robotics about a recent death of renowned robot scientist Dr. Alfred J. Laning. Spooner immediately blames this incident on robots without justifiable reason or proof.
He begins his investigation on Lanning's death, only to discover Sonny, a "unique" robot.
What Spooner does not realise, is that something is about to happen. Something that is beyond reason.....
Give Will Smith a decent script, something that doesn't include him spouting inane one liners every minute, like some eighties throwback, and he can do no wrong. This movie is one of the first that shows the audience he doesn't need these tropes to entertain.
And he does, in fact, its his most entertaining film he has featured in, and the script and the tight direction and editing help.
If you can forget the fact that its basically a big advertisement for Apple, Converse, and Audi, you have a very intelligent summer blockbuster, which was quite unique in 2004.
The film is convoluted, and features many plot holes, but when you expect Smith to be in his Bad Boys/MIB mode, and get thrown by the fact that his character has a feasible back-story, and is supported by a wonderful cast and narrative, its hard not to be entertained.
The predictable effects and eye popping moments are there, but it only adds to the overall futuristic feel of the movie.
It's not going to win anything for originality, but its refreshing to see something as fun as this once in a while.