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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2012
In the Seventies Science Fiction films were in fashion, some have not stood the test of time and now show signs of being dated and are poor (Westworld and Logan's Run) and some are still intelligent and gripping (Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man and Soylent Green) Omega Man ranks as not only one of the most intelligent science fiction of the period but also one the best apocalyptic movies: there's no hordes of idiotic zombies and piles of gore but a cerebral demented enemy trying to murder the last man on earth. Charlton Heston, in one his finest roles, is the Robert Neville a military scientist who has survived a biological attack he travels through the empty Los Angeles in the day hunting the plagued survivors; by night he borders himself up in his fortified house as they surround it. The film perfectly captures an apocalyptic city: empty streets littered with garbage, cars lying around and shops open as Neville takes what he wants and you can't help wondering in scenes when he talks to himself if he is on the edge of madness. Some may find the villains laughable as they walk around in inquisitors coats rejecting modern technology but I found it an intelligent touch and adds a Gothic horror element. Admittedly some of the dialogue is cheesy and dated but the film has retained a lot of it's power to thrill and shock and remains a scary, action-packed, gripping and boasts a brilliant soundtrack.
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on 12 December 2015
This film is one of the 3 Sci Fi Classics films that Charlton Heston made along with Soylent Green and the original, and never equalled, Planet of The apes. I have bought all 3 on Blu ray and they still have the power to rivet you to your seat throughout.
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on 5 June 2009
The Omega Man is the second film version of Richard Matheson'snovel I am Legend, the first being a low budget Vincent Price vehicle. Whereas the first version was true to the book, Boris Sagal's version is simply loosely based on the novel. A couple of concepts were changed such as the antagonists no longer being vampires but zombie-like victims of biological warfare. Vampires in 1972 were really no longer a concept for horror films. The other reason is that Neville had to be a morally ambiguous character. In the book it turns out in the end that really he was the monster or that fighting monsters turned him into a monster. Neville in The Omega Man is an officer who was actively involved in developing biological warfare and so his personal hell seems to be a fitting punishment. The film is very much about innocence vs. experience. Neville remains in the city and kills his oponents in meaningless fights because tha's all there is left in his life. His life is validated by having an oponent- an almost Kafkaesque concept. So naturally, when he meets a group of survivors they are children. Some critics thought that his was a document about American fixation youth and being young. In fact, they plan to go t "a new Eden" but there is no place for Neville, because he is -as one boy puts it- hostile. So although in the end we see him as crucified (and more or less resurected through his blood) he is more like Virgil who lead Dante to the gates of paradise but was not allowed to enter himself. The film is very well written in terms of creating sympathy for Neville and then bit by bit deconstructing his character. Neville is very complex, a scientist, a ruthless killer and yet a man who recites poetry and loves art. Heston gives an overall fine performance. There is one beautiful scene where Heston plays chess against a bust of Caesar and you really wonder if he is aware of the fact that he is playing both sides. Visually the film is very well made: In the first 9 minutes we just watch Neville driving through LA and as a prime example of showing vs. telling without any dialogue we begin to understand what has happened so that the following flashback really is unnecessary and relatively crude for such a well made and well written film. In spite of the technical limitations of the early 70s Sagal manages to create a feel of emptiness about LA that is masterfully executed. On the other hand the film does have some incredible holes in the logic and some continuity bloopers. But all in all I would say that The Omega Man is a highly underrated film which works both as an action film and as a statement on the human condition.
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on 29 November 2008
A 1970's film, this one, so the soundtrack, lingo and fashion dates it a little, but besides that it can be from any time. This is one of the many Sci-fi movies from the days when the genre was actually used as a medium to explore interesting ideas, not just pretend to or just outline them like it seems to be nowadays. A sanctioned rewrite of 'I am Legend' by the Corringtons, it changes quite a few things but leaves you with a pretty good experience.

Charlton Heston is in the lead role once again (two other notable films from around this time, 'Soylent Green' and 'Planet of the Apes', have this actor in common), as the lone(?) survivor of a virus that either kills outright or reduces the afflicted to a 'zombie-like state' (although in this film, it is fairer to say that people become photo-sensitive and just a little bit mad). Heston's character is vaccinated and potentially has a wider cure, but the afflicted don't want it, as they see themselves as 'The Family' and want to avoid restoring things to the way they were, as it may simply mean a return to a worse age.

It is the battle between the monk-like 'Family' with their medieval weapons, and the hero and his hi-tech appliances and gadgets, that forms the spine of the film. When other unaffected - but not vaccinated - survivors appear, the mood changes to one of hope, and then desperation, culminating in a memorable - though allgorical - end-scene that Matrix Revolutions viewers may find a little familiar.

Heston gives a comand performance, not as some sort of icon or superhuman but just a man, who uses ingenuity rather than luck to stay alive as long as he can so that he can atone and amend. Like 'Apes' and 'Soylent', the end is not the typical Hollywood one of today; for a film from such a long time ago, it feels disturbingly refreshing in the age where we're told that everything now is so much bigger and better.

All in all, this is a memorable film that uses simplicity, not CGI, to convey the horror and lonliness of being the last man alive, and comes off better for it.
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on 16 January 2012
I saw this in the mid-70s and it was great. I saw this in the 90s and thought pap. However, having seen the remake with Will Smith, this is surpasses that, by considearble distance. The film is a good look at early 70s America, from inter-racial relationships, American "street" talk (well to me anyway) and best of all no needless CGI cleverness. Just good movie story telling. Even spotting Hestons stunt double in the motorbike scene didn't spoil it.

A good movie from the 70s.
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on 30 July 2012
Made in 1971 but set in 1977 this is Hollywood's second stab at Richard Matheson's classic story I Am Legend. Starring Charlton Heston as Richard Neville, a military scientist and the last man on earth free of a plague that has wiped out most of humanity. Neville rules the deserted streets (filmed in LA on a Sunday) by day while the family, bacterial warfare survivors, rule the city by night. Led by Matthias (the great Anthony Zerbe), a former television new anchor, the family aim to 'cancel the world you civilised' and 'erase history'. Two sides of the same coin; Matthias aims to kill Neville, 'the last living remainder of hell' while Neville kills the family he regards as 'vermin.' Both Neville and Matthias are slowly going mad, Matthias seeks to cleanse the world of 'the refuse of the past' by book burning while Neville plays chess with a bust of Julius Caesar and hallucinates the sound of telephones. Into this conflict steps a sassy African American (Rosalind Cash) and her group of survivors needing Nevilles's help to reverse the effects of plague. Functionally directed by Boris Sagal (father of Katy) with a somewhat annoying use of zooms, the film was so far removed from Matheson's book that he never regarded it as a version of his story at all! Instead of vampires the survivors are merely albino plague survivors dressed in cowls and wearing dark sunglasses. If the family are disappointing Neville certainly isn't because Heston successfully captures the weary cynicism, black comedy and lonely madness of being the last man alive. Watching it now one is reminded of the hilarious Simpson's spoof, The Homega Man, (Season IX, The Treehouse of Horror VIII) but don't let that put you off as it still holds up well as apocalyptic sci-fi. There are a lot of white specks on the Blu Ray especially noticeable during the scene in the hotel (about a half hour in) which is disappointing. The extras include a 5 minute introduction by co-stars Eric Laneuville and Paul Koslo, an interesting 10 minute featurette and a trailer.
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on 12 April 2015
A blast from the past, this '70s masterpiece is well worth a watch.
One man's fight for survival in the wake of worldwide epidemic.
Go on watch one of the original disaster films, you won't be disappointed.
Charlton Heston is enigmatic, in a role that could only have been written with him in mind.
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The Omega Man (1971) is a very good movie, but those familiar with the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, upon which the film is based (rather loosely), and the earlier, incomparable adaptation The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price, may find themselves a little disappointed. That is how I felt. This is probably somewhat unfair, seeing as how The Omega Man differs significantly from the earlier book and movie, but I can't help but make such comparisons. Charlton Heston plays Robert Neville, a military doctor who has lived alone for some three years since the world basically ended. Russia and China went to war, the U.S. may or may not have become involved, and eventually someone somewhere unleashed a weaponized bacterium that quickly set about ending man's reign on earth. With the help of a highly experimental vaccine and much more luck than exists in real life, Neville manages to survive, holing himself up in a penthouse apartment in town. At night, those who were "changed" instead of killed come out to play. These are not the mindless vampires of The Last Man on Earth, however; these are just funny-looking albino people with really weird eyes and very bad complexions. They even have a leader named Matthias (Anthony Zerbe) who has turned "The Family" of survivors into a religious cult obsessed with destroying everything from the old earth - e.g., electricity, bombs, cars, and especially one Robert Neville.
After three years of hunting by day and trying to survive by night (with the help of a generator and lots of guns and liquor), Neville eventually encounters a fellow human being in the form of Lisa (Rosalind Cash). The relationship that forms between them represents one of the earliest interracial romances to appear on the big screen. Neville soon finds himself in the role of savior, possessing the only immune blood by which serum can be made to cure those who are left on earth. Of course, The Family is still trying to kill him every single night, and they (plus a really stupid kid) help make sure that Neville's plans and new-found hopes don't easily succeed. The ending is a little bit hokey, but it seems appropriate and allows for all sorts of philosophical and religious musings.
The Omega Man has its quirks. The music in particular is rather unusual, a little too funky and 70s-ish for my tastes, especially during certain select moments of importance in the film. Charlton Heston also seems unable to keep his shirt on for more than a few minutes at a time, which doesn't really do much for yours truly. Then there are the members of The Family; it's hard to say exactly what these people are. They fear daylight, but that is pretty much the only vampire-like quality they have. I also don't know why most people simply died from the plague, while a few folks changed into whatever The Family are supposed to be. I guess these questions aren't crucial for enjoying the movie, but I would have liked a fuller explanation as to what exactly the plague was and how it worked.
The Omega Man is an almost-classic horror/science fiction movie, but it can't hold a candle to Vincent Price's The Last Man on Earth. The latter movie is based much more closely (albeit not completely) on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, and Vincent Price delivers a much more intense performance than Heston does. I never really felt the weight of Neville's loneliness and inner turmoil, despite extended scenes early on showing the man talking to himself and acting a little nutty. This, I would argue, is the main weakness that keeps The Omega Man from more completely satisfying me.
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on 19 February 2014
First off what a great film,chuck,i look like i will fall over when i run,hesten is at his best here as he is i the 3 apocolyptic movies he made,planet of the apes,the omaga man and soylent green.Second the blu-ray is so sharp you can see cars moving on the highway and some people in the background,but hey the film is great,blood coming out of people like tins of red paint.Classic 70,s cinema.
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There are at least four movie versions of Richard Matheson’s marvellous book “I am Legend”; this is the first one I saw, forty odd years ago, and since then as now, I enjoy Sci-Fi, post apocalypse, last man alone themes and Charlton Heston, I thoroughly enjoyed this then, as I do now.

Of course, it’s not exactly Matheson’s vision. If you want more of Matheson’s themes and vision in film, then for all its faults, watch “The Last Man on Earth”; see the ending more true to the book, and Vincent Price as physically magnificent as Charlton Heston, even if in this one, CH doesn’t get to be so physical.

Heston, though, is a great actor, and even with a script that’s less than brilliant, he himself is excellent as the man alone. Again. His own character narration is great. A towering presence, he is one of the few actors who can carry a flawed movie alone.

This has a lot of the 70s in it, perhaps verging on Blaxploitation perhaps (whatever that really means) but allowing for the nostalgia and grins that brings, it’s all passably exciting, intriguing, and we see, as we don’t in the much more recent (and excellent in its own right) “I am Legend” with Will Smith, the development of the afflicted into the beginnings of a new culture, or at least cult, consistent with Matheson’s vision, but a little less clear than in the book and in TLMOE. They do kill Neville, but it’s less obvious that they (at least in Neville’s view) fear “The Last Man”. And perhaps that’s the difference there; for the new to continue, the old had to go, and Neville was the old, not hate, but necessary, while the paranoid Neville in the book and in TLMOE saw it as fear of him.

Release it today as a new film, it would be laughable. Watch with some respect for the time it was made, and it’s an easy four stars, though not, I think, five.
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