There are likely to be spoilers ….. don’t read it if you don’t want the ending spoiled. Don’t blame me!
Imagine the medical breakthrough of all time comes down …. only to learn that it is man’s greatest nightmare … and it is up to you to save the day.
It sounds like the beginning and middle of a clichéd adventure story, with the ending so obvious: the hero finds the cure and saves the day.
Now imagine that the hero doesn’t come through …. and has to live with the fact that his inability to come through doomed the human race to destruction. So lives former Army doctor, Lt. Col. Robert Neville. The last man alive; or more appropriately the last uninfected man alive. There are plenty of other New Yorkers sharing Neville’s New York home … but they only come out at night, and they are not interested in anything but blood!
About 70-75% of the film is Will Smith on the screen by himself, and in some ways it is very reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Castaway, with the exception being that Hanks’ character had no control over the events that occurred. Smith’s character very much lives with the guilt that he didn’t do enough.
I give a lot of props to Will Smith ….. has he come a long way since the “Fresh Prince” days! I think it takes an actor of pretty superior talent to hold the screen alone for so long.
This is a totally different take on the story than the 70’s version with Charlton Heston. I think that version dealt more wit the upheval of the 60s and 70s ….. with Heston in his fortress mansion confronting “The Family” (led by Anthony Zerbe), which seemed to represent either the Establishment or the hippie radicals (I could never figure out which). In this film, the infected become uncommunicative animals. There are no “confrontations” to speak of here. Rather, there is a great deal of Christian symbolism throughout. The ending is a bit ambiguous (rather as I like it), though it is, at least, hopeful.
One thing I will say: many critics have been critical of the “zombies” … saying they move too fast … are too strong. Maybe because: these aren’t zombies … they are infected with a disease, and can’t be compared to the work of George Romero. I can only think that these critics have limited imagination, and really never thought about the possibility that this is not a zombie film (which it is not).
I give this film a strong rec. Even people who don’t care for horror or adventure films will appreciate Will Smith giving another stellar performance.