(out of 5)
It has been three years since the entire world’s population of humans was virtually wiped out by a deadly virus, leaving immune scientist and soldier Will Smith alone on the giant island of Manhattan. He spends his days with his faithful dog wandering the abandoned city, protecting himself from the zombie humans who are an offshoot of the epidemic, conversing with the various mannequins he’s placed around town for company (apparently there were no volleyballs with painted faces available) and praying for the possibility that he might find another survivor. He also works in his basement laboratory to find a cure, all the while trying to stem the tide of insanity that is coming his way thanks to his immense loneliness. This remake of The Omega Man gets a bit too caught up in trying to be a soulful action movie; long, pregnant silences with Smith going through his day fighting the tide of memories that overcome him work well, but then director Francis Lawrence turns to a jarring change of pace with a zombie fight that seems like it was merely included to pander to a target genre audience. The scenes of the desolate Big Apple are fascinating, though not as atmospheric as Twelve Monkeys or A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, while the effects involving the subhuman species are disappointingly artificial. Still, Smith does a solid job in the lead and the film has its moments of wonder. Look for a cameo by the superb Emma Thompson.
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Music by James Newton Howard
Production Design by Naomi Shohan
Costume Design by Michael Kaplan
Film Editing by Wayne Wahrman