• Tag Archives Will Smith
  • Canister X Movie Review #112: I Am Legend (2007)

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    I Am Legend (2007)
    Written by Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman
    Directed by Francis Lawrence
    Runtime 101 min.
    4 out of 5

    Based on the book by Richard Matheson, I Am Legend is the story of Robert Neville (Will Smith), sole survivor of a plague that, originally, was supposed to be a miracle cure for cancer three years before. Instead, most of the world died at the hands of the plague. Others mutated into bloodthirsty vampiric creatures; only a small percentage of humankind remained immune to the disease.

    All alone in New York, virologist Neville tries to find a cure and “fix” the problem that stole the lives of everyone he knew and everyone he loved, while also trying to survive in a city infested with the infected and ferocious monsters.

    Straight from the start you know you’re in for a ride.

    An empty city, overgrown and broken down.

    A lone guy speeding through the streets in a fancy car, weapon at his side.

    Animals prowling the streets, free of their cages.

    The lock up.

    The screams.

    The howls.

    Yeah, good stuff.

    The intense feeling of atmosphere was what drew me into this flick. Immediately isolation sets in right from the first frame as we see Neville trying to maintain a normal life in a dead city (renting movies, talking to mannequins, keeping a routine), his eyes washed with pain yet underscored with determination to keep going. This is a one-man show and I haven’t seen it done so well since Cast Away (one of my favorite movies) years and years ago.

    No complaints about Will Smith here and he’s done a good job over his career to make you forget about the loud-mouthed homeboy he played in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Plus, did you see the guy in this film? He’s ripped! Shredded. But, I guess, you’d have to be if you lived a world where vampire-zombie-human things prowled the streets and your life could be in jeopardy at the drop of a hat if you weren’t too careful.

    Which brings me to the monsters in question. Overall, well done. Creepy skin, no hair, loud growls, amazing agility and intensely vicious. Yeah, killer. Obviously they were CGI so they did look a tad rubbery and there were a few moments where it felt I was looking at a cartoon. Thankfully, those moments happened so fast and the action was so intense that I quickly forgot my quibble and moved on.

    My only thing was the ending. Now, I never read the book so I can’t compare, but it ended too abruptly and really lost its post-apocalyptic feel in the last five minutes or so. Sort of a Disney ending, which didn’t fit in with what was a gloomy story up until that point.

    Regardless, if someone asked me what I thought of this film, I’d tell them to go see it.

    It’s that good.

  • Canister X Movie Review #36: Hancock (2008)

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    Hancock (2008)
    Written by Vince Gilligan and Vincent Ngo
    Directed by Peter Berg
    Runtime 92 min.
    4 out of 5

    Alcoholic superhero John Hancock (Will Smith) is Los Angeles’s champion. The only problem is as much as the city needs him, he causes so much damage when fighting crime and rescuing others that the city also wishes they were without him. Enter Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a PR guy who’s just been turned down again after pitching his All Heart logo to different charitable organizations. When Hancock saves Embrey from an oncoming train, Embrey offers to restore Hancock’s image to the public while also giving a nice boost to his own career. When Hancock meets Embrey’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), he soon discovers that him and her have a forgotten past, one that’s already altered their future and will do so again unless history repeats itself.


    Wow. This is a cool movie and a take on superheroes that’s unique. Though an alcoholic superhero is nothing new (Tony Stark aka Iron Man is a drunk), making a guy who’s like Superman an alcoholic is, and seeing the ramifications of that play out is something this superhero fan was excited to see. Not only that, but you got to see what an inebriated superhero looks like as he uses his abilities. The haphazard way Hancock flies shows one of the dangers of such raw power if it’s not under restraint.

    The mythology brought forth in this tale is well done and turns the superhero notion on its head, bringing in the idea of a race of immortals that had once taken the place as gods or angels throughout history. The fact that these superhumans were created in pairs, and that if they chose to stay together they would live a normal life as normal humans and later die, added a level of tragedy to this film that was welcome though tugged at the heartstrings. Sort of that idea of “what would you give up for the one you love?” And in this case superpowers if you chose to be with them. It also seems that these super pairs have a genuine love for each other so to forego that is a great sacrifice indeed and was something exemplified in this flick.

    Never thought I’d want to see Will Smith as a superhero. Still have memories of him as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air running through my head, but the reality is Will Smith is an incredibly talented actor and while he has used his default funny guy now and then, he’s pulled off loads of roles where Fresh Prince is but a faint memory and him as John Hancock in this flick is one of those roles. While I personally prefer actors who’ve portrayed superheroes to only be that one superhero and not take on others, if you put Will in the upcoming Justice League movie as Cyborg, for example, I wouldn’t complain and would certainly look forward to it.

    Charlize Theron—I’m a fan. Given the complexity of the Hancock story—namely where Theron’s character is concerned—I really felt bad for her for what she’d given up. She also did a good job of holding her own against Will Smith, who’s a pretty domineering actor in any scene.

    Jason Bateman is, well, Jason Bateman, but I like him so having him along for this super ride was super fine by me.

    Hancock is an awesome superhero movie that gives a fresh take on the genre as it doesn’t follow the traditional formula. Maybe in the sequel, if they ever make one. I hope they do as I’d like to see where the characters and the mythology go from here.